BRISBANE Roar’s fine pre-season form has continued with a comfortable 5-1 win over Wellington Phoenix at Dunedin's newly opened Forsyth Barr Stadium on Saturday.
The locals had hoped to see a Wellington win, but they left disappointed as Brisbane controlled most of the contest and made the most of their domination of possession.
The only major highlight for the home fans was the performance of trialist Maceo Rigters - formerly of Premier League club Blackburn Rovers - who scored Wellington's goal.
Two goals each to Thomas Broich and James Meyer and another to the excellent Mitch Nichols rounded out the scoring as the visitors faced their first A-League opposition in the pre-season program.
Brisbane made a brisk start to the match, but it was Wellington with the first real opportunity of the game through their talisman Paul Ifill.
Some sloppy defending by the Roar in front of their own box ended at the feet of Ifill and his shot on the turn looked goal-bound before the outstretched left hand of Michael Theoklitos intervened
Down the other end of the pitch Mitch Nichols had two chances in a minute, one he hit directly at Mark Paston in the Wellington goal and the other he hit over the bar.
Nichols turned provider a further minute on when his perfectly placed pass found a forward-moving James Meyer, but his attempted cut-back to Thomas Broich was cleared by Ben Sigmund.
Following the early flurry, the match settled into a much tighter affair with plenty of possession in the middle third without too many clear cut chances being created.
Nick Fitzgerald made the most of his start against A-League opposition early, tormenting the Phoenix down the Brisbane left.
With 33 minutes gone Nichols again played in Meyer, who decided to shoot, but he put his shot well wide of the goal.
In the shadows of half-time Broich nearly opened the scoring after some misfortune for Paston in the Wellington goal.
Looking to clear the ball under pressure from Nichols, the custodian slipped leaving the young Roar midfielder free with the ball.
Nichols took his time to find Broich on the edge of the box, but his first time shot went just wide of the goal.
The visitors didn’t have long to wait for the first goal though, with Nichols again in the thick of the action.
On the break, the midfielder threaded a perfect ball through to Meyer running wide on the right and the striker calmly slotted past an on rushing Paston to open the scoring with just about the last kick of the half.
Just on the other side of the break Brisbane doubled the lead, this time Nichols putting his name on the scoresheet.
Substitute Kofi Danning cut the ball back to the edge of the box to Massimo Murdocca and his little through ball was perfectly weighted through ball found Nichols who slotted just inside the post.
Ifill did his best to get the home side back in the contest with some time on the edge of the Roar box, but his shot was blocked by Matt Smith. Andrew Durante had a chance in the next play, but his flick on from an Ifill cross went wide of the goal.
Broich extended the lead on 57 minutes with a wickedly struck free-kick from the edge of the box after he was brought down by Durante on his way to goal.
Lashing the ball with the outside of his foot, the German gave Paston no chance.
The goal was the cue for Wellington to pile on the pressure looking for a goal of their own with only some desperate defending at the back by Brisbane keeping the home side at bay.
However it was Danning who nearly made it 4-0 when he ran on to a perfect Nichols cross only for Paston to make an incredibly one-handed save to deny him.
Phoenix then got the goal they’d been searching for a minute later when Rigters broke free onto goal and blasted past Theoklitos on 66 minutes to make it 3-1.
Any chance of a fightback was snuffed out by Thomas Broich in the 73rd minute when Broich scored his second. Meyer broke down the right and again found a perfect ball across the face to the feet of Broich who had the time to settle on the ball before slotting home.
Wellington’s substitutes combined in an effort to reduce the defecit with 10 minutes left as Cory Cheetleburgh whipped in a ball for Lucas Pantelis, but the latter’s header went wide of the mark.
However, it was the Roar who were to have the final say in the match when Danning threaded a ball through to Nichols, who unselfishly laid the ball off to Meyer despite only having Paston to beat. Meyer was able to run into an open goal and complete the scoring.
Brisbane Roar coach Ange Postecoglou was happy with his side’s performance in their first A-League hit-out of the pre-season.
“There’s some promising signs,” Postecoglou said. “We have to be stronger, if we’re not somebody is going to overtake us, that’s one thing for sure.
“We’ve still got some work to do and a couple of players to bring in, but we still have some time. Today we played some good stuff, which was important. It’s important the players see all the stuff we do at training works and they get some positive feedback.”
Rigters had made a long journey to New Zealand to trial with the Phoenix and said he's enjoyed his time with the Phoenix so far.
“I’ve been here less than 24 hours and already feel at home,” Rigters said. “The boys here really make you feel welcome.”
Nix coach Ricki Herbert said the game had been important in that he needed to see the trialists in a game situation against decent opposition.
BRISBANE ROAR 5 (Meyer 46’, 92’, Nichols 47’, Broich 57’, 73’)
WELLINGTON PHOENIX 1 (Rigters 66’)
At Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin
Wellington Phoenix: 1. Mark PASTON, 2. Manny MUSCAT, 6. Tim BROWN (25. Matthew THURTELL 82’), 7. Leo BERTOS (23. Lucas PANTELIS 77’), 8. Paul IFILL (11. DANIEL 73’), 13. Nick TSATTALIOS (3. Tony LOCHHEAD 65’), 18. Ben SIGMUND, 17. Vince LIA (24. Dant SANCHEZ 46’), 19. Jimmy DOWNEY (26. Corey CHEETLEBURGH 77’), 22. Andrew DURANTE, 27. Billy MEHMET (28. Maceo RIGTERS 46’).
Substitutes not used: 9. Chris GREENACRE, 14. Mirjan PAVLOVIC, 20. Tony WARNER (GK).
Yellow cards: DURANTE, SANCHEZ
Brisbane Roar: 1. Michael THEOKLITOS, 2. Matt SMITH, 3. Shane STEFANUTTO (12. Matt MUNDY (19. Chris BUSH 85’)), 4. Matt JURMAN, 14. Jack HINGERT (5. Ivan FRANJIC 46’), 6. Erik PAARTALU, 7. Nicholas FITZGERALD (9. Kofi DANNING 46’), 8. Massimo MURDOCCA, 17. Mitch NICHOLS, 21. James MEYER, 22. Thomas BROICH (18. Luke BRATTAN).
Substitutes not used: 10. Tomislav CIRJAK, 11. James DONACHIE, 13. George LAMBADARIDIS, 20. Andrew REDMAYNE (GK).
Yellow cards: Nil