Paul Ifill of the Phoenix is tackled by Scott Neville of
the Jets. (Photo by Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images)
For all the talk around tactical changes at the
Wellington Phoenix, one man hasn't noticed anything different
about the way they play football.
The under-fire Phoenix have attempted to employ a
possession-based focus during the past six weeks but the
supposed change in approach hasn't yielded success because
they haven't won in their past five outings.
Playing pretty football is one thing but substance will trump
style if it results in putting three points on the board and
considering the Phoenix are last on the A-League ladder after
18 rounds their fanbase would take any kind of win at the
Yesterday (Sun) the Phoenix were held to a boring 1-1 draw
against the Newcastle Jets at Westpac Stadium after a 73rd
minute goal from Emile Heskey rubbed out the advantage the
home side earned through Louis Fenton in the first spell.
It was a throwback performance to the days of when the
Phoenix knew what they were about.
They had a stern focus on stout defence, coupled with a
cross-heavy approach and played with the sort of heart that
hadn't been seen in a couple of months.
Newcastle coach Gary van Egmond was asked after the game if
he thought the Phoenix were a changed outfit of late.
"From a perspective of maybe, like you said, confidence, but
that also comes with getting results and what have you," van
"I think they're a different team but I don't think they're a
different team in regards to how they look to play."
It was a fair assessment too.
Wellington's goal came on the back of a Ben Sigmund long ball
and they should've opened the scoring only minutes earlier
from the same provider but Jeremy Brockie failed to find the
back of the net with the goal at his mercy.
Fenton's goal was his third of the season and a nice return
for a good performance from the 19-year-old from Tawa who has
been the find of the summer for the Phoenix.
The Phoenix have been guilty of spurning chances in front of
goal in recent weeks and even though they were beaten 7-1
against Sydney FC in round 17 they could have been three or
four goals to the good in the early stages of the game.
Wellington assistant coach Chris Greenacre, who spent 17
years as a striker in the professional ranks, said the goals
were on the horizon for his men they just needed to be more
"We had a couple of chances [yesterday] and in fairness we've
created a lot of opportunities of late and we are just
waiting to stick it in the back of the net," he said.
"But from a personal point of view I think when you're
creating opportunities that's always a positive. Having been
there myself where we haven't created much and strikers
aren't getting chances is a real sore point. But we'll keep
continuing to train hard, work hard, keep getting those balls
in the right areas and I'm sure the tide will turn at some
point, we've just got to keep putting those chances in for
Wellington's next chance to get back in the winner's circle
comes on Saturday night when they host the Perth Glory in a
"home" game at Auckland's Eden Park.