The Western Sydney Wanderers travelled to Wellington on Sunday looking to break a nine match winless streak in the Hyundai A-League with the high-flying Phoenix standing in their way.
When luck isn’t going your way you have to fight harder for the rewards and it was certainly the case today as a plucky Red & Black flew home empty-handed after a performance which deserved far better than a 1-0 loss.
Starting slowly, the Wanderers were not looking like changing their fortunes early in the match and prospects didn’t look much better after the Nix took a lead in the 15th minute.
In an incident that set social media alight the home team was awarded a penalty after Roy Krishna tripped over his own feet and fell to the ground in the box leaving the alleged culprit, Daniel Alessi, and his teammates in a state of bemusement.
Regardless, Ante Covic saved the initial spot-kick but was powerless to stop the follow-through as Krishna slotted the rebound into the net.
Just when it seemed that the Phoenix were going to stamp their authority, the Red & Black took the ascendency and had the better of the rest of the match.
Nikita Rukavytsya firstly, followed twice by Tomi Juric tested the Wellington defence with a save, miss and block rescuing an under-the-pump Phoenix going into half time.
The second half played out just how the first ended, with Wanderers creating chance after chance.
But despite a barrage of shots on goals a mixture of near misses, keeper saves and desperate blocks kept the ball out of the net.
Following another blocked effort by Juric after a brilliant Rukavytsya run, the Red & Black must have been left wondering what exactly they had to do to score as a goal looked certain.
Things did not get any less frustrating for Wanderers fans as Juric again, Mark Bridge, Labinot Haliti and even Antony Golec all had chances to equalise.
The entire match was summed up by one of the final plays of the match as a strong Jaushua Sotirio shot was saved before the shot on the rebound looked odds-on to score before a lunging yellow shirt once again got in the way.
While positives emerged from the match and the penalty decision was obviously a big factor in losing the match, the reality is that the Wanderers have not won all season and that needs to change.
Their next opportunity comes on New Year’s Day when they host Central Coast Mariners at 7:30pm. Click here for a chance to claim free parking at Wanderland for the match.