Wellington Phoenix 2 Western Sydney Wanderers 2

The Phoenix mini revival couldn't last.

After last week 3-0 win over the Central Coast Mariners, the Phoenix were held to a 2-2 draw by the Wanderers in Auckland on Saturday night.

But this felt like a moral victory, as the Phoenix came back from 0-2 with less than 30 minutes to play.

A 62nd minute Gui Finkler penalty gave the home side hope, before a Roy Krishna header brought the Phoenix level.


Like last week there was plenty of heart and spirit, though the fluidity wasn't always there from the home side.

This Phoenix team believe they can still make the playoffs, though there are much greater tests to come, especially across the Tasman.

It was an entertaining match on a perfect summer night, bringing back some memories of the Football Kingz at Mt Smart Stadium.

The sparse 5,702 crowd, easily the lowest the Phoenix have had in Auckland, did well to provide a great atmosphere.

The omens were good for the Phoenix. They were unbeaten in the Queen City - three wins and two draws - and were playing a Wanderers side that had yet to find their groove this season. The 2015-2016 grand finalists had only two wins before last night, and had found goals hard to come by.

Like last week in Hamilton, the Phoenix started well. The home side dominated possession and territory, but it didn't last. The Wanderers gradually took control; they were sharper and more precise in possession, with the front trio of Mitch Nichols, Nicholas Martinez and Brendon Santalab particularly impressive.

They took the lead through Santalab - who else given the time of year - who volleyed home direct from a corner. It was well struck, but there will be questions about the Phoenix marking from the set piece

The Phoenix had further first half chances - to Marco Rossi, Finkler and Jacob Tratt - but the Wanderers had the best opportunity - with Martinez forcing a wonderful save from Glen Moss, as the former All Whites keeper tipped a goal bound shot up and over the bar.

The match opened up in the second half, as the Phoenix pushed forward in search of an equalizer. But the home side couldn't produce much, and seemed to lose their structure, as the Wanderers clever movement was too much.

When Mitch Nichols extended the Wanderers lead in the 56th minute - it was a well worked move, though static defending - it looked a long road back for the Phoenix.

But a Finkler penalty in the 62nd minute, after Krishna was too quick for his marker in the area, brought the game to life.

What followed was a crazy period. The Wanderers won a penalty, after a reckless Andrew Durante challenge, but Moss saved well to his left. Still full of adrenalin, Moss then made a kamikaze charge out of his own area moments later, and needed a brilliant Rossi block to stop Nichols scoring into an open goal.

Two minutes later Krishna rose well at the far post to nod past Jerrad Tyson in the Wanderers goal, after a pinpoint cross from Parkhouse.

But the goal was controversial, as Barbarouses appeared to clearly handle the ball in the immediate build up.

Phoenix 2 (G Finkler (pen), R Krishna)
Wanderers 2 (B Santalab, M Nichols)
Halftime: 0-1​