The Wellington Phoenix turned in arguably their best performance of the season but were left frustrated after drawing 1-1 with Central Coast Mariners at Eden Park on Saturday evening.
In the end it took a 77th minute striker by Roy Krishna to earn his team a point after Matt Simon had taken advantage of a rare mistake by goalkeeper Glen Moss to open the scoring in the 40th minute.
The Phoenix had 21 shots at Liam Reddy’s goal, most on target, but were denied by some point blank saves.
It was the Phoenix’ first draw of the season but coach Ernie Merrick wasn’t downhearted and praised his players for the effort they put in.
“It was a great performance,” Merrick said.
“That is the sort of football you have to play if you want to be in the playoffs and do well in them.
“The players are disappointed with the result but know they played great football.
“It was close to our best performance of the season but the Mariners came here, worked hard and did their job.”
There were some fine performances from Phoenix players with midfielder Alex Rodriguez turning in his best effort since joining the club and deservedly getting the man of the match award.
His hard running and passing typified the team’s effort and it was no surprise that Merrick had to take off Michael McGlinchey and Nathan Burns in the closing stages as both were exhausted.
Krishna, who has come on leaps and bounds in recent weeks and cemented his place in the starting line-up, scored for the fourth successive game and became the first Phoenix player to do that.
Wellington Phoenix: Glen Moss, Louis Fenton, Ben Sigmund, Andrew Durante, Manny Muscat, Albert Riera (Kenny Cunningham 85m), Roly Bonevacia, Alex Rodriguez, Michael McGlinchey (Alex Rufer 86m), Nathan Burns (Jeremy Brockie 82m), Roy Krishna.