ANDREW VORCE - Monday, October 15, 2012
Wellington Phoenix have begun their A-League season in fine fashion by following their season opening win with a gritty draw on the road with Melbourne Heart at AAMI Stadium.
Alex Smith went a full 90 for Wellington and was denied a goal by Simon Colosimo in the second half.
Melbourne Heart were only able to manage a share of the spoils against a vastly depleted Nix squad with more than half of their starting line up from their last outing away on international duty. To add to the Pheonix woe, head coach Ricki Herbert was also out of the mix coaching the New Zealand National Team.
The opening goal came from a quick counter attack as Aziz Behich bombed down the left wing, catching the Wellington defense off guard. After drawing two defenders towards him Behich slotted his pass to Fred who intelligently layed the ball off for the onrushing Matt Thompson. The defender had trailed the play and put his shot past stand in keeper Jacob Spoonley.
Assistant Coach and stand in boss Chris Greenacre got his troops firing on all cylinders at half time with the young Nix squad coming out and getting the equalizer. Wellington earned an early corner and Smith was on hand to tuck a shot goalbound after a clever cut back. Defender Colosimo was on the line to deny the American his goal by punching the shot above his goal.
Colosimo was shown a straight red card, ejecting him from the game. Paul Ifill stepped up to take the ensuing penalty kick, tucking away the equalizer in the 47th minute.
Pheonix will be back in action on the 21st as Brisbane Roar come to Westpac Stadium.