Winless Phoenix still haunted
A shadow of last year's horror A-League season still haunts the winless Wellington Phoenix as they chase an elusive first win in this year's competition.
After battling on Saturday to a 1-1 draw with Perth Glory in Christchurch, the Phoenix have three draws and two losses from five matches this season and sit near the bottom of the table.
Last year, they recorded just seven wins from 27 matches, and finished last in the 10-team competition.
But despite a bright opening on Saturday at AMI Stadium, they couldn't put away a stubborn Glory, who hadn't conceded a goal since their opening-round 3-1 loss to Adelaide United.
Phoenix skipper Andrew Durante shaded home a pinpoint Carlos Hernandez free-kick after four minutes, only for the Glory to equalise as the half-hour mark neared.
Japanese striker Ryo Nagai volleyed home after Brazilian Sidnei Sciola Moraes split the Phoenix defence with a blazing run down the left.
More than happy with his team's dream start, new Wellington coach Ernie Merrick said it was disappointing to see them ease off.
"We got the fast start and scored in four minutes, and then it's like we took our foot off the accelerator. we didn't press ahead," he said afterwards.
"I think there's still some thinking from last season ... There were a lot of negative thoughts swimming around.
"I felt as though we should have pressed on after the goal, because we were looking really good."
Glory coach Alistair Edwards said it had taken the visitors a little too long to get into the game, but he was pleased with the way they'd almost stolen a win at the end.
"It took us a little while to get into the rhythm of the game but, to come back away from home, to get the equaliser and finish the game so strongly, it was pleasing," he said.
Perth created a raft of chances in the closing minutes, with late sub Jamie Maclaren blasting just wide and Ryan Edwards bringing extra pace as the Glory chased a late win.
"A deliberate part of our tactics today was bringing Jamie and Ryan on, so we could defend from the front and, as it turned out, it almost worked," Edwards said.