Brockie’s farewell brace sinks reigning Champs

by Jeremy Ruane:
with the compliments of

A-League – Season 10 – 2014/2015 – Round 14
3pm, Sunday 4 January, 2015 – Westpac Stadium, Wellington NZ

Wellington Phoenix FC 3

(Manny Muscat 4′, Jeremy Brockie 51′, 67′)

Brisbane Roar FC 0

Wellington Phoenix marked their 200th Hyundai A-League game in style at Westpac Stadium on 4 January, 10,267 piling in to see them put reigning champions Brisbane Roar to the sword via a 3-0 drubbing.

The gathered throngs didn’t have long to wait to begin celebrating, as an unlikely source afforded them the lead just four minutes into the contest, and could have added a second five minutes later.

Albert Riera won the ball in midfield and fed Michael McGlinchey, who turned on half-way before releasing a slide-rule pass into the stride of the overlapping figure of Manny Muscat.

The fullback’s first touch took him clear of all-comers, while his second was what you would expect of a striker, not a defender with two A-League goals to his name, Muscat beating the advancing figure of Jamie Young all ends up with an accomplished finish.

And he so nearly repeated the dose five minutes later. McGlinchey was again the supply line, and Muscat, latching onto the pass, this time drifted inside the covering figure of Daniel Bowles before angling a fifteen-yarder beyond the diving figure of Young and, unfortunately for Wellington, the far post as well – but not by a great deal!

Brisbane were stunned by Wellington’s lively opening, and it took them a full twenty minutes to launch an attack of their own. Luke Brattan’s ball forward invited Jean Carlos Solorzano to let fly, with Glen Moss’ parried save affording the visitors a corner.

This was only partially cleared by Wellington, and Henrique was only narrowly astray with a curling volley from the edge of the penalty area – Moss was certainly relieved to see the ball arc past his right-hand post.

Wellington had another reason to claim the spoils in this match, as this was Jeremy Brockie’s final appearance for the club before taking up a contract with South African club Supersport United.

So he was even more eager than usual to sign off with a goal, but his first attempt to do so, in the 32nd minute, met with strong resistance from Brisbane’s defence, who blocked his effort after a neat move involving Louis Fenton, Vince Lia, Roly Bonevacia, Brockie, Alex Rodriguez and McGlinchey had prised open the visitors’ rearguard.

Six minutes later, Brockie and McGlinchey combined to present the last chance of the half to Bonevacia, whose rasping drive from the edge of the area flashed narrowly over the bar as Wellington finished the half in charge on both the pitch and the scoreboard.

Both Brockie and Rodriguez had shots blocked in the early stages of the second spell, before the departing player was gifted the chance to score his farewell goal from the penalty spot by Young’s mistimed challenge.

The goalkeeper gave referee Stephen Lucas chapter and verse on his interpretation of the Laws of the Game pertaining to the challenge which had seen Brockie take a tumble, to which the referee responded by booking the excitable custodian, who was far from amused at having to fish the ball out of his net in the 51st minute, Brockie having sent him the wrong way from the spot.

Straight from the kick-off, Henrique sought to drag Brisbane back into the contest, but he took on one opponent too many as he looked to dribble his way into a shooting position, something Bonevacia was guilty of at the other end of the park seconds later.

But the Dutchman so nearly made amends on the hour with what would have been another sure-fire candidate for “Goal of the Season” had the ball hit the target. Bonevacia, Rodriguez and Fenton all featured in a move which saw Rodriguez lob the ball over the defence for Bonevacia to meet on the volley as he turned.

The sphere screamed agonisingly past the far post, a shot which served to rouse Brisbane’s interests in getting back into the contest. Ben Sigmund was forced to clear at the second attempt soon after as Henrique made like a fox in a henhouse, while efforts from Dimitri Petratos and Solorzano also kept Wellington honest in the minutes which followed.

The game was up for Brisbane in the 67th minute, as Wellington scored their third goal in spectacular fashion. It was the perfect farewell strike from Brockie, who latched into a pass from Riera, pivoted and pummelled the ball beyond the static figure of Young, who, not for the last time in this encounter, berated those in front of him for failing to foil Wellington’s points-clinching move.

Brisbane sought a consolation goal of sorts, with Solorzano sending a low cross sizzling across the goalmouth in the 83rd minute, to which Wellington responded through Bonevacia, a brutal swerving twenty-five yarder which Young tipped over the bar before giving his defence another tongue-lashing.

If the A-League stars were to linked to a particular song which accurately describes them, there would be no problem choosing that meant for Jamie Young – Billy Joel’s “Angry Young Man” sums him up perfectly!

The match concluded with Brattan and Muscat exchanging long-range efforts on goal which lacked accuracy, after which Wellington’s faithful bid a fond farewell to a crowd favourite, Brockie bowing out with a brace of goals at Brisbane’s expense.

Match details

Crowd: 10,627

Wellington Phoenix FC:     Moss (gk); Fenton (Boxall, 77), Sigmund, Durante, Muscat; Lia, Riera, Rodriguez (booked, 18); Bonevacia, McGlinchey (Boyd, 64), Brockie (Hicks, 86 (booked, 87))
Brisbane Roar FC:    Young (gk)(booked, 50); Bowles, Donachie, North (booked, 58), Brown; Sarota (Danning, 66), Lustica (Clut, 66), Brattan; Solorzano, Henrique, Petratos

Ratings and Points

Match:  5/10
Referee: Stephen Lucas 6/10
Pitch:  9/10
3.  Bonevacia (WP)
2.  Riera (WP)
1.  Brockie (WP)