Phoenix Lose In Newcastle

The Wellington Phoenix paid the price for not creating enough chances, and not taking those they did.

The Wellington Phoenix paid the price for not creating enough chances, and not taking those they did, when beaten 2-1 by Newcastle Jets at Wanderers Oval on Saturday.

Making the loss all the more galling for the Wellington side was that they played the last 37 minutes against 10 men after Ben Kantarovski was sent off for the second of two reckless tackles.

Phoenix coach Ernie Merrick summed the game up succinctly with the comment that “if you don’t score goals you aren’t going to win games”.

“We played some good football but in and around the penalty box we weren’t deadly enough,” he said.

“We had three fast breaks in the first 10 minutes and hit the bar.

“Overall we had 12 chances whereas Glen Moss and Lewis Italiano (who replaced Moss in the 63rd minute) only had one save each to make.”

Newcastle took the lead against the run of play in the 23rd minute with Joel Griffiths scoring from the penalty spot after Tom Doyle was harshly adjudged to have handled the ball when it appeared to hit his chest.

Jeremy Brockie, who had a shot saved by the goalkeepers’ legs in the opening minute, equalised on 60 minutes with a lovely turn and left-footed shot from the edge of the penalty area.

From that point it was all the Phoenix but they failed to use their advantage to carve out clear-cut chances, and were caught on the break with a through ball from Marcos Flores finding James Virgilli who lifted the ball over Italiano as the keeper slipped on the uneven surface.

 “The penalty was dubious and against the run of play but we lost our structure after it and couldn’t keep hold of the ball,” Merrick said.

 “In the second half we had some good possession but didn’t create clear goal scoring chances.

“There needs to be better composure in the penalty area and that is something we will be working on during the week.”

Michael McGlinchey made an impressive debut, setting up Brockie with a lovely pass in the opening minute and hit the crossbar from 20 metres two minutes later.

Not surprisingly after having little match play in recent months the talented midfielder faded late in the game but he showed enough to suggest the long wait the Phoenix had to obtain his signature will be worth every minute.