Official FFA Preview: Perth Glory v Wellington Phoenix
Phoenix are embarking on one of the longest road trips in domestic football
Perth Glory v Wellington Phoenix Sunday 7th November 4.00pm
Phoenix are embarking on one of the longest road trips in domestic football, and Glory will be going all out to make sure it-s a fruitless journey.
Perth Glory go into this match hoping that history will repeat itself. Back in Week 5, Wellington were sent packing from nib Stadium by a Glory side that had yet to taste defeat in the Hyundai A-League 2010/11 season.
The 2-1 win for Perth - in which Robbie Fowler scored his first goal at nib Stadium - pushed them back to the top of the ladder. That all seems a long time ago now, and no-one would have predicted the decline that Glory would suffer after this game.
The very next week, loss at home to Gold Coast United was seen as something of a shock, a one-off. Yet defeat followed defeat, the goals dried up, managers changed and morale plummeted to the point that, at Sydney Football Stadium last weekend, the team capitulated against Central Coast Mariners.
The 5-0 defeat was the club-s biggest ever Hyundai A-League loss and was most certainly not the reaction that Ian Ferguson would have wanted following a similarly big defeat at home to a Sydney side that hadn‘t won all season. Still, as the team trudged off the pitch at Sydney Football Stadium, they did so in the knowledge that things could only get better from that point onwards.
Now, the Wellington Phoenix match represents the second of three home games in 11 hectic days, meaning that The Shed have their chance to influence proceedings and help Perth claw their way back up the table.
With Perth being desperate for points, a home game with Wellington Phoenix might be just the ticket. Ricki Herbert-s side may be unstoppable at their own stadium but, away from home, they just can-t buy a win.
The New Zealanders haven-t triumphed on the road this season and their last three games away from Westpac have seen them concede eight goals. All of them ended in defeat. This recent poor run makes up part of a bigger picture too, as their away losing record is historically the worst of all current Hyundai A-League teams.
With 26 losses from 42 away matches (a 61.9 percent loss rate), Wellington Phoenix currently lie only behind former club New Zealand Knights, who lost 76.2 percent of their away games. With that kind of record, Phoenix certainly won-t be relishing one of the longest road trips in world football.
Herbert-s options are set to be boosted by the short-term arrival of New Zealand World Cup star Simon Elliott, after the 36-year-old signed a temporary deal.
Having been without a club since leaving his Major League Soccer team, San Jose, in March, the veteran will be raring to go, and should have no trouble fitting in, as there will be plenty of familiar faces in the dressing room.
Tim Brown, Ben Sigmund, Leo Bertos, Tony Lochhead and Mark Paston were all part of the New Zealand squad with Elliott in South Africa, while, of course, Phoenix boss Ricki Herbert took charge of the All Whites- unbeaten World Cup adventure.
On Sunday, Herbert will be looking for Phoenix to display the same kind of spirit that his All Whites side showed in South Africa if they are to pick up their first away win of the season, so, with Glory scrapping like crazy too, this is sure to be the kind of blood-and-thunder battle that could go either way. Shed, it-s time to crank up the volume once more!