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

Soccer: Phoenix draw with Wanderers

Jeremy Brockie of the Phoenix celebrates scoring the equaliser against West Sydney. Photo / Getty Images
Jeremy Brockie of the Phoenix celebrates scoring the equaliser against West Sydney. Photo / Getty Images

Phoenix 1
Wanderers 1

When Jeremy Brockie is in a Wellington Phoenix shirt, he just can't stop scoring goals.

After a phenomenal debut season with the club last year, where he racked up 16 goals in 24 appearances, he registered his first strike of this summer yesterday as the Phoenix earned a respectable point from a 1-1 draw with the Western Sydney Wanderers across the Tasman.

Brockie even went out on loan during the off-season to play for Toronto in the MLS but he managed only one goal from 15 games. It seems the New Zealand international leaves his best for the Phoenix.

The 26-year-old ran on to a sublime ball from Paul Ifill in the 59th minute yesterday and made no mistake, which gave the Phoenix due reward for a strong second half at an intimidating Parramatta Stadium, as Wellington drew level.

The Wanderers opened the game with a wave of enthusiasm and attack as they were buoyed on by a vocal home crowd of 16,294.

Western Sydney lost midfielder Aaron Mooy early on after a sickening clash with the Phoenix's Manny Muscat.

The Wanderers' early weight of possession eventually told when they forced another corner and Jerome Polenz hammered home a well-taken goal from the top of the box in the 15th minute.

It marked the German import's first goal in the A-League in his 26th game and Phoenix goalkeeper Glen Moss was largely unable to see the ball with various bodies in front of him.

Playing from behind appeared to wake the Phoenix up as they started to enjoy some positive patches of their own but there was limited continuity within the side, who had a disjointed preparation given four players were away on All Whites duty this week.

The New Zealand quartet of Moss, Brockie, Andrew Durante and Leo Bertos all slotted straight in to the Phoenix starting line-up for the contest, despite meeting the team in Sydney after travelling back from the Caribbean.

Phoenix coach Ernie Merrick gave a tough indication of how he will run his side this year when he pulled striker Stein Huysegems after only 30 minutes in a bid to move back to four players in the midfield as the side was getting opened up down the left flank.

There were few clear-cut chances for either team during the rest of the first spell as the Wanderers took their 1-0 lead to the break.

Former Barbados international Ifill was introduced to the game at the start of the second half as Merrick yanked Kenny Cunningham, who had struggled defensively in the opening 45 minutes.

Western Sydney goalkeeper Ante Covic made a brilliant double save to keep his side in the game mid-way through the second spell before Brockie's strike finally levelled the ledger.

Phoenix midfielder Carlos Hernandez nearly put the visitors in front with a cheeky long-range strike but Covic pulled off another fine stop as he got his right mitt to the ball.

Eventually, the contest drew to a stalemate, which gave Wellington their first point of the season after they lost their opening game 2-1 to the Roar last week. The Phoenix host the Newcastle in Napier next Sunday.

Western Sydney Wanderers 1 (Jerome Polenz 15)
Wellington Phoenix 1 (Jeremy Brockie 59). HT: 1-0


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