Brisbane have piled more pressure on under-fire Western Sydney coach Carl Robinson, beating the Wanderers 3-0 in Saturday’s A-League Men’s clash at Moreton Daily Stadium.
A Nikola Mileusnic double and Rahmat Akbari’s first ALM goal secured the points for the undermanned hosts, who played Akbari and fellow midfielder Jay O’Shea as a makeshift strike pairing due to a combination of COVID-19 and injuries to their attacking stocks.
It’s just the Roar’s second win of the season and lifts them up to eighth on the ladder.
The Wanderers meanwhile are in a hole having won just one game from seven this season and facing the very real prospect of a fifth campaign without finals football as they slump to second-last on the ladder.
If last-placed Newcastle draw or win against Adelaide on Sunday, the Wanderers will find themselves propping up the competition.
A defiant Robinson insisted post match however neither he nor his players would be giving up despite Saturday’s performance.
“It’s not nice when people are not saying very nice things about you but you have to stick to your beliefs and what you’ve grown up doing, what you know and just work hard,” Robinson said.
“If you work hard, then generally – usually – what happens, it does turn at some stage.
“We were miles off it tonight.
“We’re not far away in relation to the bigger picture but we were off it tonight, that’s not acceptable.”
Playing without talismanic captain Rhys Williams for the first time after his season-ending hamstring injury against Melbourne City on January 9, the Wanderers were lucky not to be behind before Mileusnic opened the scoring in the 27th minute with his third goal of the campaign.
Impressive youngster Henry Hore combined with O’Shea to release the Irishman behind the Wanderers’ defence, the Roar captain cutting ball back for Mileusnic to stroke the ball into the far corner.
As soon as they went ahead, Brisbane almost then conceded when a sloppy turnover in defence gave Western Sydney the ball but Jack Rodwell’s shot fizzed just past the far post.
The Roar arguably should have gone into halftime further ahead but Mileusnic was guilty of shooting straight at Wanderers’ goalkeeper Tomas Mejias, who had earlier denied O’Shea after more good work from the impressive Hore.
Mileusnic had another great chance to double his tally in the 58th minute after being found by Kai Trewin but his powerful effort smacked into the crossbar.
His fourth of the season did come in the 65th minute though, finishing coolly after some good work by Corey Brown down the left.
Brisbane then wrapped up the comprehensive win with Akbari slamming home his first goal in 54 ALM appearances in the 74th minute.
The Wanderers thought they had a late consolation when Keijiro Ogawa found the back of the net but his effort was ruled out for offside and Macklin Freke was able to preserve his clean sheet with a good save from a late Dimitri Petratos free kick.
“Tonight was about a collective team performance,” Roar coach Warren Moon said.
“Sharp, aggressive, compact, resolute, and when we had the ball we used it really well.
“We could’ve scored more.”
The Roar face the Jets on Thursday in their next match while Western Sydney will look to spark life into their campaign on Wednesday when they host Perth at CommBank Stadium.