Roar deny Phoenix a club record as super-sub Wenzel-Halls scores impressive winner
Substitute Dylan Wenzel-Halls scored with his first involvement as Brisbane Roar won 1-0 to deny Wellington Phoenix a new club record.
Phoenix were hoping to avoid defeat to extend their unbeaten run to an historic 10 games but were sunk by a moment of magic from Wenzel-Halls.
Introduced into the fray midway through the second half, the speedy attacker took less than two minutes to have an impact as he fired in off the crossbar.
Wenzel-Halls should have had an assist six minutes from time as well when he put the ball on a plate for Brad Inman who somehow missed the target with the goal gaping.
Despite some nervy late moments as Phoenix pushed for an equaliser, Roar held on for victory to move up to seventh spot on the ladder, one point outside the finals places.
It’s now four games unbeaten for Robbie Fowler’s side, the club’s best run of form for almost two years. The shutout was also the club’s 100th clean sheet in their Hyundai A-League history.
For Wellington, they were left to rue a host of missed opportunities which included hitting the crossbar twice in the first half through Jaushua Sotirio and skipper Steven Taylor.
While their sensational unbeaten run has come to an end, Phoenix will end the round in fourth spot on the table.
Phoenix go close early
It was an even start with both sides looking to get on the front foot but it was the visitors who had the best sight of goal inside the first 10 minutes.
Youngster Callum McCowatt picked up the ball in midfield and drove forward before unleashing a low shot from just outside the box which went just wide of the post.
Woodwork denies Sotirio a spectacular opener
A lovely release from McCowatt got Jaushua Sotirio in behind Roar’s defence and the winger opted to hit a shot from the edge of the box.
Sotirio’s rasping drive was too good for a diving Jamie Young but cannoned onto the crossbar.
Déjà vu for Wellington
It was all the visitors as the half wore on and they were again denied by the woodwork seven minutes out from the break.
The impressive Ulises Davila was at the heart of the move, wriggling free of his marker down the right.
The Mexican’s cross was flicked on by Gary Hooper with the ball looping up for Steven Taylor to win a header at the far post which clanged the crossbar and stayed out.
Roar lift after the break
Whatever coach Robbie Fowler said at halftime had an affect as Brisbane came out with more intent after the restart.
And it almost resulted in a goal as Jay O’Shea had room to get a shot away from outside the box which was destined for the net, only for keeper Stefan Marinovic to palm it away.
Instant impact from Wenzel-Halls
Less than two minutes after coming on as a substitute, Dylan Wenzel-Halls produces some magic to fire Roar into the lead.
A clever header from Brad Inman sent the ball into Wenzel-Halls’ path before he poked the ball through the legs of Taylor and then fired past Marinovic to send the home fans crazy.
Inman with miss of the season contender
Wenzel-Halls should have gone from scorer to provider six minutes from time when he raced clear and unselfishly squared to an open Brad Inman in front of goal.
But Inman, who had scored four goals in his last three games, skewed his shot wide of the post with the goal at his mercy.
The miss came just a few minutes after Phoenix almost got an equaliser as Davila launched a powerful strike from distance which Jamie Young was able to tip to safety.
Central Coast Mariners v Brisbane Roar
Saturday, 25 January 2020
Central Coast Stadium
Kick off: 5pm AEDT
Wellington Phoenix v Newcastle Jets
Friday, 24 January 2020
Kick off: 7.15pm local, 5.15pm AEDT