Brisbane come from behind to down Wellington

by Jeremy Ruane:
with the compliments of

Hyundai A-League – Season 11 – 2015/2016 – Round 10
4:15pm, Saturday 12 December, 2015 – Cazaly’s Stadium, Cairns

Brisbane Roar FC 2 (Lustica 71′, Maclaren 86′)
Wellington Phoenix FC 1 (Krishna 46′)


Brisbane Roar produced a come-from-behind win to down Wellington Phoenix 2-1 at Cairns’ Cazaly’s Stadium on December 12, delighting the 5,162 fans present after the visitors had squandered a couple of glorious chances to clinch victory when a goal to the good.

There was plenty of enterprising possession play from both teams throughout this well-contested affair, one in which both sides threatened to score in the fourth minute. Dimitri Petratos’ spectacular volley from a Corona corner was well blocked by Wellington’s defence, sparking a Roy Krishna-led counter-attack which culminated in the Fijian stinging Jamie Young’s gloves at the other end of the park seconds later.

Brisbane came on strong just after the quarter-hour mark, with Jamie MacLaren being denied a goal by the offside flag before a cross from Henrique ricocheted off two defenders before the danger was snuffed out by Glen Moss.

The home team were targeting Wellington’s left flank, where midfielder Matthew Ridenton was a late replacement for the ill Thomas Doyle. Henrique exploited the replacement’s lack of positional awareness to latch onto Corona’s eighteenth minute pass, and promptly delivered a measured cross for MacLaren, only for Manny Muscat to produce a superbly timed challenge which averted the danger.

Wellington weathered the storm, and after MacLaren had volleyed over under pressure in the 22nd minute, gradually worked their way back into the contest, contriving a 34th minute attack which saw Michael McGlinchey do Daniel Bowles a treat on half-way before picking out Alex Rufer with a cross. The less said about the first starter’s shot, the better – accurate it was not!

This roused Brisbane into another right wing raid, Henrique once more exploiting Ridenton’s inexperience to engineer an opening for Petratos. He let the ball run on for Thomas Broich, darting in behind him, but the playmaker mis-timed his shot, giving Moss an easy save.

Wellington produced some very nice approach play in the 38th minute, with Albert Riera, Alex Rodriguez, Rufer, McGlinchey, Krishna and Louis Fenton all featuring before Rodriguez drilled a twenty-yarder narrowly past Young’s left-hand upright.

Brisbane failed to heed the warning, and paid the price in first half stoppage time as Andrew Durante ignited a delightful interchange of passes which culminated in Roly Bonevacia picking out Krishna on the left.

He took on an opponent and dashed past a couple more before rifling home an angled fifteen-yard drive beyond the diving figure of Young to give Wellington the lead on the stroke of half-time.

They should have doubled their advantage three minutes into the second spell. Half-time substitute Jeffrey Sarpong sent Bonevacia through with just Young to beat, but the Dutchman was a tad ponderous, allowing Jade North to recover and get in a telling tackle just outside the area, Young completing the job by saving at Bonevacia’s feet.

That really stirred Brisbane’s pot, because they started to pile on the pressure in a big way. Corona sent MacLaren dashing into the area in the 51st minute, but the combination of Fenton and Moss proved suffice to deny the striker on this occasion.

Five minutes later, Wellington’s goalkeeper foiled an Henrique shot after North sent MacLaren away down the left, and he got in behind both Fenton and Muscat before delivering a low cross just behind his fellow striker, who did well to get a shot in.

Referee Jarred Gillett then ignored Brisbane’s penalty claims as Broich went down under Muscat’s challenge, while MacLaren sent one thundering narrowly over the bar on the hour after Broich and Shane Stefanutto had combined to present Brisbane’s leading marksman with the chance.

Either side of this attempt, Wellington spurned two more great openings to double their lead. In the 59th minute, Sarpong, Krishna and Bonevacia combined to play in Rodriguez, steaming up in support through the inside-left channel. But he dragged his shot wide of the near post.

Three minutes later, Krishna led a counter-attack, outpacing the defence only to see Young block his shot. The rebound invited the Fijian flyer to try and head the ball past the stranded goalkeeper, but he couldn’t get enough purchase on his attempt, allowing Young to recover the ball.

Broich was growing as a threat to Wellington’s prospects of retaining their lead, and in the 68th minute he flighted a ball into the danger zone which MacLaren, arriving on the far post at full stretch, was unable to guide towards the target.

Seconds later, Moss raced out to save at the feet of the charging figure of substitute Jean Carlos Solorzano, before Ridenton released McGlinchey down the left as Wellington counter-attacked.

The striker stood up Bowles before rifling a shot which Young could only parry into the goalmouth, just past the fast-arriving figure of Krishna. Sarpong latched onto the loose ball and laid it back towards Bonevacia, whose shot cannoned off a defender and sparked a Brisbane counter-attack.

Less than thirty seconds after their own goal being under threat, the home team were celebrating an equaliser. MacLaren released Solorzano through the inside right channel and the newcomer steered the ball inside to fellow substitute Steven Lustica, who thumped home from ten yards to leave Wellington wondering what might have been.

The goal gave Brisbane added impetus, and very soon they were pounding away in search of the winner. Broich picked out MacLaren with a cross which the striker headed narrowly past the post, while in the 74th minute the same player was thwarted in fine style by Moss, who stood his ground well after Jack Hingert and Lustica – a clever back-heel – had combined to open up Wellington’s defence.

Still they pressed, MacLaren again frustrated, this time by the combined efforts of Muscat and Durante, after North had played an early ball forward, a raid which prompted Wellington to mount a counter-attack, with Bonevacia and McGlinchey combining to release Krishna down the left. Once again, Young denied the visitors.

Six minutes from time, MacLaren and Hingert linked up to pick out Lustica, who steered a low drive past the near post. But when Broich played MacLaren through the offside trap two minutes later, there was no escape for Wellington, the striker finally winning his game-long battle with Moss to fire Brisbane in front.

They could have scored again before the final whistle, with Broich once more picking out MacLaren via a finely weighted pass, but Durante and Moss combined to deny the striker on this occasion.

MacLaren had already done the damage, however, his goal clinching a come-from-behind 2-1 triumph which leaves Brisbane in second place on the table, and Wellington wondering what might have been had they taken their chances when a goal to the good.

Match details

Crowd:  5,162

Brisbane Roar FC:    Young (gk); Hingert, Bowles, North, Stefanutto; Petratos (Hervas, 46), Corona (Lustica, 66), McKay (booked, 32); Henrique (Solorzano, 64), MacLaren, Broich

Coach: John Aloisi

Wellington Phoenix FC:      Moss (gk); Fenton, Muscat, Durante, Ridenton (booked, 83); Riera, McGlinchey (Powell, 78), Rodriguez; Bonevacia, Rufer (Sarpong, 46), Krishna

Coach: Ernie Merrick

Referee:    Jarred Gillett   6/10

Points and ratings

Match  7/10
Pitch  7/10

Player points
3.  MacLaren (BR)
2.  Muscat (WP)
1.  Broich (BR)
by Jeremy Ruane