Phoenix earn draw in Perth


Wellington will travel home across the Tasman with a well-earned point after fighting out a 1-1 draw with Perth Glory at nib stadium on Saturday night.

The result means Perth stay in fifth-place on the Hyundai A-League ladder and Wellington remain in seventh, one-point behind Western Sydney outside the top six.

Shane Smeltz struck first against his former team in the 62nd-minute when he took on Wellington captain Andrew Durante and then drove the ball low and hard past Mark Paston into the bottom right hand corner.

But Jeremy Brockie replied for the visitors shortly after when he chipped Steve Pantelidis, ran on to the ball and rolled it home with Wellington’s first shot of the second half.

Perth defender Josh Risdon was unlucky not to have broken the deadlock in the 52nd-minute when his left-foot, 25-yard, curling strike hit the upright and deflected out.

Glory pressed late and finished the game with 13 shots to Wellington’s five but were unable to find a winner to take just one point from consecutive home fixtures.

Substitute Tyler Boyd had a chance to steal it for the Phoenix when he cut in from the left and his shot called Danny Vukovic into action for one of the few times of the night.

In an underwhelming first half the teams split the possession, but it was Perth who had the seven shots to Wellington’s two.

Paston was forced to make four saves to keep Glory goalless in the first-half.

The most notable of those was when he made a brilliant reaction save to deny Travis Dodd’s flicked-on header from Scott Jamieson’s corner.

Paston was again in the action when he got a firm hand to a Billy Mehmet strike after the Perth striker side-stepped two Wellington defenders and got his shot away.

Smeltz got on the end of Paston’s parry, but headed the ball wide with an open goal beckoning.

Wellington’s best chance of the first half came in just the eighth minute when Louis Fenton got on the end of a probing Jeremy Brockie cross, but the volley left Fenton’s boot with little venom and Vukovic was able to make his only save of the first half.

Brockie was the culprit for the next wasted chance when the talisman was left unmarked in Glory’s box, but sprayed his shot over the bar.

Perth 1 (Smeltz 62)
Wellington 1 (Brockie 73)
Crowd 7,982 at nib stadium.
Bet365.com Man of the Match: Mark Paston – The Phoenix keeper was in fine form to keep his team in the game and earn a valuable point on the road.