Soccer: Phoenix slump to another defeat

By Daniel Richardson

Jack Hingert of the Roar looks to take on the defence of Paul Ifill of the Phoenix. Photo / Getty Images.
Jack Hingert of the Roar looks to take on the defence of Paul Ifill of the Phoenix. Photo / Getty Images.

Westpac Stadium has never looked so good for the Wellington Phoenix.

After suffering another listless 2-0 loss to the Brisbane Roar at Suncorp Stadium tonight, they have two home games in quick succession to look forward to before they play a "home'' game in Dunedin on Sunday, March 3.

After being thumped 5-0 by the Central Coast Mariners in the last round, the Phoenix will be keen to get back to the Cake Tin where they seem to find a new gear.

They will meet Adelaide United at home next Sunday before hosting Newcastle in a mid-week fixture on February 27.

Tonight's loss left the Phoenix at the bottom of the A-League ladder after 22 rounds and something needs to click for them in the coming weeks otherwise heads will have to roll.

Wellington again looked off the pace tonight against a Brisbane side who came into the game in ninth place.

New recruit Corey Gameiro nearly made a dream start to his Wellington Phoenix career in the eighth minute when he headed the ball into the back of the net but the linesman ruled out the goal for an earlier infringement by Gameiro on Brisbane defender Jade North.

Replays proved the linesman was correct to make the call but an early goal would have done the Phoenix the world of good.

Gameiro didn't lack in confidence though, and the man who became the 71st player to don the Phoenix colours looked lively in the opening spell and wasn't afraid to fire a shot on goal if the opportunity arose.

The Phoenix probably looked the better of the two teams in the first 30 minutes but were caught out just after the half-hour mark when Brisbane midfielder Steven Lustica found himself unmarked at the top of the box and he latched on to a Shane Stefanutto cross to score.

Louis Fenton nearly levelled the ledger only minutes later but was denied by Brisbane goalkeeper Michael Theo who made a fine save to his left to deny the rookie from Tawa.

The Phoenix lost Leo Bertos to a late injury and Vince Lia had to fill the void at right back. They were also without the suspended Jeremy Brockie for the game.

Things didn't get any easier when starting midfielder Isaka Cernak lasted only 26 minutes before he succumbed to an ailment and was replaced by Dani Sanchez.

As the Phoenix looked to muster something in the second spell they gave the ball away at the back and Brisbane striker Besart Berisha wasted no time in doubling the lead for the home side as he buried his shot past goalkeeper Glen Moss, who made his first start of the season.

The Suncorp Stadium pitch resembled a goat track but it was the same for both teams and it certainly didn't excuse why the Phoenix were so poor.

Paul Ifill looked out of sorts, and again Wellington struggled through the middle of the park.

Manny Muscat hasn't been at his best lately and the Phoenix need more from him so they can build on attack.

Fenton was active again tonight and his fellow rookie Tyler Boyd stung the palms of Theo with one shot on goal although he absolutely butchered a golden opportunity to head home a goal in the 65th minute as he put his attempt wide.

It summed up another night to forget across the Tasman for the Phoenix.

Brisbane Roar 2 (Steven Lustica 33, Besart Berisha 49) Wellington Phoenix 0 HT: 1-0

- APNZ

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production bpcf05 at 22 Oct 2014 11:13:56 Processing Time: 370ms