No goals in Wellington

The Phoenix are becoming the masters of the draw, earning their fourth in as many weeks with a 0-0 stalemate against Central Coast at a blustery Westpac Stadium in Wellington on Sunday afternoon.

The Phoenix are becoming the masters of the draw, earning their fourth in as many weeks with a 0-0 stalemate against Central Coast at a blustery Westpac Stadium in Wellington on Sunday afternoon.

In their 50th Hyundai A-League match the Phoenix were again guilty of poor finishing, although the Mariners fared little better at the other end.

The only time the ball found the back of the net was in the 10th minute when Nicky Travis slotted it past Mark Paston but it was ruled out with Matthew Simon adjudged to be offside.

The ensuing 80 minutes produced several chances for both sides with Paul Ifill, who was passed fit after pulling up with a hamstring strain in last weekend's agonising 1-1 draw to the Fury, again industrious as were Travis and Dylan Macallister for the Mariners.

Phoenix handed former Mariner Adrian Caceres his starting debut in place of Daniel who has returned to Brazil following the birth of baby daughter, Luisa, but he had little impact on the game and was eventually replaced by youngster Costa Barbarouses with just over half-an-hour to go.

After the early disallowed goal the Mariners had another decent chance in the 17th minute when Travis won a free-kick after being brought down by Vince Lia.

But the midfielder's effort from a dangerous position on the left outside the box was comfortably dealt with by Phoenix goalkeeper Paston.

Chances were few and far between after that until Ifill beat Dean Heffernan in the corner and curled in a lovely cross from the right.

Nigel Boogaard was on hand to clear it and almost immediately he was racing down the other end of the field to get on the end of a long through ball just on the edge of the area that Paston was forced to race out of his box to clear with the defender bearing down.

Ifill then saw a fierce shot parried away by Danny Vukovic before Bertos blasted another one wide.

Then with about 10 minutes of the first half to go, Ifill wasted a golden opportunity when he was one on one with the keeper, opting to square the ball in the box instead of taking a shot.

At the other end Macallister had a header go wide then Phoenix striker Chris Greenacre skewed a gilt-edged chance wide to keep the teams locked 0-0 after an even first half.

The Mariners had the better of the early play after the break but Travis blasted his shot over then a weak header from skipper Alex Wilkinson was easily claimed by Paston.

A poor pass by Caceres put the Phoenix under pressure again but Andrew Durante, who was booked in the first half along with Manny Muscat, shut down Macallister who was unable to get a shot in.

It proved to Caceres' last action in the match as he was replaced shortly afterwards by Barbarouses.

The 19-year-old was immediately called into play linking well with Bertos and Greenacre, who then disappointingly headed wide.

Ifill then made way for Marco Rojas, while former Phoenix man Adam Kwasnik was brought on for the Mariners.

At the other end the Phoenix were living dangerously and Paston was lucky the deflection off Michael McGlinchey's thunderbolt sent the ball past the post rather than into the back of his net.

Macallister was then booked for diving when Paston was forced to make a low save on the on-rushing striker and the Phoenix keeper was called into action again getting an arm to another Boogaard effort in a crowded box.

Having weathered the storm the Phoenix pressed hard at the other end but it was all to no avail.

Mariners skipper Alex Wilkinson conceded the draw had probably been a fair result.

"It wasn't a pretty game. It probably wouldn't have been too good to watch at home. The conditions were pretty tough and it made the ball hard to get down and play a lot of the times," he said after the match.

"The times we did it we looked okay but we just didn't do it enough. All in all a nil-all draw is probably a fair result I think."

Phoenix coach Ricki Herbert was satisfied with his team's effort.

"I think we've done okay again. The Mariners that's six games we've played them now and they haven't scored," he said.

"They are a tough side to score against but we just can't seem to find that elusive goal."

Wellington Phoenix 0 Central Coast Mariners 0