Phoenix So Close Yet So Far

There was only heartbreak for the Wellington Phoenix at Hindmarsh Stadium on Friday night when they lost their elimination final 1-0 to Adelaide United.

Ironically the Phoenix turned in one of their best away performances of the season but in the end were caught out by a 70th minute sucker punch from Travis Dodd.
The Phoenix were pressing, as they had done for much of the game, when they lost possession deep in Adelaide-s half.

Adelaide-s influential midfielder Marcos Flores, who had one of his quieter games, managed to keep possession of the ball even though he was on the ground before sending Dodd away with a beautifully weighted pass.

One on one with Phoenix goalkeeper Danny Vukovic, who had little to do throughout the 90 minutes, Dodd slipped the ball into the net to Vukovic-s left.

The Phoenix spent the last 20 minutes searching for an equalising goal that would have sent the tie into extra time but they couldn-t find a way through the desperate Adelaide defence.

Captain Andrew Durante came closest with a header that hit the crossbar and it just wasn-t their night in front of goal.

Phoenix coach Ricki Herbert was disappointed, not with his team-s display, but with the fact that he felt they should have won the game.

“For the first 45 minutes there was only one team in it and we needed to do something and we didn-t,” Herbert said.

“To be totally in control as we were for that amount of time you have to put teams away and we didn-t.

“We gave ourselves chances but were lacking that X factor in the front third of the pitch.

“Adelaide are a hard team to beat at home but we should have beaten them tonight. That is the disappointing thing.

“We are becoming a more established club that has made the playoffs two years running

“It was a difficult season for a variety of reasons but we fought our way into the top six and on tonight-s performance felt we should have gone further.”

Adelaide 1 (Travis Dodd), Wellington Phoenix 0. HT:0-0.