Friday, December 14, 2012
Lacklustre Phoenix fall to Sydney FC
By Cathy Walshe
Coach Ricki Herbert wasn't pulling any punches after Wellington Phoenix were beaten 2-1 by A-League cellar-dwellers Sydney FC at Westpac Stadium on Sunday.Herbert said the result was a massive disappointment and despite a late Phoenix fightback there was no doubt Sydney deserved the win, their third of the season and first in six weeks."At the end of the day, any other result would have been an injustice," said Herbert."We were poor, absolutely right across the board. I think we failed to perform anywhere today."We didn't look after the ball, everyone looked flat, we had no rotation out in the midfield, and we ended up going long. We weren't good enough."The Phoenix trailed 1-0 at halftime after Sydney defender Sebastian Ryall fired home a 46th minute header, then Rhyan Grant doubled the lead with a well-taken 69th minute right-foot strike,.The Phoenix mounted a late comeback after Sydney captain Terry McFlynn's 84th minute handball resulted in his second yellow and an early shower.With Wellington hot on attack, Sydney defender Adam Griffiths brought down Manny Muscat and in-form striker Jeremy Brockie notched his seventh goal of the season with a 90th minute penalty.The Phoenix had beaten Sydney 2-0 in their first-round encounter, but even though the Sky Blues were missing marquee player Alessandro del Piero on Sunday, they showed plenty of grit in their first game under new coach Frank Farina.Herbert puts Sunday's disappointing result down to a drop in performance by the Phoenix, rather than a lift from Sydney."We were lively, we were up for it in the opening game, and we just haven't looked confident today," he said."We just didn't defend from front to back, we didn't shut down at the top. We allowed them to get out, we didn't get tight in midfield and consequently they moved forward and created chances."