Wellington Phoenix coach Ricki Herbert was shaking his head in disbelief long after the final whistle had sounded at Westpac Stadium tonight.
Herbert had just watched his team dominate the star-studded Melbourne Victory for long periods only to lose 2-1.
Considering their sparse squad the Phoenix are punching above their weight but in the final analysis the loss came because they weren-t able to convert the chances they created, especially in the first half.
That the Phoenix went in at halftime a goal down was thanks to the individual brilliance of Archie Thompson who created something out of nothing to give Victory the lead in the 42nd minute.
It was much of the same in the second spell till the 65th minute when Phoenix defender Ben Sigmund pulled Thompson back in the penalty area, conceding a penalty and being shown a red card by referee Jared Gillett.
Down to 10 men, the Phoenix still managed to dominate and it was no more than they deserved when Dani Sanchez reduced the deficit with a superb drive from the edge of the penalty area.
Herbert said he couldn-t fault his players, but at the end of the day matches are only won by putting the ball in the net.
“We are playing well and I don-t think anyone could have begrudged us two or three goals by halftime,” Herbert said.
“We are having to get by with a small squad and the people who put the ball in the back of the net cost more money than other players.
“Unfortunately we aren-t in a position to get someone like that.
“I would be more worried if we weren-t creating chances and even with 10 men we looked likely.
“I believe we are playing some of the best football in the four-year history of the club.”
Captain Andrew Durante said it was frustrating that good football was not being turned into goals.
“Melbourne were poor, we were very good and I-m still working out how we got nothing from the game.
“We are playing some really good stuff. We were well on top and forced them into errors.”
Wellington Phoenix 1 (Dani Sanchez), Melbourne Victory 2 (Archie Thompson, Carlos Hernandez pen). HT: 0-1.