Football: Phoenix hold Mariners to draw

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 rarely threatened.

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.

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