2019-20 Australian A League, Regular Season
  • Gary Hooper (82')
  • Scott McDonald (61')

Gary Hooper secures Wellington Phoenix A-League finals spot after draw with Roar

Wellington Phoenix locked in an A-League finals berth after a spirited 1-1 draw with Brisbane Roar at McDonald Jones Stadium.

Scott McDonald broke the deadlock for Brisbane on Wednesday night with a spectacular individual effort in the 61st minute before Gary Hooper responded with the equaliser in the 82nd minute.

The result took Wellington to 41 points, ensuring they cannot drop out of the top six.

Superb saves and blocks from both sides defined the first half with Roar goalkeeper Jamie Young and his Phoenix counterpart Stefan Marinovic keeping the contest a stalemate.

The first major chance came in the 24th minute when Young denied Steven Taylor's excellent header.

Brisbane almost broke the deadlock in the 29th minute with Marinovic just tipping Dylan Wenzel-Hall's strike over the crossbar.

A minute later, Phoenix defender Te Atawhai Hudson-Wihongi saved an almost-certain goal when he flung himself in front of McDonald's close-range shot

In the 45th minute, Young pulled off a spectacular one-handed save to deny a clever chip from Hooper to keep the score level at half time.

The Phoenix started brighter in the second half but it was McDonald who broke the deadlock in the 61st minute.

Jay O'Shea slid a ball through to McDonald, who dribbled away from multiple Wellington defenders and cut onto his left foot, ripping a superb effort from the edge of the box for his sixth goal in as many games.

Three minutes later, Young denied Phoenix young gun Reno Piscopo with another excellent save.

Wellington spurned a golden opportunity to equalise in the 68th minute when Liberato Cacace whipped a ball in from the left but Hooper put his tap-in wide.

Hooper made amends for his miss in the 82nd minute. A ball into the area was met by Cacace, whose header came back off the post and into the path of Hooper who could not miss.

Hooper appeared to injure his hamstring while scoring but played out the game with neither team able to snare a winning goal.