Strikes from star duo Kosta Barbarouses and Gui Finkler helped Wellington Phoenix to a 2-2 away draw against Newcastle Jets at McDonald Jones Stadium on Boxing Day.
Barbarouses gave Phoenix the lead in the first half with a fine individual effort from inside the box after the half hour.
While Newcastle managed to equalize shortly after the break through Andrew Hoole, a superb Phoenix move just seconds later was finished off by Finkler to restore Wellington’s lead.
Yet an impressive individual goal by Andrew Nabbout secured a share of the spoils for Newcastle.
Phoenix started the contest brightly and through some well-worked moves were able to get behind the Jets defence on a few occasions early on.
Wellington came agonizingly close to going in front before the half hour when Finkler’s wicked free kick hit the post and then Roy Krishna just couldn’t manage to steer the follow-up effort into an empty net.
The visitors finally made the breakthrough on 35 minutes as Krishna fed Barbarouses in the box and the New Zealand striker turned his defender before slotting past Jack Duncan for the opener.
Just before the interval Glen Moss pulled off two excellent saves at the near post to deny the Jets, first from an Ivan Vujica shot and then to stop a Hoole volley.
The Jets did manage to equalize early in the second half as Hoole netted from inside the box in the 49th minute.
But parity lasted less than 60 seconds and Phoenix went up the other end, and after another fine move Krishna teed up Finkler right in front of goal and the Brazilian made it 2-1 with a tap in.
Just past the hour however Newcastle drew level again as Nabbout slalomed his way through before curling a shot into the far post.
Wellington pushed hard in the latter stages for a winner, but while creating a few openings were unable to apply the finishing touch.
Phoenix now head home to prepare for their return to Westpac Stadium and the New Year’s Day meeting against Adelaide United.