Late Glory goal denies Phoenix

January 7, 2012

Perth defender Josh Mitchell struck at the death for the Glory to consign Wellington to a 1-0 A-League defeat at Westpac Stadium.

Wellington's infamous wind and rain looked to have kept its A- League play-off chasing Phoenix and visiting strugglers Perth Glory goalless.

But Mitchell scored only his second league goal to steal the spoils for the Western Australians and push them back into finals contention.

Mitchell struck with a far post header from a ball supplied by substitute Andrezinho deep in injury time.

Wellington treated a bumper summer holiday crowd of almost 9000 to a 4-2 win over Sydney on Wednesday. But unseasonal conditions resulted in 5000 fewer fans through the turnstiles, and played a part in keeping the score down.

Those who did attend saw a positive start by the home team, who named an unchanged starting XI for the third consecutive game.

This meant a 100th match in Phoenix colours for midfielder Tim Brown.

However, Perth, with Shane Smeltz recalled after a two-match hiatus through a groin injury, soon took control.

The visitors enjoyed the lion's share of possession in the first half, whilst Wellington failed to muster a shot on goal in the first half.

Their best chances came from wing play. Midfielder Travis Dodd forced Warner into a save from with a brave header from a Smeltz cross.

Three minutes later, Liam Miller enjoyed a run through the Phoenix defence from the left. The Irish midfielder then drove a low shot which his one-time Leeds United colleague Warner did well to hold in the wet.

Warner then struggled to handle a near post corner, palming the ball out to safety after a goalmouth scramble. Scottish attacker Steven McGarry had perhaps the best chance but shot straight at the English keeper with the last kick of the period.

Wellington started strongest once again in the second half.

Daniel hit the cross bar 10 minutes in after persistent play down the left flank by Leo Bertos.

That was the Brazilian's last meaningful contribution, as Wellington coach Ricki Herbert made an attacking change on the hour, introducing Paul Ifill and Mirijan Pavlovic.

Perth hit the bar six minutes on with a fierce strike from Smeltz.

The ball ricocheted onto the turf but not across the line, according to referee Kris Griffiths-Jones.