McCloughan's header the difference

The Queensland Roar have defeated the Wellington Phoenix 1-0 in an entertaining Hyundai A-League clash at Westpac Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

The Queensland Roar have defeated the Wellington Phoenix 1-0 in an entertaining Hyundai A-League clash at Westpac Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

A crowd of 6,543 saw a battle of grit and determination where both sides brought a physical approach to proceedings, with the Roar sneaking home courtesy of a first-half header from towering centre back Josh McCloughan.

Both sides started cautiously, with both of them seeming to lack intensity or drive.

The result was a fairly unattractive blow-for-blow opening 20 minutes where both sides attempted to out muscle the other.

It took until the 20th minute for the first piece of action, with Queensland player Charlie Miller hitting a stinging drive over the bar from 25 yards to bring some action into the match.

Both sides continued to press each other, and again they nullified each other's attack.

However, on 38 minutes the Roar managed to win a free kick for Andrew Durante's clumsy tackle on Sergio van Dijk.

Miller was again at the heart of the action, and the Scotsman hit a rasping free kick that Phoenix 'keeper Mark Paston was barely able to scramble wide.

The resulting corner proved fruitful for Queensland, with McCloughan able to nod home at the near post to open the scoring, after some poor defending from the Phoenix.

The half ended with the score at 1-0 in favour of the Australians, following a physical yet intense opening 45 minutes.

The second half saw the introduction of Leo Bertos in place of Adam Kwasnik for the home side, and his impact on the match was immediate. His pace, enthusiasm and willingness to run at defenders saw him cause the visitors problems from the first time he touched the ball.

The Phoenix began to show some of the intensity that had been evident over the last few weeks as they began to stamp their authority on the match early in the half.

Some good opportunities from set pieces arose, but they were unable to capitalise and spurned a number of chances to equalise.

The Roar were content to soak up the pressure, and began to claw their way back into the match as both sides battled for dominance in the middle of the park.

However, as the half went on both sides became guilty of pumping long balls down field in an attempt to dominate field position.

The Phoenix had a decent chance on 85 minutes, after a good run and cross from Ben Sigmund found Lei Lei Gao at the back post.

However, Queensland custodian Liam Reddy was able to dive to his right and smother the header to keep his side in the lead.

Bertos butchered a golden opportunity to draw the Phoenix level in the 89th minute.

Somehow the linesman's flag stayed down and the Wellington winger had only Reddy to beat, but he was only able to hit it over the bar in a situation where it was more difficult to miss the target rather than hit it.

Despite several other desperate forays forward from the home side in the final minutes, the Queensland Roar defence remained resolute with McCloughan's first half goal being enough to secure a hard earned three points for the Brisbane-based side.

Wellington Phoenix 0

Queensland Roar 1 (McCloughan 40)

Crowd 6,543 at Westpac Stadium.