Despite making a bright start the Wellington Phoenix had to settle for a 1-1 draw with Central Coast Mariners in Gosford on Sunday night.
The match marked the A-League debut of Wellington Phoenix Academy graduate and he capped a strong performance by initiating the move that led to the Phoenix opening the scoring in the eighth minute.
Gulley played a lovely pass to Roy Krishna who in turn stroked a lovely diagonal pass to the far post where Michael McGlinchey showed superb control before turning and finding the net with a crisp shot.
McGlinchey went close to scoring again in the second half but his powerful left foot drive struck the upright and bounced away from goal.
It seemed as if the Phoenix would take all three points as they repeatedly withstood some strong attacks from the home side but in the process conceded 15 corners and it was from one of those that Roy O’Donovan headed the Mariners equaliser in the 76th minute.
Coach Ernie Merrick would obviously have liked all three points but was philosophical about the final result.
“We started well and got a terrific goal from Mikey McGlinchey,” Merrick said.
“We had two boys starting (Gulley and Alex Rodriguez for the first time this season and they did well.
“I thought we played really well in the first half and went in 1-0 up.
“Mariners weren’t going to sit back and they threw players forward in the second half and I couldn’t believe how many they threw forward.
“It left Rpy one on one at the back and we had to try and catch them on the counter attack.
“Several times we did catch them but the the final pass went astray.
“To their credit Mariners pressed us down the flanks and forced 15 corners.
“We managed to defend 14 of them well but not the 15th. I think that’s the 400th corner we’ve conceded this season!
“Having said all that the boys found it very humid and were dropping like flies.
“The youngsters I brought on, Alex Rufer and Matt Ridenton, did good jobs.
“It was a good reaction to Monday’s loss but we do have to get more numbers in the box.
“Overall it was a point away from home and that isn’t a bad result.”
Central Coast Mariners: Izzo, Roux, McGing, Poscoliero, J. Rose, Montgomery (c), L. Rose (Heffernan 56’), Caceres, Ferreira, (Bingham 71’), Austin (Kalik 82’), O’Donovan
Wellington Phoenix: Moss, Gulley (Fenton 78’), Sigmund, Durante (c), Muscat, Riera, Rodriguez, Bonevacia (Ridenton 76’), Krishna, McGlinchey, Sarpong (Rufer 46’)
Scorers: McGlinchey 8’, O’Donovan 76’
Red cards: Nil
Yellow cards: Bonevacia 6’, O’Donovan 9’, Sigmund 36’, Rose 40’, Riera 46’
Conditions: 19C, Wet
Attendance: 6460 @ Central Coast Stadium