Wanderers coach bemused by no-calls
Western Sydney coach Tony Popovic says he can't understand how the Wanderers were denied two penalty shouts as they slumped to their fifth loss of the season, beaten 1-0 by Wellington Phoenix at Westpac Stadium on Sunday.
Jeremy Brockie's 22nd-minute strike proved enough to see Wellington home, elevating them to fifth on the A-League ladder while the Wanderers slip to eighth with three wins from nine starts.
But Popovic says referee Matt Gillett missed two clear-cut penalties, one in the first half when a Jerome Polenz cross slammed into Phoenix captain Andrew Durante's arm and the other in the second spell after substitute Joey Gibbs was taken down in a heavy Ben Sigmund tackle.
"You don't want to bring up the officiating, but how we didn't get a penalty today is really beyond me," Popovic said afterwards.
"The games are tight, and those things change games, so we're disappointed on that front.
"They were penalties, but we've got to accept it and move on. But it's hard to accept, to be honest, it's hard to take when you see those kind of things."
The Wanderers were missing playmakers Aaron Mooy, away on Socceroos duty in Hong Kong, and Youssouf Hersi, serving out a two-match ban and struggled to create chances.
They've scored just five goals in nine games this season, and Popovic says his team have to look at what they can control if they want to consistently create more scoring opportunities.
"Hopefully we can learn from this experience and be better for it ... there wasn't very much in the game at all," Popovic said.
"It was a very tight game, we still moved the ball quite well in certain passages of the game.
"We just need to find a way to get some end product to the good football we're playing."
Popovic admitted the side missed Mooy and Hersi.
"Maybe we lacked a little bit of spark in the final third, maybe Aaron would have contributed a little bit more to that. It's hard to say," he said.
"Football-wise, we're on the right track but results-wise we're still quite inconsistent at the moment."