A-League: Wellington Phoenix's top four hopes take hit with loss to Brisbane Roar

An Eric Beautheac double has steered Brisbane Roar to a shock 2-1 A-League win over Wellington at Suncorp Stadium and completed a miserable week for the visitors.   

The home side ended a four-match losing streak with a masterful counter-attacking display on Friday, with French winger Beautheac bagging his brace late in the first half.   

The surprise result means the ninth-placed Roar will almost certainly avoid the wooden spoon, with a fourth win this season pushing them eight points clear of Central Coast.   

Successive losses leaves the Phoenix vulnerable to losing their fourth place later in round 25, and they're still not assured of a first finals berth since 2015.   

Their lacklustre performance came just hours after reports surfaced that coach Mark Rudan will be leaving at the end of the season.   

Inspirational in his rookie campaign in charge, Rudan is yet to confirm his departure, but he has immediate issues to contend with as the Phoenix wheels begin to wobble.   

Their first-half display was as meek as in last week's 3-1 loss in Adelaide.   

They allowed ample room for young Brisbane forwards Dylan Wenzel-Halls and Nick D'agostino to run at the back three, and the 2-0 halftime score could easily have been greater.   

Beautheac's 37th-minute opener was a solo effort, jinking past lunging defenders before beating goalkeeper Filip Kurto from a tight angle.   

Five minutes later he tapped in a low cross from Wenzel-Halls which was poorly handled by the static Phoenix defence.   

The 31-year-old blotted his copybook when sent off following a second yellow card deep in injury time.   

Former Newcastle United defender Steven Taylor pulled a goal back with a rifling header from a corner for the Phoenix, but it failed to inspire his teammates until two blatant late chances were created.   

Reserve forward Cillian Sheridan's close-range strike found the inside of the post while David Williams had the goal at his mercy after rounding Jamie Young but somehow shot wide.   

Wellington captain Andrew Durante believed an equaliser would have been deserved although he lamented a sloppy display.   

"We had the intention to go and press them, but we were kind of all over the shop and got really exposed at the back," he said.

"Still, I thought we had enough good chances right at the end there to at least get a draw out of this."   

AAP