Hyundai A-League - 2012/2013 - Season 8

Wellington’s Wind Decides Dour Duel
By Jeremy Ruane
with the compliments of

2012/2013 Hyundai A-League - Round 9
4:30pm, Sunday 2 December, 2012
at Westpac Stadium, Wellington, NZ

Wellington Phoenix FC 1
(Jeremy Brockie 22')
Western Sydney Wanderers FC 0

Wellington’s world-renowned reputation as the “Windy City” was to the fore at Westpac Stadium on 2 December, as Wellington Phoenix edged Western Sydney Wanderers 1-0 in a decidedly dour duel to climb to fifth place on the Hyundai A-League ladder.

Little wonder just 5,405 fans turned up to watch this wind-affected spectacle - it really was not attractive viewing. Indeed, to be perfectly honest, it was boring - A-League football at its best this most certainly was not!

There were just five incidents of note in the first half, the first of which saw Ante Covic grab a rising Jeremy Brockie drive at his near post after the striker had been released in the sixth minute by Paul Ifill.

Eight minutes later, the visitors should have been awarded a penalty when Jerome Polenz’s driven cross was blocked to safety by the arm of Wellington captain Andrew Durante. Referee Matt Gillett was unmoved despite Western Sydney’s claims - they were hard done by on this occasion, make no mistake.

The travelling team went close again in the twentieth minute when Manny Muscat cleared the ball off Mark Bridge’s toes after Leo Bertos misjudged a Polenz cross. It sparked a Wellington counter-thrust which contrived what proved to be the decisive moment in the match two minutes later.

There appeared little danger when Brockie gathered the ball wide on the left in the 22nd minute and sent a cross curling towards goal. Easy pickings for Covic, one would have thought.

Not so! Mother Nature intervened, the capital’s fickle winds taking the ball away from the approaching goalkeeper, who was left floundering on the ground as the net bulged behind him - 1-0 Wellington, with a suitably sheepish scorer accepting the plaudits.

Covic redeemed himself seven minutes later with a splendid fingertip save at full stretch to keep out Alex Smith’s free-kick, struck from a similar position to that which resulted in the scoreline changing moments earlier.

It was the last chance of the half, and, indeed, the only one of note over the course of the next forty minutes - it wasn’t until the 62nd minute that spectators had reason to again be stirred from their Sunday afternoon slumbers.

Durante raised eyebrows by bursting into Western Sydney’s half before spraying the ball wide to Smith, who flighted a delightfully weighted cross beyond all-comers to find Brockie arriving on cue at the far post. Covic pawed his angled downward header to safety.

The visitors surged downfield and again found themselves with more than ample reason to complain about referee Gillett, who dismissed another strong penalty claim as substitute Joey Gibbs was clumsily hauled down inside the area by Ben Sigmund.

Smith went close with a twenty-five yarder soon after before releasing Ifill down the right in the 68th minute, the striker turning an opponent inside out before being denied at the near post by Covic.

Seconds later, Brockie latched onto a loose ball and set up Vince Lia for a shot which the midfielder steered narrowly over the bar from the edge of the penalty area, a position from where he was to go close again later in the match.

Seventeen minutes from time, Tony Lochhead did well to engineer some space near the corner flag from which to deliver a cross. Bertos met it on the run and unleashed a sweetly struck shot towards goal, right at Brockie, whose instinctive shot on the turn sent the ball sizzling over the bar from six yards.

That was the last action of note in this dreary affair until the last four minutes of play, when substitutes on both sides were proving influential. Tyler Boyd had just entered the fray for Wellington when he swooped on a ball Western Sydney should have cleared. His twenty-yard drive arrowed inches past the far post with Covic beaten.

Three minutes later, Ifill and Boyd linked down the left, with the newcomer evading a challenge by the corner flag before cutting inside and setting up Lia for a shot from the edge of the area. Covic plunged to his left to ensure Wellington’s advantage remained just the one goal.

And it could so very easily have been cancelled out in stoppage time, as Western Sydney mounted a last-gasp attack in an effort to secure a share of the spoils. Polenz sent Tahj Minniecon marauding down the right, from where he fired over a low cross into the stride of Gibbs, whose shot struck Muscat and was scrambled to safety by a Wellington side which was far from inspirational in returning to winning ways.

2012/2013 Hyundai A-League - Round 9
4:30pm, Sunday 2 December, 2012
at Westpac Stadium, Wellington, NZ

Wellington Phoenix FC 1
(Jeremy Brockie 22')
Western Sydney Wanderers FC 0

    Crowd: 5,405


    Wellington Phoenix FC :
    Player listing:
    Paston (gk); Bertos, Sigmund, Durante, Lochhead; Lia, Muscat, Smith (Fenton +76'); Ifill,, Huysegems (Boyd +85'), Brockie

    Substitutes not used: Moss (rgk)

    Coach: Ricki Herbert

    Yellow Cards: Muscat 82''
    Red Cards: Nil

    Western Sydney Wanderers FC :
    Player listing:
    Covic (gk); Polenz, Beauchamp (Cole +85'), Topor-Stanley, D’Apuzzo; Minniecon, Poljak, Ono, La Rocca (Trifiro 69'), Bridge; Kiesinger (Gibbs +59')

    Substitutes not used: Tyson (rgk)

    Coach: Tony Popovic

    Yellow Cards: Nil
    Red Cards:Nil

    Referee: Matt Gillett 4/10
    Assistants: tba ; Fourth Official: tba

    BOTN Player Points:
    > 3. Muscat (WP)
    2. Polenz (WSW)
    1. A. Smith (WP)

    Pitch rating: 8/10

    Game rating: 2/10

    Match Report and ratings: By Jeremy Ruane

Disclaimer: The content of this report is the responsibility of the writer. Stats are either as recorded by the writer at the game, or as supplied by FFA, or a mixture - no responsibility can be taken for their compete accuracy although we do strive for that. Any photos used here, are as attributed.

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