Roar v Phoenix

A-League report by Adrian Demack
Brisbane Roar v Wellington Phoenix

Wellington have courageously taken a point away at the champions with a fantastic defensive effort in the second half where Brisbane have for the second week in a row been unable to break down the opposition.

It won't be panic stations at the Roar yet, continuing their 34 match dominance of Australian football, but coach Postecoglou won't be too happy with his teams inability to get all the points in front of 16,428.

The first half started brightly enough for the hosts, with their creative centre point Thomas Broich in the thick of things early. The Phoenix were quick to show exactly why they have the worst disciplinary record this season, and with Broich having some of the fastest feet in the competition, hacking the German mid was always going to happen.

Brought down just outside the box in the 11th minute, Broich lined the ball up. This distance would see a shot, most likely blasted over the top, from other teams, but Brisbane and their maestro prefer to play the percentages.

Broich delicately dinked the ball into a crowded penalty area, with Berisha beating everyone to the ball and putting it in the back of the net.

Again, ten minutes later, there was some disgustingly good skill on show from Brisbane, when flicks and back heels bounced from Franjic, to Nakajima-Farran, to Broich finishing at Murdocca free in the box, but his first touch let him down Warner came out to save his team from looking like training dummys.

Brisbane continued to flow, with the Phoenix still committing fouls and being too loose at the back. But on the 35 minute mark, they managed to pour forward for a lovely constructed goal.

Bertos had made half a break on the left, and cut back towards then centre and stuck his head up. Ward made a late run down the right wing and Bertos delivered a perfect ball to latch onto.

Theoklitos was inexplicably caught in the middle of nowhere, as Ward squared simply for brown to sidefoot the ball home. You'd think they had swapped shirts, it was brilliantly done by Wellington.

The second half was however, vastly different to the first. Ricki Herbert must have given on heck of a drilling at half time and informed his players, we're taking a point from here, no matter what.

Wellington tightened up, putting ten man behind the ball, compacting the middle, and not giving away fouls. They had committed nine in the first half, all in relatively dumb positions, in the second half, they only accumulated another four, and none of them were in the final third.

Brisbane pushed and pushed, but to no avail. Broich was being crowded quickly and was not playing his best. Without Nichols, he became almost the sole creator. Issey Nakajima-Farren, Nichols replacement, was making poor runs and not playing the percentages at all. His skill is visible, but flicks are always going to be difficult when pressed so hard.

And Wellington for the most part refused to leave their penalty box. Having seen Victory's nine man performance last week, Herbert fancied his chances trying it with a full team.

The late chances were sporadic, with Warner needing to stop shots from long from youngsters Brattan and Danning, as well as a cross-come-shot from Nakajima Farran that almost snuck in on the near post.

A great result for Wellington, Herbert will particularly pleased with his team sticking to the script in the second half, they were massive. They weren't going to be able to beat Brisbane with their game, so stealing a point from a team who will not drop many is a big achievement.

Ange won't be happy, but Brisbane will just go back to the training paddock and come back harder. Sometimes you can't break them down. Even Barcelona can't sometimes, so Roarcelona can probably be forgiven.