Perth Glory’s hopes of reaching the finals suffered a blow when they were beaten 2-1 at home by bottom-placed Wellington Phoenix.
Perth Glory’s hopes of reaching the Hyundai A-League finals suffered a blow when they were beaten 2-1 at home by bottom placed Wellington Phoenix on Sunday evening.
It was a lacklustre performance by the hosts as goals from Paul Ifill and Stein Huysegems condemned Alistair Edwards to his first defeat at nib Stadium since taking over as interim coach.
The game started slowly with neither side able to control possession for a prolonged period, and the only real chance of note fell to Jeremy Brockie but his effort flew high over the crossbar.
Ryo Nagai was the first Glory player to test Glen Moss with a curling effort straight at the Wellington keeper, while at the other end Ifill’s attempted chip was easily dealt with by Danny Vukovic.
Moss had to be on his toes just after the half hour when a Scott Jamieson free kick was only partially cleared to Matias Cordoba who rifled in a shot that was spectacularly pushed over the crossbar.
The opening goal came after 35 minutes as Brockie beat stand-in centre half Jacob Burns for pace and when his effort was saved by Vukovic, Ifill was on hand to tuck home the rebound.
The home side pressed for an equaliser before half time with both Shane Smeltz and Liam Miller forcing good saves from Moss.
Glory looked to draw level at the start of the second half and only some last ditch defending from Andrew Durante and Ben Sigmund prevented Smeltz from having a clear sight of goal.
However, with Miller and Smeltz withdrawn by Edwards, it was the visitors who stretched their lead further on 67 minutes when Huysegems nodded home a Brockie cross.
The lead could have been stretched further but Vukovic did well to get a hand to an Ifill effort, while Durante headed over from a corner.
Glory got themselves back into the game in the 75th minute when Nagai rose above Manny Muscat to head Steven McGarry’s cross over Moss and into the net.
Substitute Travis Dodd almost snatched a dramatic equaliser in injury time but Moss saved well at his feet and the Phoenix held on for the win.
Glory now sit three points outside the top six in eighth ahead of a trip to Melbourne to take on Victory next weekend.
Bet365.com Man of the Match: Paul Ifill The Wellington forward was back to his best and looked to be enjoying himself against Glory. A pity we didn’t see more of it this season.
Perth Glory 1 (Nagai 75)
Wellington Phoenix 2 (Ifill 35, Huysegems 67)
Crowd: 6360 @ nib Stadium