Roar handed reality check after shock loss
Brisbane Roar have gone from the high of defeating the A-League leaders to the low of being beaten by the competition's cellar dwellers.
Less than a week after their fighting 4-3 home win over Melbourne City, the Roar fell into a heap in Wellington on Saturday, losing 2-1 to a Phoenix side that before the match were bottom of ladder on just one point.
Steven Taylor and Ulises Davila scored Wellington's goals, with the Roar paying the price for slow starts in each half.
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While the Roar weren't without opportunities and managed to find the back of the net in the final 10 minutes via midfielder Stefan Mauk, their flat display frustrated coach Robbie Fowler, particularly after fighting back from 3-1 down to beat City at Dolphin Stadium last Sunday.
"There's a few players probably sitting in that dressing-room disappointed with their performances," Fowler said.
"The changes we made, we never got the reaction we wanted from the players.
"We know we've got to do better."
The Roar's penchant for poor starts continued, with Taylor heading the hosts into the lead in just the 10th minute.
Poor defending from Roar centre-back Macaulay Gillesphey made Taylor's job far too easy, with the Phoenix skipper ghosting in at the far post to nod home a cross from Ulises Davila.
Taylor continued his good work seven minutes later with a goal-line clearance that prevented 17-year-old prodigy Jordan Courtney-Perkins from equalising for the visitors.
The Roar had another chance in the 19th minute when Jay O'Shea grabbed possession near halfway and stormed into the Phoenix penalty area.
But the Irish midfielder blazed his shot over the crossbar.
O'Shea's teammate and countryman Roy O'Donovan also couldn't hit the target in the 36th minute with a header.
In between those two opportunities, the Phoenix had a couple of chances, with English striker David Ball and New Zealand international midfielder Alex Rufer both denied by Roar goalkeeper Max Crocombe.
But Auckland-born Crocombe was beaten four minutes after half-time when Davila doubled the Phoenix's lead.
Afforded too much time and space on the edge of Brisbane's penalty area, the Mexican midfielder unleashed with a powerful strike that crashed into the corner of the net.
Davila had the ball in the net again in the 64th minute but Ball was ruled to be in an offside position in the build-up.
Mauk's 85th minute goal gave the Roar some late hope but Wellington deservedly held on to win for the first time this season, much to the delight of Phoenix coach Ufuk Talay.
"It's been coming. We've played some really good football and haven't been rewarded for the football we've played," Talay said.
"I'm very happy with the performance and the result."