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Missed Chances Costly For Phoenix

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Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Wellington, Dec 13 NZPA - Wellington Phoenix were left lamenting a number of missed opportunities after a 0-1 loss to Sudney FC at Palmerston North last night ended their unbeaten home run in the A-League soccer competition at 14 matches.

A Steve Corica first-half penalty helped Sydney ensure that they continued to share that particular league record with the Phoenix.

"That was a game we should - at the very least - have got something from," Wellington coach Ricki Herbert said.

" We created plenty of chances but just lacked that clinical attitude to finish them off."

Going into the match without several key players, the Phoenix should have gone ahead early on when Tim Brown failed to nail a shot into an otherwise open goal but it was Corica's penalty that proved decisive after Alex Brosque was bundled over in the box by Phoenix defender Jon McKain with time almost up in the first half.

The Phoenix had a gilt-edged opportunity to get something from the match when Sydney FC defender Simon Colosimo was marched for a clumsy challenge late in the match, but the home side couldn't convert the numerical advantage into a goal.

Midfielder Tim Brown missed with a couple of late headers while Daniel saw his powerful header tipped away by Clint Bolton who had an excllent game having also stopped two stinging drives by Adrian Carceres and Paul Ifill in the first half.

"It was pretty clear that they had decided to shut up shop and hold on to their lead," Herbert said.

"We threw plenty at them but we just couldn't crack their defence. The guys never stopped plugging away and the endeavour was excellent, on another day we might have nailed two, three, maybe more."

"But that's the way things go sometimes.

"It's disappointing but we're showing plenty of endeavour and I'm extremely confident we can make a real push for the playoffs in the next couple of months."

The Phoenix's cause against Sydney wasn't helped by the loss of World Cup hero goalkeeper Mark Paston to injury and the suspensions of All Whites teammate Ben Sigmund and Malta international Manny Muscat.

Striker Chris Greenacre, nursing a knee injury, was also unavailable.

"The guys we brought in had ample opportunity to impress and for the most part that's exactly what they did," Herbert said.

"Young Reece Crowther was very good in goal and Troy Hearfield again proved his talent and versatility at fullback.

"The issue was in the front third - converting the excellent chances we had into goals."

The Phoenix's next match is away to Adelaide United on Friday.

NZPA WGT pm

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