It was a disappointing night for the Wanderers after they fell just short following a 2-1 loss to Brisbane Roar in their Hyundai A-League Round 13 match at Bankwest Stadium tonight.
It was a disappointing night for the Wanderers after they fell just short following a 2-1 loss to Brisbane Roar in their Hyundai A-League round 13 match at Bankwest Stadium tonight.
Despite taking the lead after just five minutes through captain Mitchell Duke, the Red & Black fell to goals from Scott Neville and Brad Inman.
The Wanderers threw everything at the visitors in the final 20 minutes of the game, but could not find a way through.
Substitute Kosta Grozos came closest with his header sailing just centimetres past the right post during injury time.
Once again bad luck conspired to hurt the Wanderers, who had legitimate claims for a penalty turned down by the VAR while Brisbane scored what was to be their winner while Patrick Ziegler was on the sideline getting treatment for a bloodied mouth after being elbowed in the face.
With Pirmin Schwegler sidelined through suspension and Keanu Baccus on international duty with the Olyroos, Wanderers head coach Markus Babbel was forced to make changes to the side that beat Adelaide United 3-2 last week.
Nick Sullivan replaced Baccus while Dylan McGowan returned to the starting XI for the first time in three weeks, replacing Schwegler.
As well, Tarek Elrich was brought in to replace Tate Russell, who moved back to the bench.
The changes saw Patrick Ziegler deployed as a defensive midfielder with Nicolai Muller shifted from the left wing to the number 10 role.
The Wanderers got off to a strong start with Duke opening the scoring on five minutes after some beautiful lead-up work down the right.
Elrich laid on a nice pass to Muller on the right and the German did the rest, laying off a delightful ball for Duke to strike home from five metres.
The Red & Black almost doubled their lead after 18 minutes when Mo Adam fed a nice cross to Muller at the far post, but his shot cannoned off the left post and to safety.
Brisbane found themselves back on level terms just three minutes later after former Wanderers Neville scored with a header from a corner.
Ziegler and Muller tried their luck from long range only to see their efforts sail over the bar.
Goalkeeper Daniel Lopar had to be alert in making a great save. The Wanderers then broke quickly and had a numerical advantage as Duke reached clear before feeding Adam inside the box, but the attacker’s effort was blocked.
The first half ended in controversy after the Wanderers appeared to have earned a penalty, only for the VAR signal all clear, much to the disappointment of the Red & Blak faithful.
There was still time for the home side to conjure one last chance for the half when Muller floated in a free-kick, but McGowan’s header went over the bar.
The second half was a spoiling affair for the first 15 minutes or so with most of the action coming from the referee who issued three yellow cards in the space of one minute.
Brisbane then took the lead in the 61st minute after Inman scored with a shot from the edge of the box.
Babbel brought on some fresh legs in the 70th minute with Kwame Yeboah replacing Alex Meier and Kosta Grozos coming on for Nick Sullivan and this seemed to spur the Red & Black into action.
The Wanderers had three corners in succession with Matt Jurman showing great skill to produce a first-time volley from one of them that saw goalkeeper Jamie Young tip the ball over the bar on 79 minutes.
The Red & Black will now turn their attention to their next match against Wellington Phoenix on Saturday 11 January at Sky Stadium.