Late Brisbane winner sees off Wellington

by Jeremy Ruane:
with the compliments of www.sportswebsoccer.com

Hyundai A-League – Season 10 – 2014/2015 – Round 15
3pm, Sunday 1 February, 2015 – Lang Park (Suncorp Stadium) Brisbane

Brisbane Roar FC 3 (Donachie 60′, Borrello 76′, Solorzano 90’+2)
defeated
Wellington Phoenix FC 2 (Krishna 50′, Cunningham 81′)

An injury-time winner saw reigning Hyundai A-League champions Brisbane Roar score a come-from-behind 3-2 victory over Wellington Phoenix in front of 9,263 fans at Suncorp Stadium on February 2, as the home team gave their stuttering campaign a much-needed boost.

There was little to choose between the teams in the opening fifteen minutes, with Brisbane unable to capitalise on some defensive mistakes by Wellington, who themselves went close through the efforts of Roy Krishna and Michael McGlinchey during this period.

A sixteenth minute interception by Vince Lia saw the game’s first genuine chance materialise, with Nathan Burns the beneficiary of his team-mate’s industry. The league’s leading marksman set sail for goal before unleashing a twenty-yarder which Michael Theo parried to safety.

Brisbane’s inability to clear the threat following Theo’s save presented McGlinchey with another chance seconds later, one he lashed narrowly over the bar from the edge of the penalty area.

This spurred the home team into life as an attacking force, Thomas Broich going close after the combined efforts of Brandon Borrello and overlapping debutant Jerome Polenz down the right in the eighteenth minute.

Two minutes later, a stray pass from Lia was pounced on by Borrello, who promptly released Adam Sarota down the left before racing forward in anticipation of a low cross which, when it came, zoomed across the bows of the Brisbane striker and to safety, as far as Wellington were concerned.

The cagey nature of the contest saw tempers fraying a tad before the half-hour mark, around which time Luke Brattan attempted to catch Glen Moss off his line with a long-range chip, and Louis Fenton thwarted a fine move which featured Brattan, Polenz and Borrello, whose pull-back was tailor-made for Matt McKay to stride onto until the fullback intervened.

Before the interval, Krishna shot straight at Theo on receipt of a fine through ball from McGlinchey, while Polenz and Sarota both fired shots narrowly past the far post in an effort to break the deadlock before referee Alan Milliner blew for half-time.

What the first half lacked in goals and goalmouth incident the second half more than made up for! Straight from the kick-off, Wellington stormed downfield, Burns and Roly Bonevacia leading the charge. Brisbane rebuffed their initial charge, but couldn’t prevent Lia, following up, letting fly, albeit wildly.

Back came Brisbane, Sarota and Polenz linking up on the right, with the fullback picking out the head of Jean Carlos Solorzano. His header was grabbed low to his right by Moss, who saw a twenty-yarder from Broich fizz past his post in the 51st minute.

By which time Wellington were in front. Lia fed Burns on the right, and the striker’s searing pace took him past two defenders to the by-line, from where he delivered a low cross into the goalmouth five minutes into the second spell.

Arriving on cue was Krishna, whose deft flick deflected off Polenz and left Theo totally wrong-footed – 1-0 to the visitors, who had never won on their numerous A-League trips to Brisbane in the past.

The visitors attempted to double their lead soon after, with McGlinchey this time unleashing Burns at pace down the right. This time he cut inside and let rip, forcing Theo to parry then save at the second attempt with Krishna moving in for the kill.

Wellington’ advantage lasted just ten minutes. Broich took a corner on the hour, and delivered it with pinpoint accuracy onto the head of James Donachie, whose bullet header from six yards was nigh on unstoppable.

The equaliser breathed new life into the home side, with Broich proceeding to take charge of the match in his inimitable style. The playmaker’s 64th minute free-kick was punched out by Moss as far as McKay, whose volley from the edge of the penalty area was blocked at point-blank range by Ben Sigmund.

Moments later, Broich turned Sigmund a treat in the penalty area to get in behind the Wellington rearguard. His pullback bisected two team-mates, much to the relief of Albert Riera, who was on hand to clear the danger and keep the visitors on level terms.

Brattan then let rip with a swerving twenty-five yarder which Moss saved exceedingly well, before Sigmund again blocked a drive, this time from Broich, after Polenz and Borrello had combined to good effect on the right.

Brisbane’s pressure had to tell, however, and in the 76th minute, they took the lead. Broich was in possession on half-way when he threaded the needle with an absolute peach of a pass into the stride of Borrello, whose angled run took him in behind the defence and left him one-on-one with Moss, who was afforded no chance – 2-1 to the home team.

And so nearly 3-1 three minutes later. Solorzano scampered down the left past two opponents en route to the penalty area, where he unleashed a drive towards the near post. Moss parried it, and Andrew Durante was perfectly placed to head the rebound back to his ‘keeper.

After substitute Kenny Cunningham went close to equalising with a near post header from a McGlinchey corner, the Costa Rican levelled the scores in decidedly bizarre circumstances, a goal which Theo will be reliving for many a moon.

Brisbane’s custodian played a short goal-kick out to Donachie, who promptly played it back to Theo. As he did, Cunningham raced past the defender, sensing the chance was ripe to charge down Theo’s clearance.

Sure enough, that’s exactly what happened, the ball cannoning off Cunningham and into the unprotected net six yards away, much to the embarrassment of the embattled ‘keeper – 2-2.

Cue a grandstand finish, and it was Brisbane who rose to the challenge. Borrello only just failed to get on the end of a beautifully flighted cross from Broich in the 84th minute.

Six minutes later, Solorzano did Sigmund a treat with a smart turn on receipt of Broich’s pass. The striker directed his shot at Moss on this occasion, but seconds later, he found a way past him to win the match for the home team.

Polenz powered down the right before picking out Solorzano with a cross which the striker met on the volley. It wasn’t the cleanest of strikes, but it was enough to wrong-foot Moss and give Brisbane a 3-2 lead in stoppage time.

They could have increased their advantage before the final whistle, too. Only a stunning Sigmund tackle thwarted Solorzano after yet another Broich pass had found its target, while Moss and Fenton combined to keep out Borrello’s attempt to turn home the rebound.

Brisbane were buoyant, however, with their victory set to revitalise their season and set them on a charge towards the play-offs. They’ve plenty of ground to make up on their rivals, but if one team knows what it takes to make the top six, it’s the reigning champions, particularly when Broich is in dominant form.

Match details

Crowd:  9,263

Brisbane Lions FC:    Theo (gk); Polenz, Donachie, Stefanutto, Brown; Sarota, Brattan, McKay (Lustica, 66); Borrello, Solorzano (Danning, 90), Broich

Wellington Phoenix FC :     Moss (gk); Fenton (booked, 86), Sigmund, Durante, Muscat (booked, 31); Lia, Riera, Bonevacia (Rodriguez, 61); Burns (Boyd, 86), McGlinchey, Krishna (Cunningham, 73)

Ratings and points

Points:

Pitch  6/10
Referee     Alan Milliner   5/10
Match  7/10

Players:
3.  Broich
2.  Durante
1.  Polenz