Men’s Match Review: Wellington Phoenix vs. Brisbane Roar

The Wellington Phoenix have jumped up to fourth on the Isuzu UTE A-League ladder after taking three points from Queensland for the first time in five years.

The Phoenix have beaten the Brisbane Roar 3-0 at Moreton Daily Stadium in Redcliffe thanks to second-half goals from two of the club’s academy products and a stellar goalkeeping display from captain Oli Sail.

After leading 1-0 at halftime courtesy of an own goal, the Nix took charge early in the second-half, with Ben Waine scoring his third goal in four matches before Ben Old found the back of the net for the first time in his fledgling career.

Sail then ensured Wellington secured their third clean sheet of the A-League season with a string of sublime saves over the final half an hour.

“I’m delighted for the boys,” Phoenix assistant coach Giancarlo Italiano told media after the match. “I thought it was an excellent performance [with] true grit.

“It was a very polished defensive performance. Oli was exceptional today. Credit to him for us keeping the three points.

“They did exactly what was asked of them before the game and if we keep going like that it’ll be a very good remainder of the season.”

The Phoenix have risen from seventh to fourth on the table and are now just a point behind third-placed Adelaide United, who have played three more matches.

“The excitement is measured because we have a high turnaround of games and it will put a strain on the squad in the next couple of weeks.

“But the boys are really pumped for making a run into the six.”

Italiano is now two from two as an A-League head coach, but is looking forward to Ufuk Talay getting out of isolation.

“I can retire now happily,” Italiano said.

“The whole experience has been great. I’m doing nothing different to what Uffie has put in place.

“He’s a fantastic coach, probably the best in the league and I just help him as best I can.”

Giancarlo Italiano was forced to make one change to the Phoenix starting XI, with key midfielder Clayton Lewis unavailable after suffering a serious ankle injury against Perth.

Sam Sutton moved into midfield in Lewis’ absence, with James McGarry coming into the side and taking Sutton’s place at left back.

Reno Piscopo featured off the bench, having sat out four A-League matches with a calf injury.

The Roar started the better of the two sides, but it was the Phoenix who registered the first shot on target.

David Ball called Brisbane ‘keeper Macklin Freke into action in the 21st minute after finding some space on the edge of the Roar box.

The hosts had the better of the play in the first 25 minutes but weren’t able to test Sail in the Wellington goal.

The Nix then took the lead little over a quarter of an hour out from halftime, when Brisbane defender Scott Neville headed the ball into his own net as he attempted to clear a dangerous Gael Sandoval corner.

The Roar continued to create more opportunities for the remainder of the first half but only one of their 11 shots were on target and it didn’t trouble the Phoenix captain.

Wellington doubled their lead three minutes into the second half just moments after Brisbane came close to equalising.

Scott Wootton produced a brilliant block to deny Louis Zabala the match levelling goal and then the Phoenix quickly countered. Old got into the Roar box and the ball broke to Waine who turned and shot in one motion and picked out the left corner of Freke’s goal.

Old made it 3-0 10 minutes later when he pounced on a Brisbane mistake, took on his defender and then blasted a left-footed shot past Freke at his near post.

Sail ensured the Nix kept the Roar scoreless, despite having a remarkable 36 shots, 11 of which were on target.

The Wellington Phoenix have little time to celebrate their victory with their next match against reigning champions Melbourne City in Sydney on Saturday.

Wellington Phoenix:
20. Oli SAIL (gk) (c), 4. Scott WOOTTON, 5. James MCGARRY (17. Callan ELLIOT 81st), 7. Gael SANDOVAL (10. Reno PISCOPO 76th), 8. Ben OLD (34. Jackson MANUEL 88th), 9. David BALL, 13. Nicholas PENNINGTON, 16. Louis FENTON, 18. Ben WAINE, 19. Sam SUTTON, 33. Finn SURMAN
Unused substitutes: 40. Alex PAULSEN (gk), 3. Matthew BOZINOVSKI, 31. Kurtis MOGG, 32. George OTT

Brisbane Roar: 1. Macklin FREKE (gk), 2. Scott NEVILLE, 4. Anton MLINARIC, 8. Matti STEINMANN (15. Jesse DALEY 62nd), 9. Luke IVANOVIC (16. Josh BRINDELL-SOUTH 81st), 18. Ryo WADA (13. Henry HORE 50th), 21. Nicholas OLSEN, 23. Juan LESCANO (29. Cyrus DEHMIE 50th), 26. Jay O’SHEA (c), 27. Kai TREWIN, 35. Louis ZABALA (14. Eli ADAMS 62nd)
Unused substitutes: Nicholas O’CONNELL (gk), 17. Alec MILLS

2. Scott NEVILLE (Brisbane Roar) – 28th og
18. Ben WAINE (Wellington Phoenix) – 48th
8. Ben OLD (Wellington Phoenix) – 58th

9. Luke IVANOVIC (Brisbane Roar) – yellow – 16th
4. Anton MLINARIC (Brisbane Roar) – yellow – 45+1
26. Jay O’SHEA (Brisbane Roar) – yellow – 72nd