Daniel Richardson

Daniel Richardson is a Wellington-based sports journalist for NZME. News Service.

Soccer: Phoenix lose again

Wellington came in to the game without striker Stein Huysegems. Photo / Getty Images
Wellington came in to the game without striker Stein Huysegems. Photo / Getty Images

The Wellington Phoenix could find themselves in the bizarre position of grabbing this season's A-League wooden spoon, while boasting the golden boot winner on their roster.

Chris Greenacre's men fell to a 2-1 loss to the league-leading Western Sydney Wanderers at Parramatta Stadium tonight (sun) but striker Jeremy Brockie still managed to find his way on to the score sheet.

The defeat left the Phoenix at the foot of the A-Ladder with two games to play but Brockie joined Central Coast Mariners forward Daniel McBreen at the front of the golden boot race with 15 goals this season.

Wellington came in to the game without striker Stein Huysegems, who was suspended after being sent off against the Melbourne Heart last weekend and his place was taken by Spaniard Dani Sanchez as Corey Gameiro played higher up the field.

The home side got in to their work early on and when Phoenix left back Tony Lochhead fouled Youssouf Hersi, the referee correctly pointed to the spot and awarded a penalty.
Marquee man Shinji Ono then made no mistake as he sent Phoenix goalkeeper Glen Moss the wrong way and the Phoenix found themselves down 1-0 after only seven minutes.

Conceding the early goal seemed to spark the Wellingtonians, who are notoriously poor across the Tasman, and they were duly rewarded when Brockie latched on to a Leo Bertos cross to draw the sides level mid-way through the first spell.

Brockie has a frustrating habit of drifting in and out of games but it's hard to deny his nose for goal and the All Whites utility has proven to be an inspired buy after he joined the Phoenix on a three-year deal from the Newcastle Jets at the start of the season.
Wellington enjoyed a power of possession throughout the rest of the first spell but as has been one of their major issues all season they failed to make use of the ball to find a go-ahead goal.

Both sides went to the sheds with a goal each to their credit but the game took a turn for the worse for the visitors almost immediately after the second half had begun.
Phoenix midfielder Vince Lia gave away a bizarre penalty when he inexplicably stuck his arm out and made contact with a Western Sydney cross, which gave Wanderers skipper Mark Bridge the chance to put the A-League newcomers back in to the lead.

Moss was given another chance to be a hero but he was unable to deny Bridge who ensured the Wanderers now have a five-point lead at the top of the A-League standings with three rounds to go as they banked their ninth straight win.

Brockie could have taken an outright lead in the golden boot race _ and drawn the sides level _ in the final minutes but his shot on the turn found the crossbar rather than the back of the net.

The Phoenix, who have already played their round 26 game as it clashes with upcoming World Cup qualifiers for the All Whites, meet Perth next weekend in Western Australia before they round out their disappointing campaign with a home outing against Melbourne Victory on March 31.

Western Sydney Wanderers 2 (Shinji Ono 7 pen, Mark Bridge 47 pen) Wellington Phoenix 1 (Jeremy Brockie 22) HT: 1-1

- APNZ

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