Cards concern Herbert

Wellington Phoenix coach Ricki Herbert stopped short of claiming there was an agenda to thwart his team's assault on the Hyundai A-League title but he left no doubt about his anger and disappointment at the yellow cards dished out to his side in their 2-0 loss to Brisbane Roar in Wellington on Sunday afternoon.

Wellington Phoenix coach Ricki Herbert stopped short of claiming there was an agenda to thwart his team's assault on the Hyundai A-League title but he left no doubt about his anger and disappointment at the yellow cards dished out to his side in their 2-0 loss to Brisbane Roar in Wellington on Sunday afternoon.

Vince Lia, Chris Greenacre, Andrew Durante and Tim Brown were all booked by referee Jarred Gillett, as were Mohamed Adnan, Shane Stefanutto and Matt Smith for the Roar.

However, it was the yellow cards for Durante and Brown that Herbert questioned as both will miss next weekend's away game against league leaders Central Coast Mariners after collecting their fifth yellow cards of the season.

Durante was booked for dissent towards the assistant referee, while Brown's yellow was for a foul on Roar goal-scorer Besart Berisha, although replays suggested there had been minimal, if any contact, with the striker.

"Where do you draw the line?" Herbert queried.

"I just think it's a really crucial part of the season. Last week we're getting guys booked who weren't even the right people."

"We're getting guys booked that were absolute certain penalties," he added, referring to Paul Ifill's yellow card for diving when he was brought down in the box with a clear shot on goal against Adelaide United.

"It counts against you at some stage. I'm not here to justify the cards. I guess I'm just (asking for) a fair crack of the whip."

"We're not here to hang them. We got beaten and we have to accept that and move on."

"We're second in the league and I think that's caused a few concerns for a few people, if I'm honest."

But when asked directly if he was suggesting there was an agenda against the Phoenix. Herbert replied bluntly: "No I'm not. No."

Durante and Herbert both had words with Gillett immediately after the game with the Wellington captain particularly unhappy about the dissent claim.

"I'm on my fourth yellow, one more (and I'm suspended) and I know not to say anything stupid," Durante said.

"I had a word to him (the assistant referee). I didn't swear. I wasn't rude. I asked the linesman 'was I rude to you?' He said 'no you weren't rude'. The ref's just said 'it was dissent. You can't wave your arms around at the linesman'."

Durante added: "I think it's ridiculous, especially as the captain because I'm allowed to talk to the linesman. I didn't run up to his face and I wasn't rude in any way."

"I thought he had a poor game to be honest, not just the ref, but the linesman not giving him much help."

"It's not just this game. It happens every week. It's frustrating. It's one of the most frustrating games I've played in for a while."

The upshot of the 2-0 loss is that the Phoenix drop to third on the ladder, two points behind the Roar, with away games against the Mariners and Sydney FC in the next two weeks.

Herbert insisted his team would bounce back.

Manny Muscat will return from suspension for the Mariners game and would be a strong contender to take Durante's spot in central defence after Ben Sigmund's injury turned out to be nothing more serious than cramp.

Brent Griffiths can also play there, while Nicky Ward - if he has recovered from his hamstring injury - and Daniel will be in the running to replace Brown.

"We've done extremely well this year. Who gave us a chance? Not many people in this room gave us a chance. And certainly not many people across the Tasman did," said Herbert.

"That's probably forged a bit of resilience in this group and we'll keep going. We'll cop this on the chin. For me it's done and dusted."