Dramatic draw keeps Glory in Finals mix

Liam Reddy kept Glory's Finals hopes flickering with a last-minute penalty save as the men in purple fought out a pulsating and controversial 2-2 draw with Wellington Phoenix at Auckland's Eden Park.

Full match highlights

Roared on by a bumper crowd of over 22,000, Phoenix took the lead midway through the first half courtesy of Tomar Hemed's emphatic finish, before substitute Bruno Fornaroli fired Glory level on the hour-mark with what was his 11th goal of the campaign.

Callum Timmins then put the visitors 2-1 up, claiming his first ever A-League goal with a thunderous long-range strike, only for Jaushua Sotirio to restore parity ten minutes from time.

Both sides threw everything into the search for a winner in the latter stages and Wellington thought they had found it when Nick D'Agostino was adjudged to have brought Cameron Devlin down in the box, but Reddy proved equal to Ulises Davila's spot-kick to ensure that the spoils would be shared.

The result leaves Glory three points adrift of sixth spot with two games to play and Garcia is adamant that his side could yet extend their season.

Richard Garcia's post-match media conference in full

"We just need to go into the next two games with that positive attitude and take all six points," he said.

"It was a fantastic effort tonight by the team.

"It's not an easy trip to come all this way and for them to play the way they did and put in that team effort was very pleasing.

"We're still focused on what we can do within the three-game away trip that we've got and this just takes nus one step closer.

"They showed fantastic quality in that second half and then the desire and teamwork and willingness to put their bodies on the line was fantastic and great to see heading into these next two games."

There was drama right from the off  with the VAR called upon inside the opening two minutes to overrule referee Alex King's initial decision to award Phoenix a penalty when Tim Payne went down in the box under pressure from Kosuke Ota.

The next opportunity fell Glory's way, Diego Castro finding a tiny pocket of space in a crowded box from which to send in a curling effort which was claimed by home 'keeper Oli Sail.

As the chances continued to flow, David Ball made inroads to the edge of the box before flashing a low shot wide of Liam Reddy's far post and moments later, Joel Chianese was similarly off-target at the other end after Andy Keogh had turned cleverly and cut the ball back.

Then came the opener for the hosts, Louis Fenton getting away down the right and picking out Hemed who had time to take a touch before crashing a shot past Reddy.

There were further chances for Reno Piscopo and Hemed as the half wore on, but as half-time approached, Glory managed to get on the front foot and some fine work was required from Clayton Lewis to block Castro's goalbound strike in stoppage-time.

Castro, almost inevitably, was instrumental in Glory's equaliser when it arrived 15 minutes after the restart, leading a rapid counter-attack which culminated in Fornaroli sliding the ball past Sail and into the far corner

Next to take centre-stage was Timmins, the 21-year-old midfielder striding on to a pass from Fornaroli some 28m out from goal and unleashed a stunning strike which left Sail grasping at thin air as it arrowed its way into the top corner.

Not to be undone, Sotirio cut in from the left channel with ten minutes remaining, switched the ball onto his right foot and bent a shot across Reddy into the far corner to make it 2-2.

And  there was still time for another dramatic twist in the tale when D'Agostino tangled with Devlin, but  Davila's subsequent effort from the spot was not powerful or precise enough to beat the dive of Reddy who further enhanced his reputation as one of the league's finest penalty stoppers.

Match Details

Wellington Phoenix 2 (Hemed 25', Sotirio 80') Perth Glory 2 (Fornaroli 61', Timmins 75')

Half-time: 1-0

Eden Park, Auckland

Referee: Alex King

Wellington Phoenix: 20.Oliver SAIL (gk), 6.Tim PAYNE, 7.Reno PISCOPO (11.Jaushua SOTIRIO 59'), 8.Cameron DEVLIN, 9.David BALL, 16.Louis FENTON, 17.Tomer HEMED, 18.Ben WAINE (10.Ulises DAVILA 68'), 19.Sam SUTTON, 23.Clayton LEWIS, 27.Steven TAYLOR

Substitute not used: 1.Stefan MARINOVIC (gk), 5.James MCGARRY, 13.Charles LOKOLI-NGOY, 14.Alex RUFER, 21.Joshua LAWS

Yellow Cards: Fenton, Devlin

Red Cards: None

Perth Glory: 33.Liam REDDY (gk), 2.Jason GERIA, 5.Jonathan ASPROPOTAMITIS, 6.Osama MALIK, 8.Kosuke OTA, 10.Andy KEOGH (18.Nick D'AGOSTINO 76'), 11.Joel CHIANESE, 13.Luke BODNAR (6.Osama MALIK 82'), 17.Diego CASTRO, 19.Callum TIMMINS, 23.Dane INGHAM (9.Bruno FORNAROLI 56'), 29.Darryl LACHMAN,

Substitute not used: 1.Tando VELAPHI (gk), 15.Brandon WILSON, 22.Josh RAWLINS, 24.Daniel STYNES

Yellow Cards: Lachman, Timmins, Fornaroli, Castro

Red Cards: None

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