Greenacre braces for improvement

MOST strikers who score a brace in their first game of the season should be expected to walk of the pitch with a smile on their face.

Not so Chris Greenacre, the Wellington Phoenix marksman getting his Hyundai A-League 2010/11 season off to a fine start with two well-taken goals only to see his side surrender a 3-1 lead to draw 3-3 with Gold Coast United at Westpac Stadium last weekend.

Greenacre cut a dejected figure, the last man to trudge to the changing sheds following the sodden stalemate in the Phoenix-s season opener.

“It-s been a while since I-ve got a brace and if it was to win the game I would have been absolutely delighted,” the 32-year-old said. “Drawing the way we did really took the gloss off it.”

It is testament to the Phoenix ambitions this season and Greenacre-s own high standards that the draw was not considered good enough. The British striker and his Phoenix teammates have the chance to make amends when they host the Central Coast Mariners at Wellington-s Westpac Stadium on Sunday.

“We-ve got to pick ourselves up and go again. We-ve got a tough game against Central Coast, so we have to learn from the draw and be better.”

While acknowledging the playing conditions against Gold Coast United were diabolical, Greenacre refused to put the result down to that alone.

“Championship-winning teams need to adapt to the conditions. We-ve got a point on the board and we scored three goals at home, so that-s positive. But we stopped doing what we do well (during the game) and perhaps subconsciously we thought we already had the game won when we were 3-1 up. We needed to play smarter football in those conditions and unfortunately we didn-t in the latter stages.”

For now, Greenacre hopes his opening brace sets his goal-scoring standard for the rest of the season. His combination with former Mariners striker Dylan Macallister is already paying dividends and the duo is looking forward to testing the visitors- defence on Sunday.

“I-m so thankful to Dylan. He-s a big target up front and he allows me the opportunity to go for those scrappy goals in and around the six-yard box. He laid up a good ball for me and thankfully I was able to score my second goal against Gold Coast.

“I think as the season goes on we-ll be able to continue developing the partnership and we-re keen to put it to the test again against the Central Coast on Sunday. Hopefully the conditions will be somewhat better this time.”