Brisbane Roar manager Mike Mulvey has praised his side’s fighting spirit following a dramatic 2-1 come-from-behind win over Wellington Phoenix at Suncorp Stadium on Friday night.
Luke Brattan’s swerving 30 yard drive with three minutes remaining proved decisive in the see-sawing contest after Stein Huysegems had netted Phoenix a deserved one goal advantage at the break.
Debutant Devante Clut levelled terms shortly after the restart with a sharp strike from the top of the box, controlling Henrique’s nod deftly before hammering his shot home with the second touch.
Mulvey was clearly delighted with the performance following a difficult week for the club that saw A-League rivals Melbourne Victory announce that Roar’s star striker Besart Berisha had signed with them for the next two A-League campaigns.
“My adrenaline is still going from the second half,” Mulvey said in the post-match press conference.
“I just love that second half, it was fantastic, and that’s what football’s about for me.
“We went for it, I thought we played very well, we were incisive, we got the goals and the crowd was involved – fantastic stuff,” he assessed.
Mulvey described Brattan’s match-winner as “fantastic” and a “magnificent strike”.
“If you want one person for the ball to fall to 30 yards from goal running on to it, and it’s bouncing beautifully, it’s Luke Brattan – he hits it sweetly.”
Asked the crucial factor in the second-half fightback, Mulvey pointed towards the improved defensive effort from his charges.
“The big difference was that we started pressing,” Mulvey explained, “We hadn’t really done it well enough in the first half.
“We tried but it didn’t quite work and they had too much time on the ball and we were too deep and allowed them territory.”
The win opens up an eight point margin at the top of the A-League table for Roar, although that will likely narrow over the course of the weekend’s remaining fixtures.
While Mulvey maintained the emphasis was on performance he admitted the margin was a “nice buffer”.
“We’re not looking at the points table, we’re looking at performance and I’m looking at that second half performance and saying we’re in a good place.”
Mulvey also assessed favourably the debut performance of 18-year-old goal-scorer Devante Clut.
“Absolutely delighted for the boy because he’s trained with us since July with the first team and he worked his socks off in midfield.”
“Do you remember his first touch?” Mulvey asked rhetorically, “You go back and have a look at his first movement and his first touch in the game.”
“That’s a kid that’s got a bit of confidence about himself and he’s got a bright future.”
Mulvey also spoke highly of Roar’s second debutant of the night, NPL Queensland product Jai Ingham, who came on with 18 minutes remaining in the match.
“Two weeks ago he’s on the bench for the youth team, come on and scored a hat-trick in twenty minutes I think it was.”
“He looked as if he had matured a little bit, which is what we were waiting for. So he deserved his chance.”