Mariners, Phoenix share points in New Year's Eve arm-wrestle
Central Coast Mariners were made to earn their first point in four matches as an improved Wellington Phoenix secured a 0-0 away draw on New Year's Eve.
Ben Kennedy and Lewis Italiano both made important interventions to preserve the deadlock, while Matthew Ridenton was left to rue a first-half miss at Central Coast Stadium.
The hosts improved after half-time but were ultimately forced to settle for the end of a three-match losing run.
Wellington, meanwhile, remain four points adrift at the bottom, although they can take heart from a second clean sheet in four outings.
STORY OF THE GAME
- Connor Pain picked the wrong option in looking for a team-mate after being put through on goal for the first opportunity of the match.
- Italiano next did well to prevent Pain from rounding him when the winger was slipped in behind by Asdrubal.
- A determined Andrija Kaluderovic drew a smart low save from Kennedy as Wellington appeared a threat at the other end.
- Ridenton had the best two chances of an encouraging half for Phoenix, blasting the first over at close-range and then drawing a near-post save from an in-form Kennedy.
- Central Coast began to gain the ascendancy after half-time, Storm Roux trying his luck with a fizzing effort from distance.
- Italiano almost spilled a Pain shot into the path of Blake Powell, but the goalkeeper recovered the loose ball.
- Kwabena Appiah snaked his way through heavy traffic in Wellington's area, only for his cut-back to evade team-mates.