A-League leaders Central Coast extended their unbeaten streak
to nine games, but couldn't shake off a determined
Wellington, who fought back for a dogged 1-1 draw at Westpac
Stadium on Saturday.
The struggling Phoenix put together a vastly improved
performance but looked set for their third successive defeat
after in-form Mariners striker Daniel McBreen's 44th minute
goal - his 10th of the season.
However Wellington treated the 5961-strong crowd to an
excellent late fightback, a Dani Sanchez header levelling the
scores in the 83rd minute.
Wellington had kept pace with the competition leaders for
much of the first half, 19-year-old striker Louis Fenton
looking particularly dangerous down the right flank.
His combination with 17-year-old Tyler Boyd and the
experienced Jeremy Brockie more than compensated for the
absence of Paul Ifill, who is out for at least a month
following ankle surgery.
The Mariners' composure in midfield, marshalled by skipper
John Hutchinson, proved hard to break.
The Phoenix looked to have done enough to go into halftime on
even terms only to pay the price for not clearing their line
with the Mariners hot on attack.
Keeper Mark Paston could only parry Rogic's initial strike,
and although there was a hint of offside, McBreen finished
clinically to give the visitors a 1-0 lead at the break.
Central Coast worked hard to put the Phoenix away after the
restart, and although Wellington created chances, a lack of
confidence in the final third meant the Mariners' goal was
The Mariners continued to run hard, and Rogic was only denied
by a superb Paston reflex save as he broke through clear on
goal in the 72nd minute.
But substitute Benjamin Totori, who was a handful down the
left with his pace following his injection in the 70th
minute, sent in a taunting cross in the 83rd minute, and
Sanchez looped his header high over keeper Mathew Ryan for
Wellington to salvage the draw.