Brisbane end first half of season with poor away performance

Wellington Phoenix (3) Muscat 4’, Brockie 50’, 67’
Brisbane Roar (0)
10267 at Westpac Stadium, Wellington

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Brisbane Roar have rounded out a poor first half of the season with a disappointing 3-0 away loss to Wellington Phoenix this afternoon. A Jeremy Brockie brace and a rare Manny Muscat goal were more than enough to see the hosts walk away with the three points.

Brisbane were behind after just four minutes when Manny Muscat burst through on the left hand side, easily getting past Jade North before slotting it past Jamie Young. North’s effort defensive wasn’t particularly flash, however the goal game from a cheap turnover with Bowles caught up field and Petratos offering little cover. The left back had another chance soon after to make it two, before Brisbane worked their way back into the game slightly with Henrique typically the biggest danger.

Wellington opened the second half in similar fashion to the first, with another goal in the opening five minutes. Corey Brown left his back pass fractionally short, and the Brisbane goalkeeper was adjudged to have taken out Brockie. It seemed to be a harsh call given Young got to the ball first, and it took referee Stephen Lucas a fair amount of time to decide to give the penalty. Brockie then stepped up and sent Young the wrong way to make it 2-0.

Wellington then made absolutely shore of the three points with 25 minutes to play after Brisbane again failed to play their way out of their own half, with a turnover on the right hand side resulting in a second for Brockie. Riera played an excellent ball into the feet of Brockie, but the transition work of the midfielders –notably Brattan and Sarota- saw Young charge out and confront Brattan. The same thing happened in the 85th minute when Bonevacia was untracked by Brattan causing Young to charge out again after making the save. That to me is fitness, with Brattan and Sarota having a shortened pre-season to begin with, while the pre-season in general left a lot to be desired from all reports.

Brisbane’s overall performance was reminiscent of Tuesday’s 0-0 draw with Sydney FC, with Brisbane struggling to play out from the back again. The recent trend of long, direct passes in Henrique’s direction continued and it became somewhat predictable. It was a very frustrating performance, a performance which seems to have deviated significantly away from the philosophy. It’s been a tough start to the season with a poor pre-season, a coaching change and a bunch of injuries, but now there is enough time to sort things out ahead of the second half of the season.

The other thing to take out of this game is that Jade North will now miss the next game against Wellington on February 2nd after picking up his 5th yellow card of the season. Who knows who is replacement will be- could be Shane Stefanutto, youngster Lachlan Jackson or somebody that they sign. Time will tell on that one, and obviously there’s plenty of time to work that out.

Match Stats:

bandicam 2015-01-04 19-38-11-759

Elsewhere today the Brisbane National Youth League side has picked up a vital three points on the road in Sydney, thanks to captain Ben Litfin’s 4th minute goal. In what sounds like an even game, Brisbane’s goalkeeper Denver Crickmore saved a penalty which protected the lead and ensured the win. The result see’s Brisbane move to within one point of joint leaders Perth and Melbourne City, with City’s shock loss to Central Coast yesterday. Perth haven’t played this weekend, and will be heavily favoured to beat FFA Centre of Excellence on Wednesday.

Sydney FC (0)
Brisbane Roar (1)

Up next:
Three weeks off. Thanks to the 2015 AFC Asian Cup, Brisbane now have three weeks to regroup and find a way to be competitive for the remainder of the season. With 13 league games + six Asian Champions League Group Stage games to play, there’s still a lot to play for if Thijssen can get this side firing. In the meantime, there’s plenty of Asian Cup games in Brisbane for everyone to get their football fix. By the time Brisbane next take the field on Feb 2nd, it could be a very different Brisbane side with players returning + any potential new signings.

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