Perth Glory have produced a brilliant performance in Wellington to score a dramatic 1-0 victory against the Phoenix at Westpac Stadium
Perth Glory have produced a brilliant performance in Wellington to score a dramatic 1-0 victory against the Phoenix at Westpac Stadium.
In horrendous wet and windy conditions, the match seemed headed for a goalless draw until defender Josh Mitchell headed home deep into stoppage time to give the Glory a deserved three points.
The ball was whipped into the box from Andrezinho and bounced in front of Mitchell who nodded it past a stranded Tony Warner from a tight angle.
It was Perth's first victory in Wellington and a game they dominated in some of the toughest conditions they are likely to face.
The victory was even more remarkable considering the awful travel schedule the squad has faced in the past fortnight. Fixturing that has seen then travel to Newcastle, back to Perth and then to Wellington in the space of a week.
It was Perth, playing into the strong wind, who adapted to the conditions better in the first half and they really should have been ahead by the break.
They created by far the better chances with Travis Dodd, Liam Miller and Steven McGarry all forcing saves from Warner.
Glory skipper Jacob Burns and Todd Howarth also saw long-range efforts go wide along with a Steve McGarry header, as the Phoenix were forced to soak up the pressure from a Glory side keen to end its win-less run at Westpac Stadium.
McGarry should also have scored with the last kick of the half when he shot straight at Warner from close range.
It was all one-way traffic. Perth had 23 balls into the Phoenix penalty area and at one stage had 95% of possesion in the home teams defensive half.
In the 57th minute, Daniel should have put Wellington in front but hit the crossbar from about eight yards out.
The woodwork saved the Phoenix at the other end 10 minutes later when Shane Smeltz, returning after two games out with a groin injury, collected a McGarry cross and rifled a shot in which came down off the underside of the crossbar.
Glory coach Ian Ferguson got his tactics and substitutions spot on and the introduction of Andrezinho was timed to perfection and put more pressure on Wellington until Mitchell's late heroics.
The Glory are now unbeaten in their last three games.
Wellington Phoenix 0 Perth Glory 1 (Mitchell 90' +3) Westpac Stadium, Wellington