Soccer: Jets draw not the result to bring out Phoenix fans

By Terry Maddaford

The Phoenix hosted Adelaide at Eden Park last season which attracted 20,000 fans. Photo /Getty Images
The Phoenix hosted Adelaide at Eden Park last season which attracted 20,000 fans. Photo /Getty Images

As a marketing initiative ahead of Saturday's Hyundai A-League square-off with Perth Glory, the 1-1 draw with Newcastle Jets was not the result the promotions department at the Wellington Phoenix would have wanted.

Mindful of last season's bumper 20,000-strong crowd at Eden Park, the club would have preferred a win over the Jets in the hope of a repeat turnout in the first of two trips away from Westpac Stadium for home matches this season.

The selling point now for this bottom-of-the-table battle will be the chance for the Phoenix to wriggle away from the depths of despair against a team they lost to three times last season - all by the odd goal. In the other meeting the Phoenix won 1-0.

But to reverse a horror run, the Phoenix have plenty to get right after another limp effort against the Jets.

Ian Hogg is likely to benefit from the weak effort at Westpac Stadium. With Tony Lochhead's sending-off for a second yellow card, Hogg, one of two recruits in the transfer window, is set for a call-up and with it the chance to play in the city where he has played most of his football.

Coach Ricki Herbert, impressed by Hogg's work ethic in training, will be happy to hand his new charge a start in a game they must win to maintain their flagging efforts to make the playoffs.

Perth, who drew 1-1 with the Phoenix at home earlier in the season, slumped 1-0 at home to struggling Brisbane Roar in Saturday's late game to end the round two points ahead of the Phoenix and a point behind Brisbane and Sydney FC.

Fresh from their 7-1 romp over the Phoenix, Sydney came unstuck on the trip to Melbourne Victory, losing 3-1 to the Marco Rojas-inspired Victorians who jumped into second place, albeit five points off the pace.

Rojas, under the microscope from a number of sources, scored one and had a second deflected for an own goal as he continued his season-long run as the league's best.

Sydney finished the match with nine players after Tiago Calvano and Fabio Alves were sent off for second yellow cards.

Western Sydney Wanderers overcame Jerome Polenz's 12th-minute dismissal - a straight red - to beat Melbourne Heart 1-0 and remain in the top three. Adelaide United, beaten 3-1 away by Central Coast Mariners in the top-of-the-table clash, dropped to fourth.

- NZ Herald

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