Saturday, November 24, 2012
Herbert praises Phoenix resilience
Wellington Phoenix coach Ricki Herbert is happy with how his team have emerged from their tough string of away fixtures following their 1-1 draw with Perth Glory on Saturday.The Phoenix held on to seventh place after Jeremy Brockie continued his goalscoring streak in the 73rd minute to cancel out a goal by his New Zealand All Whites team-mate Shane Smeltz for fifth-placed Glory 11 minutes earlier.It was one of the club's better performances in Perth and allowed them to return home with four points from a possible six across the Tasman following a defeat of Newcastle last weekend.Herbert was pleased with the players' resilience as several had travelled to China for the All Whites' friendly international before facing the Jets.He thanked the Phoenix owners for funding an extended 10-day stay in Australia rather than having them return home between games."It has been a difficult period with four of our last five games away from home and we have come out of it with credit," Herbert said."I thought we acquitted ourselves well and had our finishing been more clinical we could have won the game."We've got a couple of games at home now and have to make the most of those because there isn't much between any of the teams in this competition."Those fixtures are against two other teams in the bottom half of the table - Western Sydney Wanderers on Sunday and Sydney FC a week later.The Phoenix missed some handy chances early against Perth but they also had reason to thank goalkeeper Mark Paston for making two brilliant saves in a free-flowing first half.In the closing stages Herbert threw on 17-year-old Tyler Boyd and Belgian international Stein Huysegems, who was returning from injury, and it was the teenager who came closest to scoring, forcing a late save from Perth's former Phoenix keeper Danny Vukovic.