Wellington 1 Central Coast 1
Let fly: Mariners' Nick Montgomery loses his footing. Photo: Getty Images
Wellington Phoenix and gale-force winds battered defending A-League champions Central Coast Mariners to a 1-1 standstill at Westpac Stadium on Sunday.
Both teams had their chances in the second spell after sharing honours with a goal each in the first stanza. But it was Daniel McBreen's missed penalty in the 70th minute that proved the most costly, as the Phoenix extended their unbeaten run to four games.
Winds gusting at up to 100km/h swirled around the stadium, making life difficult throughout.
|View Match Statistics|
|Players||Cunningham (46min)||Goals||Simon (17min)|
Wellington's back four came under increasing pressure as the game progressed, as Joshua Rose proved particularly troublesome down the left and McBreen dangerous on the edge of the area.
Accuracy and pace gave the Mariners a well-earned lead after 15 minutes when Nick Fitzgerald slipped a beautiful through ball for Matt Simon to blast home into the top right from 15 metres out.
The Phoenix regathered, Kenny Cunningham and Stein Huysegems forcing Mariners keeper Liam Reddy into two quick-fire blocks at the half-hour mark, but the Mariners looked set to take a 1-0 lead into the break until Cunningham struck a minute out from the half-time break.
Sharp work from the midfield found Cunningham just outside the box, and the Costa Rican squirmed around Storm Roux before finishing with a well-placed strike past the diving Reddy.
The Phoenix pressed hard, but weren't able to convert their half-chances. Referee Matthew Gillett ruled keeper Glen Moss had brought down Trent Sainsbury in a rare Mariners foray forward. But McBreen's scoring woes continued when he blasted the resulting penalty sky high.
WELLINGTON PHOENIX 1 (Kenny Cunningham 45m) drew CENTRAL COAST MARINERS 1 (Matt Simon 17m) at Westpac Stadium. Referee: Matthew Gillett.