Soccer: Glory steal late win to stun Pheonix

Andrezinho and Joshua Ridson of the Glory celebrate after beating the Wellington Phoenix. Photo / Getty Images
Andrezinho and Joshua Ridson of the Glory celebrate after beating the Wellington Phoenix. Photo / Getty Images

Perth Glory 1
Wellington Phoenix 0

The Wellington Phoenix had built up their fair share of momentum during the past few weeks in the A-League but that was stalled when the Perth Glory stole a 1-0 win over the Phoenix at Westpac Stadium today.

After scoring nine goals in their past two home fixtures, the Phoenix were unable to find the back of the net against Perth.

The weather conditions didn't allow for free-flowing football as gusting winds and driving rain made life tough for the players.

Perth's Josh Mitchell nodded home the ball from close-range from a free kick in the 92nd minute to pick up the result for the visitors.

During the second spell the rain stopped for a while, but a soaking wet pitch was still tricky to negotiate for both sides.

Tim Brown, who became the first Phoenix player to earn 100 caps for the club, had a quiet game by his standards and didn't make his trademark runs in to the penalty area.

The first spell didn't offer a lot of action as players struggled in the conditions and chances were virtually non-existent, although Daniel hit the crossbar for the home side early in the second spell.

Leo Bertos, who lined up against his former club, tried admirably as he ran up and down the wing, but the slippery ground didn't allow his pace to be an attacking weapon.

Phoenix skipper Andrew Durante signed an extended contract with the franchise on Friday and was again a rock at the centre of defence, although he picked up a yellow card for a dangerous challenge late in the piece.

Left back Tony Lochhead also picked up a caution during the game.

Phoenix coach Ricki Herbert stuck with the same starting line up that hammered Sydney FC 4-2 during the week and his use of the bench was also similar as Paul Ifill, Mirjan Pavlovic and Alex Smith all played from the pine.

Perth Glory striker Shane Smeltz returned to the club where he was a favourite of the Yellow Fever but the All White was booed with every touch of the ball by an under-sized crowd of 3898.

He rattled the crossbar in the 66th minute with a thunderous right-foot strike that gave Phoenix goalkeeper Tony Warner no chance.

Smeltz was subbed in the 73rd minute after he overcame a groin injury to be fit for the game.

The result leaves the Phoenix, who play Gold Coast United in Australia next Sunday, in fourth position, while Perth climbed to eighth place.

A minute of silence was observed before kick-off in memory of those who lost their lives in the ballooning tragedy in Wairarapa during the weekend.

Perth Glory 1 (Josh Mitchell 90+2') Wellington Phoenix 0 HT: 0-0

- APNZ

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