Brisbane Roar dealt a blow to Mark Rudan’s Home Playoff hopes after a 2-1 loss to the Hyundai A-League strugglers on Friday night at Suncorp Stadium.
Wellington Phoenix started off the brighter side in the first half as hopes of three points would go a long way to securing finals football.
Rudan changed his squad with Justin Gulley coming in for the injured Louis Fenton and New Zealand youngster, Callan Elliot coming in on the bench.
Goalkeeper, Filip Kurto, added to his fine collection of saves as he was called into action early, denying a Brisbane Roar header from close range.
Wellington Phoenix reacted well and came close to taking the lead as David Williams crossed in for Liberato Cacace at the back post. The full-back headed goalwards but Jamie Young was wise to it and punched the ball away from danger. Mandi Sosa then rattled the bar with his effort as Rudan’s side looked to assert themselves on the game.
Williams enjoyed a chance to take the lead himself after a good cross from Gulley but the resulting effort went just over Young’s bar.
Shortly before the break, Brisbane Roar took the lead through Frenchman, Eric Bautheac after he started a counter-attack before finishing the play with a chipped finish beyond Kurto.
With the break moments away, Bautheac doubled the lead after a dangerous cross from Dylan Wenzel-Halls found the Frenchman at the back post for an easy finish.
Similar to last week, Head Coach Mark Rudan wasn’t afraid to make changes early as he brought off Mandi Sosa in favour of Sarpreet Singh on the hopes of creating more going forward.
The 20-year old midfielder immediately made an impact, giving his side that creativity in the final third. Steven Taylor made the most of the momentum as he connected on the end of Alex Rufer’s free-kick to cut the deficit to one, with the score at 2-1.
Wellington Phoenix enjoyed plenty of possession as they pushed for that all-important equaliser heading into the final fifteen minutes.
Substitute, Cillian Sheridan was inches away from bagging the goal but his effort hit the post after Brisbane Roar had struggled to clear the ball from danger.
Another chance went begging as Williams ran on to a beautifully weighted through ball but as the attacker rounded Young in the Brisbane net, he could only drag his shot wide of the post.
It was another gutsy second-half performance from Wellington Phoenix as they look to get back on track next weekend as they face off against Top Four contenders, Melbourne City.
1. Filip KURTO, 3. Justin GULLEY, 4. Mandi SOSA, 11. David WILLIAMS, 13. Liberato CACACE,14. Alex RUFER, 15. Michal KOPCZYNSKI, 21. Roy KRISHNA, 22. Andrew DURANTE, 23. Max Burgess, 27. Steven TAYLOR
Next Match details
Wellington Phoenix vs. Melbourne City, Sunday 21st April 2019, Westpac Stadium, 7:00pm