Draw disheartens Herbert

While most would be content with taking a point on the road to defending Hyundai A-League champion Melbourne, Wellington Phoenix coach Ricki Herbert was anything but in the wake of Sunday's 1-1 draw.

While most would be content with taking a point on the road to defending Hyundai A-League champion Melbourne, Wellington Phoenix coach Ricki Herbert was anything but in the wake of Sunday's 1-1 draw.

The Phoenix fell behind in the fourth minute to a free kick from Victory midfielder Carlos Hernandez but rallied back through a clinical strike by Tim Brown in the 30th minute.

The visitors had chances to put Melbourne away and fly back across the Tasman with all three competition points in the bag but lacked the finishing skills to do so.

That meant Wellington had to settle for its second 1-1 draw in consecutive weeks, the previous effort coming at home to Adelaide in another match where Herbert was also left to rue a win that got away.

"Really it was a continuation of what we showed against Adelaide the previous week, Herbert said." We had Melbourne under pressure but we lacked the clinical finish at critical times."

"Getting a point isn't a bad result for us by any means, but we came here with the intent of getting the win and that's what we worked toward."

"In our past two seasons we probably might have come here with the mindset of getting a point, to locks things down and minimise the risk, but I thought we were very good value for the win this time."

Ironically, a major thorn in Wellington's side was Victory goalkeeper Glen Moss, the All Whites custodian who left the Phoenix at the end of the 2008/09 A-League season.

Moss did not turn out for New Zealand in its 3-1 away win over Jordan in midweek but five of the Phoenix players - along with coach Herbert - were rushed back under the effects of their arduous international travel.

None were better than Brown, the All Whites vice captain, who took his goal in expert fashion and put in a superb 90 minutes of effort.

"There were a few tired players put there but they all contributed extremely well," Herbert said.

"(Assistant coaches) Luciano Trani and Jonathan Gould had the balance of the squad in top-notch shape for the match and, although it's never easy in those sorts of circumstances, I was impressed by how things came together, as per our game plan.

"Tim Brown and Vince Lia are forming an excellent combination in midfield, Daniel's back to top form and fitness and Paul Ifill continues to show he's going to torment defenders in this competition.

"We're tracking very well but we do need to work on being more clinical with the chances we're creating."

The Phoenix now turn their attention to Sunday's home encounter with one of the competition newcomers, the North Queensland Fury, who notched their historic first victory against Sydney FC on the weekend.

"What a game it's going to be," Herbert said. "The Fury turned in a great performance against Sydney and we'll need to be at our best at Westpac (Stadium) on Sunday.

"It goes to show the closeness of competitiveness of this league - it's close from top to bottom and already things are tight.

"I said it before the season kicked off, the leading group won't be sorted till well past half way and I'm confident we'll be in that leading group."