Herbert Notches Up 50 Wins


Sunday’s 2-0 win over the Gold Coast was Ricki Herbert’s 50th win in the Hyundai A-League.

Wellington Phoenix coach Ricki Herbert reached a significant milestone on Sunday when his team beat Gold Coast United 2-0 at Westpac Stadium.

The win was Herbert-s 50th in the Hyundai A-League, 47 with the Phoenix and three with the New Zealand Knights.

It was those wins with the hapless Knights as the curtain came down on their involvement in the Australian-based competition that persuaded Terry Serepisos to put Herbert in charge when he founded the Wellington Phoenix.

Since then Herbert has taken the hastily formed Phoenix from nothing to a club that is about to make the playoffs for a third successive season.

“That (50 wins) is something I-m very proud of,” Herbert said.

Invariably rated underdogs most weeks, the Phoenix went into the game against troubled Gold Coast United as red-hot favourites and while the margin was only two goals it could have been a lot wider.

The young United side stuck gamely to what was a difficult task and some of them will have suitors should the club not exist next season.

That the Phoenix scored only twice could be put down to a combina
tion of poor finishing and fine goalkeeping by Jerrad Tyson.

A bevy of scoring opportunites went begging in the opening 20 minutes before Phoenix skipper Andrew Durante popped up at the back post to score only the second goal of his A-League career.

Nick Ward added the second in injury time, much to the relief of his team-mates and the home supporters.

“It was nice to get back on the scoresheet after a long time and it meant something this time,” Durante said.

“The last time I scored we ended up losing the game so it was a good feeling.”

While he would have liked to be in the comfort zone much earlier than he was, Herbert wasn-t too concerned by the number of opportunities that were spurned.

“I would like to have that many chances in every game,” he said.

“It (the score) could have been anything but the important thing was we did what we had to do and got the three points.”

The Phoenix now head to Melbourne for back-to-back away games against the Heart and the Victory with Herbert confident more points can be added to the 12 out of a possible 15 that have been picked up on the road recently.