Photo: Phoenix's WestPac Stadium in Wellington is no longer impregnable [PlessPix]
Wellington Phoenix 1-4 Brisbane Roar
Wellington Phoenix lost their 24-game unbeaten home record when they lost 4-1 to Brisbane Roar at the WestPac Stadium in Wellington this evening.
The win lifted Brisbane Roar to the top of the A-League ladder, a point ahead of Adelaide United.
Thirty-six-year-old Simon Elliott made his debut in the centre of midfield for Wellington. He has played 68 times for the All Whites and made a dozen English Premier League appearances for Fulham, but had little impact on this match.
Former Wellington player Kosta Barbarouses put Brisbane in front in the 4th minute after great play down the right by Ivan Franjic, who cut the ball across the box for Barbarouses to side-foot home from 12 metres.
Wellington hit back and went close twice, through Chris Greenacre in the 5th minute and Leo Bertos in the 8th.
In the 23rd minute, Barbarouses had another good chance but fired into the side-netting.
Ifill was proving a fast and tricky opponent and he took advantage of indecision by Brisbane defender Matt Smith and goalkeeper Michael Theoklitos to nip in and shoot just wide of the far post from a difficult angle in the 26th minute.
Wellington drew level in the 37th minute when a poor clearance by Brisbane enabled Tim Brown to volley home from the edge of the box.
But, Brisbane’s German import, Thomas Broich, gave the visitors a 2-1 lead at the interval when he got onto the end of a Barbarouses deflected cross from the right and scored with a deflected volley from the left of the box.
Barbarouses almost embarrassed Wellington keeper Mark Paston in the 51st minute with a long-range shot that slipped through the custodian’s hands, but the ball landed on the roof of the net.
Two minutes later, a great run down the left by Reinaldo left Manny Muscat in his wake and he cut a perfect ball back from inside the box, but Massimo Murdocca’s shot thumped against the base of the right-hand post and back into play.
Murdocca made it 3-1 in the 76th minute when substitute Jean Carlo Solorzano put him through down the inside-right channel with a perfectly weighted pass that left the Brisbane midfielder free and with an easy task to beat Paston.
Substitute Mitch Nichols added the fourth for Brisbane in the 2nd minute of stoppage time. A throw-in on the right put Broich clear and he squared the ball across the box for the unmarked Nichols to poke home.
Ifill was wide with a couple of chances near the end, but the home side were well beaten because of a combination of good attacking play by Brisbane and poor defending by the Phoenix.
Wellington Phoenix: Paston - North, Sigmund, Durante, Muscat (Daniel 70) - Brown, Elliott, Lia (MacAllister 60) - Bertos, Greenacre (Ward 78), Ifill (Substitute not used: Vukovic)
Booked: North, Ifill
Goals: Brown 37
Brisbane Roar: Theoklitos - Franjic, DeVere, Smith, Susak (Mundy 90+4) - Murdocca, Paartalu, McKay - Barbarouses (Solorzano 74), Reinaldo (Nichols 78), Broich (Substitute not used: Redmayne)
Goals: Barbarouses 4, Broich 45, Murdocca 76, Nichols 90+2
Ref: P O’Leary