Soccer: Draw a timely boost for Phoenix

By Steven Holloway

Ben Sigmund of Wellington and Chris Harold of Perth contest possession during the round eight A-League match between Perth Glory and Wellington Phoenix. Photo / Getty Images,
Ben Sigmund of Wellington and Chris Harold of Perth contest possession during the round eight A-League match between Perth Glory and Wellington Phoenix. Photo / Getty Images,

After snatching a 1-1 draw with Perth Glory last night, the Wellington Phoenix have laid the foundation for a string of good results, according to assistant coach Chris Greenacre.

The Phoenix were staring down the barrel of four consecutive losses before they embarked on a gruelling two-game trip to Australia. After a win against Newcastle and last night's draw they are poised to launch a much-needed revival, with two home games coming up.

"If we had talked about this result before the game and someone had asked if we would take four points from six going to Newcastle and Perth I think we would have taken it,'' Greenacre told Radio Sport.

"After the three defeats we've started a little run again and we're hoping to capitalise on our next run of two home games, and hopefully it will be the start of another good unbeaten run.''

The Phoenix next face sixth-placed Western Sydney Wanderers and then bottom-placed Sydney FC at Westpac Stadium, and will be hoping that red-hot striker Jeremy Brockie can treat the home fans to some of the action he has been dishing up on the road.

Brockie scored the equaliser for the Phoenix last night - picking the pocket of defender Steve Pantelidis before coolly rolling the ball home early in the second half - to become the club's top scorer with five goals.

His haul is doubly impressive because all the goals have come in November and all away from home.

All Whites' striker Shane Smeltz announced his return with a typically classy goal for Perth, scoring his first goal of the season with a clinical strike in the first half.

Smeltz - the A-league's all-time leading scorer - was in the starting line-up for only the second time this season due to injury, international duty and personal reasons, and made the most of a half-chance in the 60th minute, smashing the ball past Mark Paston from the edge of the box.

Glory coach Ian Ferguson saw the result as a lost opportunity and was disappointed in the way they gave away their lead.

"I don't think it was our best performance. I'm very disappointed overall,'' he said.

"We got ourselves into the lead and then we give away a silly goal in a manner that was pretty poor.''

The result saw Perth (11 points) slip to fifth spot, while Wellington (nine) remain in seventh place.

-nzherald.co.nz

- Herald on Sunday

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