Phoenix unable to take advantage of strong start in Perth


Wellington Phoenix were unable to take advantage of the side’s excellent start to the round two Hyundai A-League game in Perth, as they fell 2-0 to the Glory after second-half goals from Diego Castro and Nebojsa Marinkovic.

The home side went in front early in the second half through a Castro penalty after Adam Parkhouse was adjudged to have fouled Chris Harold in the box. 

As Phoenix searched for the equaliser, Glory hit on the counter attack with Marinkovic finishing off the move to secure a 2-0 win for Perth.

Head Coach Ernie Merrick started Andrew Durante, Michael McGlinchey and Kosta Barbarouses after they returned from international duty with the All Whites.

Wellington made an extremely bright start to the contest and put great pressure on the Glory goal with goalkeeper Liam Reddy forced into a save just two minutes in.

Phoenix’s pace up front and aggressive defensive pressing had them looking the most likely to score in the first half, but Perth began to look more dangerous as the half wore on, particularly through Castro.

While there were chances at both ends towards the end of the first period, neither side could add the finishing touch.

The second half didn’t start well for Wellington as Parkhouse was penalised for a push in the area on Harold just two minutes in. He saw yellow and Glory had the chance to take the lead from the spot.

Castro stepped up and slotted in the spotkick to make it 1-0.

Merrick brought on Alex Rodriguez and Tom Doyle 10 minutes into the second period and that appeared to reinvigorate the Phoenix, but Perth earned themselves another penalty after Glen Moss was adjudged to have brought down Andy Keogh in the box.

Moss however saved the spotkick to keep Wellington firmly in the contest.

Just past the hour Finkler began to impose himself on the game and after a brilliant move, unleased a shot from inside the box that was expertly saved by Reddy.

As Phoenix attempted to push numbers forward, Glory took advantage on the counter attack as Josh Risdon broke down the right and pulled a ball back for Marinkovic, who struck home Perth’s second on 66 minutes.

Wellington continued to attack and on 75 minutes substitute Hamish Watson sent a delightful cross in for Roy Krishna whose header was saved at close range by Reddy.

Phoenix had another good chance to score 8 minutes later as pressure from Barbarouses and Krishna left the Fijian with space to shoot in the area, but again the effort could not get past the Glory goalkeeper.

In the end Wellington were left to rue not taking advantage of a very good start and will now be looking to get their season back on track against Sydney FC next Sunday.

Despite the promising opening, Merrick was left frustrated that dominance wasn’t converted into goals.

“I thought we started off really well with some good passing moves,” Merrick said.

“The first 15 to 20 minutes I felt we dominated the game after getting off to a good start but we had nothing to show for it and it is all about scoring goals.

“For the rest of the half I thought Perth were the stronger team.

“There were one or two things we needed to sort out at half time and we went out confident.

“But then we conceded from a penalty after a couple of minutes and that set us back and then Perth got a second goal

“We came back well but Perth defended really well and their goalkeeper Liam Reddy made a couple of crucial saves late on and in the final third we weren’t deadly.

“The only All White who was feeling the effects of playing and travelling was Michael McGlinchey who played two full games but we are not making excuses.

“We are not deadly in the final third. We probably had the same number of shots as Perth.

“We need to be more clinical in our finishing.”