The Wellington Phoenix have been left to rue missed opportunities after falling to their sixth 1-nil defeat of the Liberty A-League season.
An early goal from American striker Cyera Hintzen has given the Perth Glory a 1-0 win over the Phoenix at Sky Stadium in Wellington.
The Nix did everything but score.
Wellington dominated possession, had 24 shots to the Glory’s eight and delivered 28 crosses into the Perth box.
Phoenix head coach Natalie Lawrence says this is probably the 1-nil defeat that hurts the most.
“There’s a frustration but there’s a sense of pride in the way that we’re playing,” Lawrence told media post-game. “When I first made head coach I was asked what brand of football I wanted to play and I said attacking football.
“Fortunately, we’re playing very attacking football, we’re just not scoring goals.
“It’s the hardest thing to do in football, but it’s how you win games so it’s something that we have got to work on improving.
“We had 11 shots inside the box today, we had 24 shots in total, we had something like 28 crosses, and we had 60% possession.
“When you look at those stats you can’t lose those games, especially with how tight it is at the bottom.
“Happy with how we’re playing, how we’re progressing [and] how we’re getting better at playing the football we want to play, but we’ve got to start scoring more goals.”
The Nix remain bottom of the ladder, two points behind the Newcastle Jets, who drew 2-2 with Adelaide United on Friday night.
Wellington visit Newcastle next week and Lawrence was hoping they’d enter the match with a one point advantage over the Jets.
“We really wanted to do that this weekend and we knew from the result yesterday that we could and we could go off the bottom of the league.
“But it’s still in our hands. We have a game in hand, we know the game against Newcastle is important for us [and] it’s important for them.”
Natalie Lawrence named the same XI which started last week’s 1-0 win over league leaders Sydney FC. There was one change on the bench with Claudia Cicco back from representing the Young Matildas in Kyrgyzstan.
The Glory settled the quicker of the two sides and took the lead after just 10 minutes.
Hintzen produced a powerful first-time finish across Brianna Edwards and into the far corner of the Phoenix goal, after Hana Lowry laid the ball off for the American.
The Nix responded well to going behind and were soon threatening the Perth goal.
Emma Rolston volleyed a shot narrowly wide of target in the 13th minute and a handful of minutes later Paige Satchell came close to squeezing a shot through the legs of Glory ‘keeper Sarah Langman, after a lung-busting run down the right wing.
Satchell was a constant menace down that flank. She had a deflected strike sail over the bar midway through the first half and produced a number of crosses that weren’t quite able to find a team-mate.
Michaela Robertson and Michaela Foster also had shooting chances in the first half, but weren’t able to test Langman in Perth’s goal.
Betsy Hassett managed Wellington’s second shot on target with virtually the last kick of the half, but it was straight at the Glory ‘keeper.
Langman held on to a long-range effort from Rolston early in the second-half and made the save of the game moments later.
She got down low to her right to deny Marisa van der Meer after the Phoenix defender managed to create a shot following a goalmouth scramble.
Lawrence made her first change on the hour mark, bringing on teenager Milly Clegg in place of Rolston. Ava Pritchard, Alyssa Whinham and Claudia Cicco soon followed as the Nix searched for an equaliser.
Kate Taylor and Satchell shot narrowly off target midway through the second half before Hassett and substitute Ava Pritchard flashed headers over and wide of Perth’s goal.
Hassett also shot over the bar from a Foster corner, with the fullback’s set pieces a constant threat.
But ultimately the Glory held on to secure all three points and keep their finals hopes alive.
The Wellington Phoenix will visit the Newcastle Jets next Saturday. It will be their first of three matches in eight days to finish the season.
Wellington Phoenix: 12. Brianna EDWARDS (gk), 3. Kate TAYLOR, 4. Mackenzie BARRY, 5. Marisa VAN DER MEER, 7. Chloe KNOTT (c), 8. Grace WISNEWSKI (10. Alyssa WHINHAM 82nd), 11. Betsy HASSETT, 13. Paige SATCHELL (9. Ava PRITCHARD 77th), 14. Michaela ROBERTSON (17. Claudia CICCO 82nd), 16. Emma ROLSTON (20. Milly CLEGG 60th), 21. Michaela FOSTER.
Unused substitutes: 22. Georgia CANDY (gk).
Perth Glory: 20. Sarah LANGMAN (gk), 3. Kim CARROLL, 4. Natasha RIGBY (c), 7. Liz ANTON, 8. Hana LOWRY (9. Demi KOULIZAKIS 80th), 12. Sofia SAKALIS (17. Abbey GREEN 77th), 14. Hannah BLAKE (23. Alana JANCEVSKI 90th), 15. Cyera HINTZEN, 18. Sadie LAWRENCE, 19. Isabella FOLETTA, 21. Ella MASTRANTONIO (13. Sarah CAIN 77th).
Unused substitutes: 1. Morgan AQUINO (gk).
15. Cyera HINTZEN (Perth Glory) – 11th
5. Marisa VAN DER MEER (Wellington Phoenix) – yellow – 76th
8. Hana LOWRY (Perth Glory) – yellow – 78th