The Wellington Phoenix have come away with their second straight nil-all draw last night, extending their unbeaten streak to six games in a tense match against Adelaide United which featured plenty of chances by both sides.
The Phoenix dominated the second half of the match, recording 12 goal attempts to the Red’s five, but tight defence from both sides denied either of these typically high-scoring sides from registering a goal – even with Adelaide reduced to 10 men after 74 minutes.
While Adelaide rolled out an unchanged Starting XI from the one that faced Wellington a fortnight ago, the Phoenix side saw multiple changes; Louis Fenton and Cameron Devlin both out due to suspension and Ben Waine benched in favour of Jaushua Sotirio.
A revamped backline saw Steven Taylor start alongside Joshua Laws for the first time this season, with Tim Payne swinging over to the right back position and Sam Sutton selected ahead of James McGarry at left back.
Here’s the key moments from this match:
11’ – Sail’s Triple Save
The first attempt of the match goes to Adelaide’s Josh Cavallo, whose strike from the left side is batted away by Oli Sail in goal.
Tomi Juric followed up with a header attempt on the following sequence, with Sail making a spectacular diving sail to deny the goal; then a third goal attempt – this time from the Red’s Louis D’Arrigo – is easily caught by the Nix goalkeeper in an exciting defensive sequence.
34’ – Bend it like Bally
After Sutton making a sliding save of the ball, David Ball retrieves the errant ball and attempts a curling goal from the left side; the ball going wide of goal but keeping the Reds on their toes.
39’ – Sutton / Lewis Link-up
Sutton swings a sweet left-footed pass into Clayton Lewis outside the box, who takes a shot on goal which goes right of the goal. Despite the miss, the Nix have been dominant with the ball over the past 10 minutes and are threatening the Red’s goal.
Half Time – Wellington Phoenix 0, Adelaide United 0
The end of first half sees both teams scoreless, Adelaide holding a 8-3 advantage in goal attempts but with four of their attempts blocked; Wellington with a solid defensive effort from their new-look backline and another strong showing by Sail in goal.
Offensively, both Davila and Lewis have been active in the Red’s defensive half, but have yet to register a goal on target. Davila has once again been the recipient of multiple fouls, with Adelaide registering nine fouls in the half to Wellington’s three.
50’ – Sotirio Strikes
Sotirio takes a cross from Clayton Lewis in a set piece situation, attempting a header from the top of the box into the Red’s goal; his shot off target but the sequence highlighting the Nix’s strong start to this second half.
66’ – Payne & Piscopo Attacking
Another set piece situation for the Nix; Clayton Lewis delivering a strong cross into the box to Payne, whose header connects but is wide of goal.
Reno Piscopo follows up a few minutes later, taking a pass from Lewis and launching a strong attempt on goal from outside the box – which is on target but saved by the Red’s goalkeeper Joe Gauci.
74’ – Strain Sees Red
Piscopo makes a brilliant attacking move on the left and is heavily fouled by Ryan Strain, who picks up his second yellow card of the match – the Reds reduced to 10 men for the remainder of the game.
85’ – Sails Saves
An attempt by Halloran off of a pass from Juande is on target for Adelaide, but batted away by Sail in front of goal; this would be the Red’s last goal attempt for the match.
Full Time – Wellington Phoenix 0, Adelaide United 0
This draw sees Wellington remain in ninth place – just three points out from a place in the top six – while Adelaide climbs into second on the ladder. Although not the result they wanted, the Nix will be heartened by their second-half performance and the play of Reno Piscopo and Clayton Lewis in particular.
Following the match, Phoenix coach Ufuk Talay spoke about the team’s continued push for a top six spot, and the challenges it has faced this season.
“It’s disappointing, it’s a game we needed to win with where we sit on the table; at the end of the day not losing in Adelaide is a positive, but for us we needed the three points,” said Talay.
“It’s been a challenging season for us in the sense that we’ve had no home games, no home fans, and especially when you’re chasing a game I believe the crowd does help – but we persevere in the end, we’ve got a good group of boys.
“We are resilient, you can see that in the way that we play and the way we perform, and the players will grow from this and they’ll learn a lot from the challenges we’ve had this season.”
The Phoenix now travel to Melbourne on Sunday 16th May to face the top-of-the-table Melbourne City at AAMI Stadium, before heading back to New Zealand for the first time this season to face Western United at Wellington’s Sky Stadium on 22 May.
Wellington Phoenix squad: 6.Tim PAYNE, 9.David BALL, 10.Ulises DAVILA, 11.Jaushua SOTIRIO, 14.Alex RUFER, 17.Tomer HEMED, 19.Sam SUTTON, 20.Oliver SAIL, 21.Joshua LAWS, 23.Clayton LEWIS, 27.Steven TAYLOR
Adelaide United squad: 3.George TIMOTHEOU, 4.Ryan STRAIN, 6.Louis D’ARRIGO, 8.Stefan MAUK (c), 9.Tomi JURIC, 11.Craig GOODWIN, 23.Jordan ELSEY, 26.Ben HALLORAN, 27.Josh CAVALLO, 28. JUANDE, 46.Joe GAUCI (gk)
Wellington Phoenix Substitutes
59’ ON 7.Reno PISCOPO OFF 11.Jaushua SOTIRIO
59’ ON 5.James MCGARRY OFF 19.Sam SUTTON
64’ ON 18.Ben WAINE OFF 10.Ulises DAVILA
80’ ON 13.Charles LOKOLI-NGOY OFF 14.Alex RUFER
Adelaide United Substitutions
69’ ON 35.Al Hassan TOURE OFF 6.Louis D’ARRIGO
77’ ON 29.Kusini YENGI OFF 9.Tomi JURIC
85’ ON 7.Ryan KITTO OFF 8.Stefan MAUK
85’ ON 18.Joe CALETTI OFF 27.Josh CAVALLO
Next Match details
Match Week 21: Wellington Phoenix versus Melbourne City, AAMI Stadium in Melbourne, Sunday 16 May 2021, kick-off at 4.05pm AEDT (6.05pm NZ time)