Phoenix Lose Scrappy Game

Wellington Phoenix coach Ernie Merrick summed up his team’s 1-0 loss to Adelaide United at Westpac Stadium on Sunday succinctly.

Wellington Phoenix coach Ernie Merrick summed up his team-s 1-0 loss to Adelaide United at Westpac Stadium on Sunday succinctly.

“If you don-t score goals you can-t win matches.”

If ever that adage rang true it was this game, a game that never really got going which was hardly surprising when 51 free kicks were given by referee Peter Green.

Goal-scoring chances were few and far between and it took a 58th minute penalty by Marcelo Carrusca to decide the game.

The best scoring chances were created by the home side, and the game could have been so different had Stein Huysegems scored when put clean through by a superb pass from Matt Ridenton right on the stroke of halftime.

Unfortunately for the Phoenix United goalkeeper Eugene Galecovic got his right hand to the ball and the chance was gone.

“Had we scored one I it would have lifted our confidence and that would have been a perfect time to do it,” Merrick said.

“I thought we had the better chances but Adelaide played the better football in midfield, keeping possession better than we did.”

Down the bare bones through long-term injuries, the Phoenix- cause wasn-t helped by Ben Sigmund and Vince Lia struggling with muscle strains from early in the game.

“At halftime it was a case of take them off to save them or go for it,” he said.

“We needed to win so we went for it and both boys wanted to stay on.”

Merrick made particular mention of Matt Ridenton who turned 18 two weeks ago.

“Matt-s job defensively was to shut down Isais and he did that very well,” the coach said.

“In attack it was to service the strikers and it was his pass that set up that great chance for Stein.

“I see Matt has a great prospect but I shouldn-t have to use so many young players together at this stage of the season.”

Merrick said he would be putting out his best possible side in the final two games.

“We are not going to throw it away. I want to beat Sydney away and beat Victory in our last game here for our supporters.”

Wellington Phoenix:,/b> Glen Moss, Michael Boxall, Andrew Durante, Ben Sigmund, Shaun Timmins, Vince Lia, Manny Muscat, Kenny Cunningham (Tyler Boyd 79m), Matt Ridenton (Roy Krishna 65m), Jeremy Brockie, Stein Huysegems (Carlos Hernandez 56th minute).