Wellington Phoenix 0 Brisbane Roar 1

A week that began with the Wellington Phoenix at their impressive best ended with a brief glimpse of their frustrating worst in an agonising defeat against the Brisbane Roar.

Jamie Maclaren scored the solitary goal in the 87th minute to disappoint the home fans at Westpac Stadium and deny the Phoenix a chance to climb into the top four on the A-League ladder.

Chasing a third win in seven days and seeking to back up Tuesday's hugely encouraging win over the high-flying Melbourne Victory, Wellington were instead left to rue another sucker punch when Maclaren struck.

The substitute was the beneficiary of both some generous defending from captain Andrew Durante and a Phoenix attack that, as has often been the case this season, was unable to kill off a game they dominated in patches.


In fairness to the fourth-placed Brisbane, their victory was hardly of the smash-and-grab variety. The Roar may have come into the clash without a win in their last four games but, especially in an entertaining but scoreless first half, they wasted little time in establishing their supremacy in midfield and displaying their potency in the final third.

Jack Hingert hit the post in the first 10 minutes and Glen Moss was required moments later to turn around the post a swerving drive from Tommy Oar, with Brisbane just a bit sharper on the ball and possessing a dash more quality in their passing.

But after those early scares, the Phoenix rearguard did well to restrict their opponents' opportunities to shoot. And, frustratingly enough given what was to follow, the home side steadily began to exhibit plenty of their own danger.

Roy Krishna enjoyed a couple of good moments in the first half, forcing a strong save out of Michael Theo in the Roar goal and unleashing a brilliant cross-field pass to set up Kosta Barbarouses in the dying seconds.

And Roly Bonevacia impressed throughout with some clever short passes and evasive dribbles to create space in contested areas, capping his night with an incredible touch on the turn to set up what would have been one of the goals of the season had the Dutchman applied a finish.

Having on Tuesday broken a long goal drought, Bonevacia illustrated his increasing confidence and played like a man who knew there were, in Michael McGlinchey and Gui Finkler, two highly-regarded attacking midfielders sitting on the bench and waiting for their chance.

Unfortunately for the hosts, the second-half introduction of that pair failed to translate into regular sights at goal. While they had plenty of ball and played largely in the right parts of the park, the only true opening they manufactured in the second spell saw Jacob Tratt prove less convincing with his right foot than he was with his head in the win over the Victory.

It was almost inexplicable, considering the wealth of attacking talent the Phoenix had at their disposal. And, to make matters worse, that lack of a clinical edge looked like it could cost them dearly, with Moss required to make two nice saves and keep the game goalless as the clock counted down.

So when warning wasn't heeded and Maclaren pounced to steal all three points, it made for a predictably discouraging end to what had been a promising week.

Wellington Phoenix 0
Brisbane Roar 1 (J. Maclaren 87)
Halftime: 0-0