Phoenix impress in Aussie despite loss


The Wellington Phoenix may have lost 2-0 to Western Sydney Wanderers in Penrith on Sunday but they are continuing to impress across the Tasman.

That was clear from the moment Ernie Merrick walked into the post-match media conference at Sportingbet Stadium.

“You must be frustrated with the result given the way you dominated much of the game,” was the first comment from one of the Aussie media representatives.

Merrick agreed that it was disappointing but gave credit to the Wanderers for grinding out the win.

“When they took the lead in the 18th minute I thought it was against the run of play because we were playing some good football in conditions that were really tough for both sides,” he said.

“When you fall behind to the Wanderers Tony (Popovic) has them really well drilled and they are a hard team to break down and that was pretty well the story of the game.

“But we never stopped trying and I thought we totally dominated the second half but couldn’t find a way through because it was very hard to find that final pass in the box when they have so many numbers in there.

“I was pretty proud of the way we played attacking football but credit to the Wanderers for holding us out

“They caught us out in the last minute with a second goal but I wasn’t too bothered by that as we were looking for an equaliser.

“We’ve had two tough games on the road but now have two home games at our new venue at the Hutt Recreation Ground which should be really good with the crowd close to the touchlines as they were here.”

Nikita Rukavysta opened the scoring after 18 minutes, spinning and blasting the ball past Phoenix keeper Glen Moss and Rendon Santalab added the second on the counter attack in added time.