Dominant Phoenix denied deserved win

DESPITE dominating for much of their Hyundai A-League 2009/10 round five match the Wellington Phoenix were left to rue only snaring one competition point against Adelaide United at Westpac Stadium on Friday night.

The 1-1 draw in front of 7578 loyal fans maintained an unbeaten record at home that has now stretched to eight games, but the Phoenix could not deliver the knockout blow to collect maximum points in a game that on the balance of play they deserved.

Phoenix striker Paul Ifill bagged his second goal of the season with a 35th-minute strike that gave the home side the lead, but the visitors levelled just before the break through Iain Fyfe. Ifill thought he had bagged the winner five minutes from fulltime when he coolly slotted the ball beyond Adelaide custodian Eugene Galekovic, but his strike partner Chris Greenacre was adjudged offside in the play.

There was greater intensity and industry shown from the Phoenix following their disappointing loss the previous week to Sydney FC, with a number of goal-scoring chances created. Daniel made the most of his first start for the Phoenix since the final round match against Melbourne Victory last season, the midfielder-s 90 minutes marked by several penetrating runs and delightful link play.

The Phoenix made a bright start, with Daniel finding midfielder Tim Brown on the six-yard box in the opening minute but his header glanced wide of the Adelaide goal. Leo Bertos had a measured strike from distance go wide, while defender Ben Sigmund headed over the crossbar from a corner.

Brown again went close in the 12th minute when the ball fell to him in space inside the penalty area, but his scuffed shot bobbled narrowly wide of Galekovic-s right-hand post with the custodian beaten. Daniel again turned provider moments later with a delightful lob to Greenacre but his effort was also wide.

The constant pressure from the home side was finally rewarded in the 35th minute when Bertos, after another searching run down the right flank, swung in a cross that was left to run by Greenacre before finding Ifill inside the penalty area. Ifill-s measured left-foot drive was too powerful for Galekovic to deny at his near post.

However, against the run of play Adelaide managed to get back on equal terms three minutes from halftime when defender Fyfe was on hand to push home a corner beyond Phoenix goalkeeper Mark Paston from close range.

The Phoenix-s dominance in the first half was reflected in their 11 shots on goal to Adelaide-s three, but only two were on target from the home side.

Immediately after halftime the Phoenix dodged a bullet when a Cristiano strike beat Paston but not the post. Soon after, Vince Lia let fly with a drive from centre field that flew just wide as the men in yellow and black lifted their intensity.

Chances were few in the final 30 minutes despite increased pressure from the Phoenix inside Adelaide-s half. Ifill-s disallowed goal near fulltime, followed by an injury time strike from Brown that was deflected away for a corner, capped off an ultimately frustrating night for the home side in a match they deserved to win.