Undermanned, unfancied Wellington secure special draw with Brisbane

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Down to 10 players and trailing by two goals wasn’t enough to stop Wellington Phoenix from producing a 3-3 draw with Brisbane Roar in one of the most entertaining games of the A-League Women season.

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Despite coming into Sunday’s game at A.J. Kelly Park in last position on the ladder, Wellington were also fresh off their first victory of the season, a 5-0 walloping of Canberra United.

Any confidence from that win was quickly evaporated when Brisbane went ahead 2-0 in the first half.

To make matters worse, Kate Taylor was red carded in the 27th minute for contact on Brisbane striker, Shea Connors.

A win, even a draw, seemed entirely inconceivable at that point in the contest, at least according to head coach, Natalie Lawrence.

“I think if you said to me you’d finish 3-3 when you’re two-nil down after 30 minutes with 10 players I’d probably rip your hand off,” Lawrence said post-game.

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Wellington quickly fought their way back into the contest when Mickey Foster struck with purity from outside the box to give the visitors some hope at half time.

The second stanza saw the Phoenix come into their own with two more goals and the lead.

Brisbane, albeit with one extra woman on the pitch, couldn’t prevent a most determined Wellington outfit.

“The fact we were two-nil down and then we took it to 3-2. When you look at the character, I can’t be anything but proud of the whole group,” Lawrence said post-match.

Compounding Wellington’s stunning comeback was the lengthy travel to Redcliffe from New Zealand, and the stifling heat that lingered throughout the entire 90 minutes.

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The Phoenix’s positive attitude translated into positivity on the scoreboard through the individual magic of Grace Wisnewski and Emily Clegg.

The New Zealand side’s fightback was never in doubt, says their coach.

“We could use all of these things as an excuse, and we didn’t today,” Lawrence said.

“That just shows the character of everyone and how we don’t let this stuff get to us. We control what we can and that’s how we play on the field.”

Wellington’s special trip to Queensland now gives them a golden chance to avoid finishing last on the ladder.

Feature Image Credit: Speed Media/Icon Sportswire

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Liam Cook
Aspiring football enthusiast. Covering Brisbane Roar in 2022/23.

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