The Wellington Phoenix are done feeling sorry for themselves and have quickly turned their attentions to their penultimate match of the Liberty A-League season.
The Phoenix face Adelaide United at ServiceFM Stadium in Adelaide on Tuesday night, little over 72 hours after a deflating defeat to the Jets in Newcastle.
The loss has left the Nix five points adrift at the bottom of the table and all but consigned to back-to-back wooden spoons.
The defeat to Newcastle came a week after an equally frustrating loss to Perth Glory in Wellington, which followed the team’s historic win over then league leaders Sydney FC.
“It’s hurt,” Phoenix head coach Natalie Lawrence told media via zoom from Adelaide. “The players have been pretty gutted. The Sydney game felt like a big turning point.
“The positive they’ll always see is the performances have been there, but they know the results haven’t.
“They’re pretty resilient. They’re pretty strong. We were pretty gutted after Newcastle, but we have a game two days later, so we have to refocus.
“The players that are used to international football are used to doing that too – with a game, a couple of days break and then a game.
“For us it was really disappointing to not get a result out of Newcastle, but credit to everyone for feeling sorry for themselves for a little bit and then moving on and getting ready for Adelaide.”
The players are in “pretty good” shape physically after the match against the Jets.
“Everyone came through the Newcastle game pretty well. Some sore bodies as you’d expect at this end of the season.
“It’s a pretty quick turnaround so that will dictate the line-up and the 16 for tomorrow.”
Lawrence took an extended 20-strong squad to Australia for the matches against Newcastle and Adelaide and is also thinking ahead to their final round match against Melbourne Victory at Sky Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
“We are definitely taking into account the three games in eight days.
“A big learning from last year is that we didn’t rotate the squad when we had really, really quick turnarounds.
“There will definitely be some rotation so we can ensure that there is freshness around the field for all three games.
“Everything has been focussed on ending the season as strongly as we can.”
Football Ferns forward Paige Satchell is one player who is certainly finishing the season strongly.
Satchell scored her maiden goal for the club on Saturday, after impressive performances in the previous two matches against Sydney and Perth.
“I think the Perth fullbacks are probably still having nightmares about Paige running past them a few times,” Lawrence said.
“She was phenomenal in that game and rightly got player of the game.
“Again, against Newcastle at the weekend she’s doing the things we want her to do.
“She’s going one-vs-one, she’s showing how incredibly fast she is with the ball at her feet and we’re getting that final product from her now as well.
“We’ve been really, really pleased with Paige, especially the last few weeks.”
It is a quick turnaround for Adelaide United too. They were beaten 3-0 by Sydney FC on Saturday afternoon.
It is the Reds’ final match of the season and they sit eighth on the ladder, nine points above the Phoenix.
Tuesday night’s match was originally scheduled to be played on December 27, but was postponed because of a heat wave.
The rescheduled seventh round Liberty A-League match between the Wellington Phoenix and Adelaide United is scheduled to kick-off at ServiceFM Stadium in Adelaide at 9:00pm (6:30pm ACDT) on Tuesday and will be broadcast LIVE on Sky Sport Select and 7 in New Zealand and Paramount+ and 10 Play in Australia.
Most recent A-League meeting: 17 December 2022 – Wellington Phoenix 0 Adelaide United 1
All-time A-League head-to-head: Phoenix 0W, Adelaide 3W & 0D
Wellington Phoenix squad: 2. Saskia VOSPER, 3. Kate TAYLOR, 4. Mackenzie BARRY, 5. Marisa VAN DER MEER, 7. Chloe KNOTT, 8. Grace WISNEWSKI, 9. Ava PRITCHARD, 11. Betsy HASSETT, 12. Brianna EDWARDS (gk), 13. Paige SATCHELL, 14. Michaela ROBERTSON, 15. Zoe MCMEEKEN, 16. Emma ROLSTON, 17. Claudia CICCO, 18. Te Reremoana WALKER, 19. Charlotte LANCASTER, 20. Milly CLEGG, 21. Michaela FOSTER, 22. Georgia CANDY (gk), 25. Emma MAIN.
Unavailable: 1. Lily ALFELD (gk) (injured), 6. Isabel GOMEZ (injured), 10. Alyssa WHINHAM (injured).
Adelaide United squad: 1. Annalee GROVE (gk), 2. Emily HODGSON, 6. Jenna McCORMICK, 7. MelindaJ BARBIERI, 9. Paige HAYWARD, 11. Isabel HODGSON (c), 12. Nanako SASAKI, 13. Ella TONKIN, 14. Meisha WESTLAND, 15. Katie BOWLER, 16. Dylan HOLMES, 17. Zoe TOLLAND, 18. Sasha COOREY, 19. Maruschka WALDUS, 20. Jenna FARROW (gk), 22. Emilia MURRAY, 23. Fiona WORTS, 26. Grace WILSON (gk), 28. Chrissy PANAGARIS.
Unavailable: 8.Emily CONDON (groin).