The Saturday afternoon Round 9 fixture led to a result that saw Wellington bang the ball into the back of the net more times than a cat flap in a thunderstorm. The Phoenix’s 4-1 victory over Brisbane Roar saw the Nix cement their spot within the top six, which surely constitutes an instant dismissal offence for Aloisi.
In a selection decision more contentious than Subway getting rid of Old English cheese, Henrique found himself in the starting X1. Mauk was out due to a groin injury, Bauthéac was unavailable due to suspension following last week’s send off, whilst Wenzel-Halls must continue to feel as unwanted as a Lynx Christmas pack, finding himself on the bench again despite some solid play during the start of the season. The pressure on Aloisi seems to be weighing on him, with John sporting quite the shadow…no not Ross, but a nice 3-day growth that oozes an aura of stress over needing a quick 3 points.
Wellington started off strong as they have many a time this season. The 11th minute saw a penalty shout from Krishna following slight contact from Ingham, however his calls fell on deaf ears by both the on field Ams and VAR ref Waldron. Wellington continued to favour long balls and long shots, with several chances by Singh not quite making the distance.
A long ball throw-in in the 35th from Doyle found the back of Papadopoulos head, to float over Young for an own goal. Taylor originally celebrated as if the goal was his, however given he was paying $26 to open the scoring, we just couldn’t let that one stand.
Krishna and Young came together with a clash of knees late in the half, with both requiring treatment. The notched up injury time meant Brisbane could finally make their first half arrival like the annual appearance of past talent show winners coming out of the woodwork to sing at the Christmas Carols. Brisbane showed up through their first shot on goal and the equaliser by Henrique in the 45th + 1. Henrique received a cutback from Hingert, to neatly hit the top left corner, doing well with the finish to not blast the ball deep into the stands.
Brisbane came out the stronger team in the second half, feeling pumped after Aloisi presumably won the half time getting sacked race, I mean sack race. The spurt of effort from Brisbane did not last long, with their early 61st and 65th minute substitutions leading to limited attacking efforts thereafter. Brisbane’s main second half opportunity came in the 51st, with Taggart given the opportunity to go one on one with Jamie young only to make an absolute meal of his effort…presumably the meal being mum’s spaghetti as Taggart’s knees went weak, he buckled and tripped over himself to give Young enough time to clean the ball up.
The only other main Roar opportunity came in the 91st, with a Lopez free kick curling towards the inner edge of the post only to be denied by Kurto’s stretching save. The lack of dominance throughout the game from Brisbane even allowed the Phoenix to attempt many the unusual set piece plays, that we can only imagine seemed like a better idea during training with every single one finding the first man.
The final 20 minutes saw the goals flow faster than Ye’s tweets when he’s feuding with Drake. Krishna looked to have scored the winner in the 74th, however the goal was disallowed due to offside, a decision upheld by VAR. No more than 60 seconds later Williams slammed the ball into the back of the net and followed up with a celebration that alluded to him re-birthing the new look Wellington side. We didn’t have to wait much longer for Wellington’s third, with Young conceding a penalty through bear-hugging Doyle to the ground, with Krishna converting to extend Wellington’s lead.
And just to add another goal scorer to the mix to well and truly bury the Roar, Singh scored the Phoenix’s 4th from a free kick, as Brisbane’s 2-man wall was as ineffective as I’m going to be at work on Christmas Eve, parting in the middle to allow the ball to float through into the net.
It was shirts off for all Yellow Fever, who do not discriminate with the women also baring all to show their proudly coordinated yellow bras- there may be a merchandising opportunity here. To be fair it stayed pretty classy from the Fever considering they were already 9-pubs deep in their annual 12 pubs of Lochhead crawl. Can Wellington continue this four game unbeaten streak to slay the dominant Victory next round to see out the year?