Phoenix and Roar finish all square

A crowd of 10,516 watched a tense and even Hyundai A-League match between the Wellington Phoenix and Queensland Roar at Westpac stadium on Sunday evening, with the score finishing at 1-1.

A crowd of 10,516 watched a tense and even Hyundai A-League match between the Wellington Phoenix and Queensland Roar at Westpac stadium on Sunday evening, with the score finishing at 1-1.

Both sides looked cautious in what was a dour opening period. Neither side showed adventure, which resulted in a number of niggling fouls, preventing the match from flowing.

Unsurprisingly, the first action of note in the match came from a free kick following a foul on Queenland's Charlie Miller in the fourth minute. Sergio van Dijk stepped up for the visitors, but could only manage an effort that flew high and wide of the goal.

The first shot in anger from open play, came three minutes later. Both sides showed signs of nerves - especially the Phoenix - and Karl Dodd fell victim to these when he miscued a straightforward pass on the edge of his own goal area. The ball fell invitingly to the industrious Massimo Murdocca, who fired a low drive straight at Phoenix keeper Glenn Moss.

Queensland began to gather momentum, and some smart play gave them the next chance of the match.

A clever ball found Danny Tiatto free on the right wing after he had ghosted in behind Phoenix right back Emmanuel Muscat, with the former Socceroo hitting a teasing cross towards the near post. Roar striker Tim Smits made a sharp run and managed to connect with a strong header but was unable to get it on target, as his effort flew into the side netting.

Queensland threatened the goal again just minutes later, with Tiatto again involved. His 15th minute, stinging drive from 25 yards flew just wide of Glenn Moss' left-hand upright.

The home side's first attempt on goal came from a set piece on 23 minutes. Leo Bertos was fouled by the Roar's David Dodd, 22 yards out from goal. Daniel Cortes stepped up to take the free kick but was only able to blast it into the Queensland wall.

Queensland continued to boss the middle of the park, but it was the Phoenix who had the first real chance of the match, just before the break. A brilliant break from Shane Smeltz down the right wing opened up space, and his inviting cross found Kwasnik, six yards out from goal. His glancing effort was millimeters away from opening the scoring, cannoning back off the underside of the crossbar.

The second period started more brightly, and within the opening minute the Roar got on the scoresheet. Queensland's Scottish recruit Miller side-footed home from six yards after an enterprising run and cross from van Dijk was delivered from the byline.

This seemed to spur the home side into action, and they pushed forward with vigour. Their approach paid dividends on 53 minutes when Smeltz equalized for the Phoenix. A defence splitting ball from Daniel opened up the top of the 18 yard box, and Smeltz drifted in behind the defence to hit the killer blow into the bottom corner of Liam Reddy's net.

The Phoenix continued to assert pressure, in contrast to their first half showing. It was again Smeltz who threatened the goal again, with his powerful 64th minute drive flying inches wide of the upright from 30 yards out.

Just two minutes later Reddy was called upon to act as a makeshift sweeper as the home side continued their drive forward. A long pass over the top was hoofed clear by the Roar custodian from 35 yards out as the dangerous Smeltz closed in.

Queensland began to assert their dominance towards the end of the half, but were denied by two fantastic Moss saves in the last five minutes. Van Dijk was denied by Moss' outstretched arm after he connected with a good cross from Matthew McKay in the 86th minute, and substitute Michael Zullo had a one-on-one opportunity in stoppage time that Moss managed to block with his outstretched body.

The match finished 1-1 with honours shared, although Queensland will perhaps be justified in feeling a little hard done by to come away with just a point.

Wellington Phoenix 1 (Miller 47) Queensland Roar 1 (Smeltz 53)