Phoenix hold on

The Wellington Phoenix have survived 90 minutes with their back against the ropes to hold on for a 1-1 draw with Brisbane Roar at Suncorp Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

The Wellington Phoenix have survived 90 minutes with their back against the ropes to hold on for a 1-1 draw with Brisbane Roar at Suncorp Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

In front of a season-best crowd of 16428, the Phoenix spent almost the entire game in an ultra-tight Roar headlock, with the Hyundai A-League leaders putting everything into their attempts to break open the contest.

Besart Berisha produced the opener in the 11th minute, taking advantage of some lax man-marking to steer in an unmarked header from a close-range Thomas Broich free kick. The goal was the Albanian international's seventh of the season, taking him three clear of the league's next best, Gold Coast's James Brown.

For all the Phoenix's inability to compete, their 37th-minute goal was as good as anything produced by the men in orange.

Breaking into attacking territory for perhaps the first time in the afternoon, Leo Bertos played a pin-point looping ball to Nick Ward, who drew the keeper and squared for Tim Brown to slot home.

Broich was at his best in attack, jinking past defenders with typical ease and linking brilliantly with his fellow attackers, Berisha and Henrique.

Wellington's chances for the match could have been counted on one hand with plenty of fingers left-over, while the Roar had 19, rattling the bar with some, having others cleared from the line and missing by inches with a bucketful of other attempts.

Phoenix keeper Tony Warner had a massive influence, making a number of acrobatic saves.

Welington came out with a defensive mindset, playing well in behind the ball, but Brisbane looked on song from the outset, and a smooth build-up allowed Henrique to register the first shot on target in the fourth minute.

A superb ball from centre-back Matt Jurman had Berisha through the defence and hitting the back of the net two minutes after his first goal, but a precise call from the linesman saw play brought back.

Through the entire opening 20 minutes, Brisbane raided and pillaged as they pleased, with the visitors fouling and scrambling and still only holding on through good fortune and unrestrained physicality.

An attacking raid from Brisbane in the 31st minute told the story of the half. Henrique was played into space by Broich, had a cracking shot brilliantly saved, Nakajima-Farra smashed the follow up effort into the post, and then Murdocca had the third shot in under five seconds cleared off the line by Manny Muscat.

And then - incredibly - Phoenix levelled.

The second half started at slower pace, but it was still Brisbane in control and building possession, while Wellington's best chance came from beyond halfway when Brown struck an ambitious long-range effort, hoping to catch Michael Theoklitos out of his box.

Brisbane looked certain to retake the lead at the 65th minute when Berisha found Broich free at the penalty mark, but again Muscat cleared the line.

Substitute Kofi Danning looked to have quick-footed himself into position to score the game-winner from a dangerous Berisha cross, but his sliding shot bumbled just wide.

Nakajima-Farran had the best chance of the half to seal the contest, but sent the ball sky-rocketing over the open net, after the ball fell to his feet following another spectacular save from Warner.

Brisbane attacked and attacked right to the last moment, registering the last of their numerous goal-bound shots in injury time.

Brisbane 1 (Berisha 11) Wellington 1 (Brown 37) Crowd: 16428 at Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane