Goals from Phoenix players Louis Fenton and Alex Rufer have seen New Zealand A down Wellington 2-1 in a pre-season hit out at Yarrow Stadium on Sunday.
Phoenix teenage goalkeeper Oliver Sail, called in to the New Zealand side at the last minute when Glen Moss had to return to Wellington, had an outstanding game while the Phoenix created a double figure amount of chances, including putting the ball wide three times when one-on-one with the keeper.
To complete Ernie Merrick’s frustrating afternoon Louis Fenton injured his right shoulder after tangling with a defender.
In a strange twist of fate it was against New Zealand A two years ago in Rotorua that Fenton first dislocated his shoulder and missed a whole season.
Roy Krishna, who wasted some good chances, got the Phoenix’ consolation late in the game.
Merrick has his fingers crossed that Fenton’s injury isn’t serious but has resigned himself to losing the livewire midfielder for at least a couple of weeks.
“If it is serious he could be out for five or six months, but if it isn’t serious and is only a slight sub laxation with minimum internal damage he could be back in a couple of weeks,” the coach said.
“We are going to Sydney for a week in mid-September so hopefully he will be right for that but we won’t know until we see the scans.
“Apart from that it was a good hit out and credit to the New Zealand A team for taking their chances but it highlights the need for us to sign a striker.
“We must have had three one-on-ones with the keeper and about 14 scoring chances and that isn’t to put down the opposition.
“They defended really well and in Oliver Sail and Louis Fenton they probably had the best two players on the field
“I thought our boys did well in the build-up play and we created good scoring chances but didn’t put them away and that highlights the need to get a proven striker.”