Phoenix fail to rise despite Hernandez
CARLOS Hernandez scored his first goal for Wellington Phoenix but it wasn’t enough as they went down 2- 1 to A-League leaders Brisbane Roar in Wellington.
Hernandez broke his duck from the penalty spot early in the second half after Brisbane defender Matt Smith had given his side a 1-0 halftime lead against the run of play yesterday.
But keeper Glen Moss gave the Phoenix hope when he saved a Besart Berisha penalty in the 65th minute only for Ivan Franjic to curl home the winner 16 minutes from time.
The Phoenix were the better side for much of the game, putting the Roar under pressure, but their inability to score goals haunts them as they search for their first win under Ernie Merrick.
after missing the trip to Perth with an injury, hit the side netting in the 13th minute.
A combination of good goalkeeping by Michael Theo, who missed the previous two games with a shoulder injury, and poor finishing also left the Phoenix vulnerable.
Theo cut out two Hernandez crosses for Jeremy Brockie, then saved an effort from Stein Huysegems.
But it was Brockie’s miss in the 26th minute that summed up the Phoenix’s day when he fired over the crossbar despite being unmarked and with an open goal.
The sucker punch came in the 37th minute, when Smith got a toe to Thomas Broich’s free-kick to the back post.
But the Phoenix drew level just two minutes into the second half through Hernandez when Jack Hingert brought down Kenny Cunningham in the box and referee Shaun Evans pointed to the spot.
Hingert won his side a penalty in the 65th minute when he was brought down in the box by Albert Riera. But Moss made a fine save to his right to deny Berisha.
In a repeat of the Roar’s first-round victory at Westpac Stadium, Franjic again provided the killer finish.