Singh On Song As Wellington Batter Brisbane

by Jeremy Ruane:
with the compliments of

Hyundai A-League – Season 14 – 2018/2019 – Round 9
7:35pm, Saturday 22 December, 2018 – Westpac Stadium, Wellington, NZ

Wellington Phoenix FC 4
(Avraam Papadopoulos 35′, David Williams 75′, Roy Krishna 80′, Sarpreet Singh 90’+3′)
Brisbane Roar FC 1 (Henrique 45’+1′)


An outstanding individual display by Sarpreet Singh inspired Wellington Phoenix to a third consecutive Hyundai A-League victory on December 22, as they battered Brisbane Roar 4-1 in front of just 6,841 fans at Westpac Stadium, scoring three goals in the last fifteen minutes.

The first half-hour of this encounter was a sure-fire cure for insomniacs. There was so little creativity, it was frightening! Save for an eleventh minute penalty appeal for a foul on Roy Krishna, and a twenty-five yarder from Singh which drew the game’s first save from Jamie Young in the 28th minute, there was very little to capture the imagination.

It took a bit of brilliance from Tom Doyle in the 34th minute to lift this game out of the doldrums. The fullback twinkle-toed his way around three defenders on the left before whipping in a cross which beat Jamie Young all ends up and found Louis Fenton flying in to meet it on the far post.

Just ahead of him was Dane Ingham, who was forced to head the ball over his own crossbar from right underneath it. The resulting corner was cleared for a throw-in, which Doyle lobbed into the near post area, where Steven Taylor was rising to meet it.

In front of him was Brisbane defender Avram Papadopoulos, whose attempt to head the ball to safety saw it arc over Young at the near post and drop into the net by the far post – an acute-angled own goal, but Wellington certainly weren’t complaining.

That goal, scored ten minutes before half-time, was precisely what the game needed, and within three minutes Singh had gone close to doubling the score with a twenty-five yard free-kick which arced over the wall and flew a foot past Young’s left-hand upright.

Mandi Sosa then unleashed a defence-splitting pass which sent Krishna racing in behind the defence with just Young to beat. The goalkeeper prevailed, but both players were left requiring treatment after they collided during the incident.

In first half stoppage time, Brisbane drew level – very much against the run of play, it has to be said. Jack Hingert threw the ball in to Matt McKay, who linked with Tobias Mikkelsen. Racing through inside the Dane was Hingert, who duly received a precise pass which he drove into the stride of Henrique.

From fifteen yards, the veteran striker sent the ball arrowing into the top far corner, a goal which gave Brisbane momentum aplenty going into the second half.

Early on in the piece, they used it to great effect, with Thomas Kristensen and Alex Lopez combining with McKay to set up Adam Taggart in the 51st minute. But the striker’s touch deserted him just when he needed it most on this occasion, allowing Filip Kurto to save at his feet.

Taggart’s bid to make amends, sixty seconds later, saw him lash a twenty-yarder straight at Kurto, who wasn’t involved again until second half stoppage time, when he turned Lopez’s well-struck twenty-five yard free-kick to safety.

By which time the game was well and truly up for Brisbane, who, after being on top early in the second spell, never recovered their momentum after both Henrique and Mikkelsen had to withdraw from the fray due to muscle-related injuries.

Wellington took full advantage of these double disruptions, which occurred just after the hour mark. Singh worked a short corner with substitute David Williams – he had a tremendous impact off the bench – and the newcomer’s 67th minute shot through a crowded penalty area was destined for the back of the net until seen late by Young, who pulled off a stunning save to maintain parity on the scoreboard.

Four minutes later, Williams and Singh combined again, this time for the benefit of Fenton, who sent a shot flying across the face of goal. Singh himself was narrowly astray soon after following fine work by Williams, while the offside flag came to Brisbane’s rescue in the 74th minute, curtailing Krishna’s goal celebrations.

Wellington wouldn’t be denied, however, and sixty seconds later, a swashbuckling run down the left by Singh was crudely halted by Papadopoulos just outside the penalty area, only for the ball to break kindly for Williams to promptly curl home and spark off almighty celebrations in front of the local faithful.

Brisbane were shell-shocked, and Singh’s spellbinding sixty yard run down the left past four opponents sixty seconds later did nothing to alter that impression. The youngster ran out of support on this occasion, but his team-mates very quickly followed his lead.

Krishna and Williams caused havoc on the left flank in the 78th minute, aided by the presence of Liberato Cacace, whose shot was blocked by Young for a corner. Alex Rufer’s delivery to the near post was spilled by the goalkeeper, who promptly fouled Doyle in his eagerness to retrieve his error.

Referee Kurt Ams promptly pointed to the penalty spot, from where Krishna sent Young the wrong way – 3-1, ten minutes from time, with Rufer seeing his shot blocked before Wellington gave the fans further cause for celebration in stoppage time.

And there couldn’t have been a more deserving scorer! Taking a free-kick from the right-hand side of the penalty area, Singh’s whipped delivery saw Brisbane’s two-man wall part like the Red Sea, the ball flying inside Young’s near post much to the ire of the goalkeeper, who rightly tore strips of the chickens posing as defensive wall occupants as Wellington celebrated their 4-1 win in style.

Match details

Crowd: 6,841

Wellington Phoenix FC: Kurto (gk); Taylor, Durante, Doyle; Fenton, Rufer, Sosa, Cacace (booked, 69); Singh (Burgess, 90), Krishna, Burns (Williams, 59)
Coach: Mark Rudan

Brisbane Roar FC: Young (gk); Hingert, Pepper, Papadopoulos (booked, 83), Ingham; Mikkelsen (Brady, 61), Lopez, Kristensen (booked, 37), McKay (Halls, 79), Taggart; Henrique (D’Agostino, 65 (booked, 86))
Coach: John Aloisi

Points and ratings

Referee:  Kurt Ams 5/10

Match: 6/10
Pitch: 8/10

Player points:
3. Singh
2. Williams
1. Doyle