April 13, 2015 11:32:39 UK
Wellington Phoenix squandered the chance to reclaim top spot in the A-League as Nathan Burns missed a penalty in their 0-0 draw away to Melbourne City.
The top five teams are now separated by just one point with two games left, though leaders Melbourne Victory have a game in hand over their rivals.
The Phoenix rued a first-half miss from the spot by their top scorer Burns, who had the chance to close within two of Golden Boot leader Marc Janko of Sydney FC.
Louis Fenton was brought down in the area by Safuwan Baharudin in the 16th minute, but Burns’ penalty was a tame effort straight down the middle and easily saved by Tando Velaphi.
Both goalkeepers had excellent games as the 90 minutes produced 32 shots and was up for grabs as late as the final seconds when City midfielder Erik Paartalu headed against the bar.
The home side made the better start but Wellington, strengthened in midfield by the return of Albert Riera, also created several good chances in the first half.
Phoenix keeper Glen Moss made 10 saves, denying Josh Kennedy and Jonatan Germano with outstanding stops as Ernie Merrick’s side preserved a welcome clean sheet following back-to-back 3-0 home defeats.
The Phoenix are 1.65 to win their next game against Central Coast Mariners, who are 5.00 with the draw 3.90.
Moss said Wellington had been aware it would be a tough test at AAMI Park against a City side also heading for the Finals Series.
“We just wanted to play the way we have been playing all season, that is the reason we have got this far,” added Moss, who finished the game with a corked thigh.
“It was pretty up and down. We started a bit cagey, a bit nervous perhaps; when we hit our straps, we looked good.
“The last couple of weeks have been horrible so it is a good way to bounce back. It is a tough place to come.”
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