Wellington Phoenix 0
Macarthur FC 1
The Wellington Phoenix have been left to rue a disappointing day in front of goal, losing 1-0 to Macarthur FC in their A-League clash at WIN Stadium in Wollongong.
An extremely even contest felt like it might be decided by a single goal and the game's decisive moment came in the 65th minute.
A deflected right-wing cross deceived Phoenix defender Tim Payne, who inadvertently diverted the ball towards his own goal. While goalkeeper Oli Sail spared his blushes with a diving save, he could do nothing about the follow-up from Bulls attacker Denis Genreau who swept the ball gleefully into the net.
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Wellington threw caution to the wind in the game's closing stages, with Sail even popping up in the opposition penalty area, but across the 90 minutes, the Phoenix weren't quite clinical enough in the attacking third, despite having enough of the ball to trouble the Bulls.
In a somewhat cagey first half, the sides shared possession and territory without creating many clear-cut chances. Phoenix fullback James McGarry saw an early goal-bound strike deflected behind for a corner while David Ball's shot was turned aside by Macarthur goalkeeper Adam Federici. At the other end, Sail got down well at his near post to deny Genreau.
The Phoenix custodian was called into action early in the second half, flinging himself to his left to palm away an audacious flick from Loïc Puyo after a set move from a right-wing corner.
As he searched for a goal, Phoenix coach Ufuk Talay introduced the pacy attacking pair of Jaushua Sotirio and Charles Lokoli-Ngoy after an hour and also injected Ben Waine with 15 minutes left. The young Kiwi brought plenty of energy down Wellington's right, with Waine producing several dangerous crosses to throw doubt into the visiting defence and also volleying a left-wing corner over the bar from a handy position.
Talay made just one injury-enforced change to his match-day squad, with Cameron Devlin coming into the starting eleven for the injured Reno Piscopo, but was forced to make an unwanted substitution after just nine minutes with Steven Taylor coming off injured for the first time in his 51-game A-League career. It was reported the English defender carried the injury into the game, with the gamble on his fitness not paying off.
The Phoenix next host the high-flying Melbourne City on Easter Monday, with their visitors on a six-game winning streak.
Wellington Phoenix 0
Macarthur FC 1 (Genreau 65')