Herbert Pleased With First Up Result

Wellington Phoenix coach Ricki Herbert was pleased with his team’s performance in a 1-1 draw with Gold Coast United at Skilled Park on Sunday.

Wellington Phoenix coach Ricki Herbert was pleased with his team-s performance in a 1-1 draw with Gold Coast United at Skilled Park on Sunday.

In an at times pulsating game the Phoenix took the lead in the 17th minute with a goal by striker Chris Greenacre and held their advantage till the 88th minute when James Brown beat keeper Mark Paston with a lovely curling shot from outside the penalty area.

While it was disappointing to lose the lead at such a late stage, the Phoenix had shown a reslience not always in evidence away from home in the past that augurs well for the future.

The goal Greenacre scored came from a lovely sweeping move after man-of-the-match Manny Muscat won the ball in his own half, played a neat one-two with impressive debutant Dani Sanchez and then sent in a perfect cross for Greenacre to turn the ball past United keeper Glen Moss.

Moss was in action more than Paston in the first half, and twice made brilliant saves to prevent his former club going further ahead.

The second half was more of a battle for the Phoenix as they were disrupted by injuries to Vince Lia, Paul Ifill and Sanchez.

Even then they showed enough attacking intent to create three or four scoring chances that unfortunately went begging.

Herbert said that at the end of the day it was one of the better performances the Phoenix has produced away from home.

“Our away form has been well documented and I-m not sure anyone thought we had a chance of getting something from the game,” Herbert said.

“It took us 10 minutes to settle but for the next 35 leading into halftime I thought we dominated.

“If anything I was a bit disappointed that we weren-t further ahead at the break, but overall I think a draw was a fair result.

“When you put it into context we have a small squad that we-re not looking to build on at the moment.

“It was important we came away with something to get us underway and at the end of the day I-m delighted for the players. They stood up and came away with something to show for their efforts.”

Of the injures Herbert said Lia with his knee injury is probably the biggest worry but will wait till he gets advice from the medical staff.

“Dani”s was cramp so he should be okay. It is just that he hasn-t played much and there is more fuel to go into his tank yet.

“Pasty has a bit of a rib injury and Iffil has a groin niggle.

“Alex Smith-s registration should come through before next week-s game, and Cameron Lindsay is back from Europe so that will be a help.”