|By DANIEL COLASIMONE
Brisbane Roar had their first back-to-back win of the season with a 2-1 victory over Wellington Phoenix on Tuesday, but coach Mike Mulvey says his side are still not firing on all cylinders.
Jeremy Brockie's superlative first half strike was not enough for Wellington, as Besart Berisha and Ben Halloran scored for the hosts either side of the break in a match where Brisbane played some attractive passing football, but the Phoenix always looked capable of scoring.
Having gained a maximum six points over the festive season, the defending champions jumped into the top six for the first time since drawing with the Phoenix in Week 3 of the A-League.
"That was nowhere near as good as we can play," Mulvey said.
"We created a lot of chances, which is good. But we gave away far too many opportunities to the opposition.
"We allowed them back in the game, even though it was a wonder strike. We were asleep at a quick free kick.
"But what I'm especially pleased with is that we got the win at the end of the day and that's testament to the players in the dressing room because they fought it out right to the end," he said.
The Roar coach was also pleased that star Albanian striker Besart Berisha score for the first time from open play since November 16.
"[I was] delighted for him. He's just getting back to full fitness, he had a little bit of a knock which he's been playing with, but like any striker, it's great to see him score and I thought his finish was fantastic," Mulvey said.
Wellington Phoenix coach Ricki Herbert says his side matched Brisbane Roar, even despite the result.
Herbert struggled to find positives after a match in which he says his side should have converted several early chances, and two of his players suffered injury scares.
Leo Bertos had to leave the pitch late on after a head clash with Nick Fitzgerald, and Alex Smith will also be examined by doctors after receiving a blow to the cheekbone. Both have since been cleared of serious injury, but that was rare good news for the Phoenix.
"We certainly had good signs in the first half. I thought we had some really good opportunities to maybe get ourselves well in front," Herbert said.
"It's tough coming here with XI, and if you get one sent off as well, it certainly didn't help at the end.
"From our perspective I think the cards kind of dictate the flow of the game at certain stages, but I think we were probably equal, and I'm not sure we've been like that in other years."