Roar end Phoenix home streak

The banner read ‘Costa come back home’ and it will be sentiment shared by many Wellington Phoenix fans after Kosta Barbarouses set Brisbane Roar on the road to a 4-1 victory in Wellington on Wednesday night.

The banner read ‘Costa come back home- and it will be sentiment shared by many Wellington Phoenix fans after Kosta Barbarouses set Brisbane Roar on the road to a 4-1 victory in Wellington on Wednesday night.

The young striker got the game-s opening goal inside the first four minutes at Westpac Stadium and from there the Phoenix were always facing an uphill battle to keep their unbeaten run at the venue intact.

Wellington, who started New Zealand international Simon Elliott after he signed as an injury replacement on Monday, fought their way back into the match with Tim Brown-s equaliser on 37 minutes.

But just before half-time Thomas Broich-s strike got the slightest of deflections off Jade North as it rocketed into the back of the net and Brisbane, who were slicker, quicker and more composed on the ball, took control in the second half with goals for Massimo Murdocca and Mitchell Nichols putting the game beyond doubt.

Ironically the Roar – then known as Queensland – were also the last team to beat the Phoenix at Westpac Stadium two years and 25 games ago.

“It-s a poor loss for us,” admitted Phoenix coach Ricki Herbert. “I don-t know how long this streak could have run for but to lose it like that is disappointing.”

“You build the club and fans expect better than that and deserve better than that. We probably would have lost at some stage (at Westpac Stadium) but it-s disappointing to lose like that.”

The Phoenix were chasing the game from the start, thanks to their former team-mate Barbarouses.

Having scored the winner in the corresponding fixture in Brisbane, the young striker got on the end of a pinpoint cross from the right from Ivan Franjic to slot home the game-s opener as the Wellington defence was carved open.

Chris Greenacre had a good chance to draw the Phoenix level a minute later but couldn-t poke home Paul Ifill-s ball into the box.

Barbarouses saw another effort hit the side netting before North, playing at right back on his return to the starting line-up, was booked for a crude challenge on Broich.

Ifill, who was booked in the second half, then had a great chance to draw his team level on 26 minutes when Matthew Smith inexplicably let a long ball into the box bounce and Ifill stole in. But his shot flashed across the face of goal and wide of the upright.

Smith got a verbal spray from goalkeeper Michael Theoklitos for his poor judgement.

Ten minutes later and the home team were back on level terms thanks to Brown-s second of the season.

Leo Bertos nudged on a poor clearance from the Roar defence and Brown took one touch and volleyed past Theoklitos.

The visitors though went into the break 2-1 up thanks to Broich, whose well-struck goal-bound effort got the slightest of touches from North.

The woodwork denied Brisbane a third in the 53rd minute when Murdocca got on the end of a Reinaldo cross but saw his shot fly back off the post.

Herbert turned to his bench with 30 minutes remaining, throwing on Dylan Macallister for Vince Lia, Daniel for Manny Muscat 10 minutes later then Nicky Ward for Greenacre as the home side chased an equaliser.

But it was all in vain as it was Brisbane who sealed the win with the hard-working Murdocca getting a deserved goal after beating the offside trap and latching onto a through ball from Jean Carlos Solorzano, then Mitchell sliding another one past Mark Paston in stoppage time to crown a fine Roar performance.

“The boys were fantastic tonight,” said delighted coach, Ange Postecoglou. “We-ve been good all year. Our performances have been very, very consistent in terms of the way we are playing and we capped it off tonight with some goals which was pleasing.”

“To come over here … they are a formidable opponent. You don-t have a run like they did without being tough to break down but once we got hold of the game and moved the ball around we were good.”