No losers in Wellington draw

Wellington Phoenix coach Ricki Herbert was bullish about his side's hard-earned draw against the Central Coast Mariners in Sunday night's Hyundai A-League clash at Westpac Stadium.

Wellington Phoenix coach Ricki Herbert was bullish about his side's hard-earned draw against the Central Coast Mariners in Sunday night's Hyundai A-League clash at Westpac Stadium.

Having come under criticism for their defeat in Adelaide in Round 3, Herbert's side was under pressure to get its season on track and to replicate the form that saw it progress to the Pre-Season Cup grand final.

"Today was real heart on the sleeve stuff, about getting back to basics again and being competitive ... it's given us a platform to start from," Herbert said.

The Phoenix defence in particular had come under fire as the side came into the match having conceded seven goals in their last two outings in the competition. Herbert indicated that keeping a clean sheet was an area of focus for his side in the match.

"Obviously, we've come into the match after conceding seven goals in two games, but we've got decent players at the back and tonight we were a lot hungrier right across the park."

Phoenix skipper Andrew Durante agreed with Herbert's assessment, and was particularly pleased with the commitment and dedication that his side showed under pressure.

"A couple of weeks ago we didn't show any heart or ticker, whereas tonight there was loads of it all across the park," he said.

"We wanted to show that we have some commitment and discipline, and show that we're proud to wear the Phoenix shirt. I think we showed that tonight."

Mariners coach Lawrie McKinna was also pleased with a point away from home, although he felt that his side had the better of the opportunities to grab all three.

"I thought we dominated long periods of the match and looked composed all over the park," he said.

"I'm happy with a point, but a little disappointed that we didn't get three. It's a good result to come over here and also to keep our first clean sheet of the season. Overall, I'm satisfied with the result."

Central Coast midfielder John Hutchinson, who had several close penalty appeals denied, shared his coach's sentiments.

"As the gaffer said, I thought we dominated long periods of the match but were just unable to take our chances. Hopefully it's something we'll get right in future, but to come here and get a point is still a good result" he said.

The Mariners face a stern test against the high-flying Melbourne Victory next week, while the Phoenix head to Perth to face the Glory in what is a must-win fixture for both sides.