Wanderers unfortunate in Phoenix draw

NRMA Insurance Western Sydney Wanderers were unfortunate not to take all three points from their 1-1 draw against Wellington Phoenix with the post denying Brendon Santalab a deserved late winner.

NRMA Insurance Western Sydney Wanderers were unfortunate not to take all three points from their 1-1 draw against Wellington Phoenix with the post denying Brendon Santalab a deserved late winner.

In front of a vocal 16,294 crowd at Pirtek Stadium the Wanderers were the dominant side early and hit the front in the 15th minute with a powerful strike from Jerome Polenz.

Despite suffering a blow in the seventh minute when gun midfielder Aaron Mooy landed heavily on his head and had to be replaced after a clumsy challenge from Manny Muscat, the Red and Black were on top and creating early opportunities.

It didn-t take long for the Wanderers to open their account when Polenz scored his debut Hyundai A-League goal as he volleyed the ball past Glenn Moss from just outside the penalty box after Stein Huysegems headed away a curling corner from Ono.

Skipper Michael Beauchamp missed a guilt-edged chance late in the half after a dangerous Shinji Ono free kick before Jeremy Brockie equalised on the hour for Wellington.

Ante Covic saved four shots in four minutes either side of Brockie's goal to keep the hosts on level terms before Brendon Santalab hit the post with a thunderous strike in the 74th minute.

There was more drama to come with Santalab denied a penalty in the 85th minute after becoming tangled with Andrew Durante before Labinot Haliti forced a desperate save from Glenn Moss in the 89th minute.

Shinji Ono played well for 64 minutes after returning to the starting side while Covic and Youssouf Hersi both played starring roles for the home side.

Head Coach Tony Popovic was pleased with the progression of the team but lamented the missed opportunities early.

“The first 25 minutes were very pleasing and we played some great football but we-re a little disappointed we didn-t kill off the game at that point,” said Popovic.

“We were pleased and showed progression in certain areas of our game.”

For full match details please visit wswanderersfc.com.au (Wanderers Match Centre)

The NRMA Insurance Western Sydney Wanderers play Sydney FC this Saturday at Allianz Stadium kicking-off at 7:30pm.