The Wellington Phoenix’ improved away form continued today, but not being able to put the ball in the net meant they came away from Morwell with nothing to show for their efforts in a 1-0 loss to Melbourne Heart.
The Wellington Phoenix- improved away form continued today, but not being able to put the ball in the net meant they came away from Morwell with nothing to show for their efforts in a 1-0 loss to Melbourne Heart.
Phoenix coach Ricki Herbert lamented that his team created more goal scoring opportunities over the 90 minutes than they did in half a dozen away games last season, but couldn-t find the right finishing touches.
“It was another encouraging performance but again we came away with nothing,” Herbert said.
With a bench made up of Dani Sanchez, Daniel and Mirjan Pavlovic Herbert signified his attacking intent and those on the field at the start also went for it right from the start.
Less than three minutes from the first whistle Paul Ifill forced a fine save out of Heart goalkeeper Clint Bolton and for most of the first half the Phoenix were the equal of the home side.
It was a lapse in concentration defending a free kick in the 41st minute that cost Wellington the game.
Fred took the kick quickly, Rutger Worm raced away and when his left-foot shot hit the upright Mate Dugandzic was on hand to lash the ball into the net.
Matt Thompson had the chance to seal the points for Melbourne Heart two minutes into the second spell when he burst clear with only keeper Tony Warner to beat only for his shot to hit the upright.
As the second half progressed the Phoenix took control and created panic in the Heart defence to the extent that a defender slammed the ball against the crossbar in his desperation to clear.
Twenty minutes from the end Herbert introduced talented Spaniard Sanchez, who was returning from injury, and he immediately made his presence felt by hitting the inside of an upright with a superb free kick.
Pavlovic again got a chance to impress and he also went close as he caused problems for the Heart defence.
“They both did well when they went on and came through without any problems,” Herbert said.
“Pavs was a little frustrated because he had a couple of chances he snatched at, but he was just so eager to do so well.
“A month down the track I believe he will do really well for us.
“It was also good to have Dani back. He also came through and he will come back in next week.
“Paul (Ifill) also pulled up okay even though he got a couple of knocks so we will have some good options next week.”
Melbourne Heart 1 (Mate Dugandzic), Wellington Phoenix 0. HT: 1-0.