Western Sydney and Wellington both remain winless in season 2013-14 after playing out a spirited 1-1 draw in front of a vocal 16,294-strong crowd at Pirtek Stadium.
Western Sydney and Wellington both remain winless in season 2013-14 after playing out a spirited 1-1 draw in front of a vocal 16,294-strong crowd at Pirtek Stadium on Sunday.
The Wanderers were the dominant side early and hit the front in the 15th minute with a powerful strike from Jerome Polenz.
Ernie Merrick’s men worked their way into the contest midway through the opening stanza but Jeremy Brockie’s shot into the side netting on the half-hour was the closest the visitors came to an equaliser before the interval.
Wanderers skipper Michael Beauchamp missed a gilt-edged chance seven minutes into the second half after a dangerous Shinji Ono free kick before Jeremy Brockie equalised on the hour.
Ante Covic saved four shots in four minutes either side of Brockie’s goal to keep the hosts on level terms before Brendon Santalab hit the post with a thunderous strike in the 74th minute.
There was more drama to come with Santalab denied a penalty shout in the 85th minute after becoming tangled with Andrew Durante before Labinot Haliti forced a desperate save from Glenn Moss in the 89th minute.
Ono played well for 64 minutes after being promoted to the starting side while Covic and Youssouf Hersi both played starring roles for the home side.
Brockie, back from international duty with New Zealand, was a constant threat for the visitors while Paul Ifill made a major impact off the bench and Carlos Hernandez also had his moments.
The hosts came close to opening the scoring in the first minute, Leo Bertos saving a Mark Bridge strike with a goal-line clearance after a dangerous cross from Hersi.
But they suffered a blow in the seventh minute when gun midfielder Aaron Mooy landed heavily on his head and had to be replaced after a clumsy challenge from Manny Muscat, who was yellow-carded.
The Wanderers continued to dominate and opened their account when Polenz hammered the ball past Moss from just outside the penalty box after Stein Huysegems headed away a curling corner from Ono.
Tony Popovic’s men stayed on the attack but the tide started to turn when Brockie fired the visitors’ first shot on goal in the 27th minute.
Vince Lia then gave Covic his first nervous moment of the contest with a dangerous cross and Carlos Hernandez fired a shot over the target moments later.
Merrick replaced an angry Huysegems and injected midfielder Jason Hicks into the contest on the hour.
Hicks made an immediate impact, winning the ball in the midfield and finding Brockie who beat Michael Beauchamp and fired on goal and hit the side netting.
Hersi continued to cause major headaches for the Phoenix defence, forcing two good saves from Moss before the break.
Western Sydney Wanderers 1 (Polenz 15)
Wellington Phoenix 1 (Brockie 60)
Crowd: 16,294 @ Pirtek Stadium
Have you powered the game yet? http://youpowerthegame.footballaustralia.com.au/