Phoenix deny Glory

Wellington Phoenix will host Newcastle Jets at Westpac Stadium in two weeks time after overcoming Perth Glory 4-2 on penalties in a tense Hyundai A-League minor semi-final.

Wellington Phoenix will host Newcastle Jets at Westpac Stadium in two weeks time after overcoming Perth Glory 4-2 on penalties in a tense Hyundai A-League minor semi-final.

With the two teams locked 1-1 after 120 minutes of football it came down spot kicks and goalkeeper Liam Reddy - who kept his side in the match throughout with some smart saves - saved attempts by Naum Sekulovski and Scott Bulloch to ensure his team another week of finals football in its first foray into the A-League post-season.

Paul Ifill, Andrew Durante, Tim Brown and Adrian Caceres all converted.

Not even the sending off of defender Jon McKain in extra time for a second bookable offence could dampen the delight for the home side after a gritty display against a Perth team bolstered by the return to the starting line-up of skipper Jacob Burns and Chris Coyne and Mile Sterjovski to the bench.

It was no surprise the match, which began with a moment's silence in memory of former Socceroo Ian Gray, went to extra time and penalties given how tight the two previous encounters between the teams at Westpac Stadium had been this season.

The teams largely battled it out in midfield for the opening 30 minutes with neither side able to get the crucial breakthrough and it was the bone-crunching tackles that initially drew the biggest reaction from the vocal record Wellington crowd of 24,278.

The physical nature of the contest did not dissipate the whole match and referee Strebre Delovski dished out a total of seven yellow cards and one red - four to Perth and three to Wellington - over the 120 minutes.

It wasn't until the 12th minute that the first real shot on target came. Leo Bertos' free-kick came back off the wall and Troy Hearfield eventually played a ball in to Chris Greenacre which Andy Todd could clear it only as far as Paul Ifill who ran hard into the box but his shot was easily saved by Tando Velaphi.

Play quickly switched to the other end as Todd Howarth dispossessed Hearfield - appearing to catch him in the face in the process - and broke clear into the box but McKain did enough to put the Glory midfielder off his stride and the danger was cleared.

Bertos then had a crack himself after stepping around Burns but his long range shot flew well wide across the face of goal.

Perth then enjoyed their best spell of the first half. Firstly Jamie Coyne robbed Ifill and broke clear. His pass found Daniel McBreen who set up Scott Neville but his weak shot was easily saved by Liam Reddy.

A lack of concentration by the Phoenix defence allowed Neville another clear chance a minute later but again Reddy was up to the task - getting his foot to the goal-bound strike to turn it away.

Neville, who worked tirelessly down the right flank, then turned provider for Wayne Srhoj but his strike ricocheted off McKain.

A nasty collision between Chris Greenacre and Velaphi held up play for a couple of minutes shortly before the half-hour mark after both took heavy knocks leaping for a ball in the box.

The rash challenges continued from both sides and McKain was shown the first of his yellow cards.

From the resulting free-kick the ball found its way to Neville who beat Tony Lochhead and fired a cross in from the right only for Chris Coyne to head it wide.

Then on 37 minutes the deadlock was broken. A neat back heel from Ifill found Manny Muscat whose cross beat the defence and Greenacre, showing no ill-effects from his earlier knock, ghosted between Todd and Jamie Coyne to slide the ball home.

That sparked the home side and the Phoenix frontman could have had another two minutes later when a defensive mix-up allowed Bertos a clear run and shot. The ball rebounded off Naum Sekulovski to Greenacre but he blasted it over.

Ifill then forced a fingertip save from Velaphi after being given too much time and space by the Perth defence in which to turn and strike.

The home side began the second half as they finished the first - pouring forward on attack.

A 51st minute Bertos corner was cleared by Srhoj but only as far as Greenacre who sent it on to Lia and his stinging shot was tipped over by Velaphi.

The Phoenix defence were soon called into action at the other end though when firstly Srhoj found the back of the net - but the goal was disallowed for offside - then Hearfield had to clear a Jamie Coyne header off the line.

But Perth was not to be denied and fittingly it was the hard-working Neville who got the equaliser on 67 minutes when he connected with a well-struck free-kick by Burns to head past Reddy.

Both teams pressed hard for the winner as the clock wound down and extra time beckoned but to no avail.

The chances kept coming in the first period of extra time - the Phoenix's best shot when Muscat had a free cross in but it was a poor delivery that flew over the head of Dadi.

Then just before the turnaround Neville went one-on-one with Reddy who pulled off a solid save to deny the 21-year-old.

The build-up to the move saw McKain shown his second yellow card for another rash challenge and given his marching orders.

Reddy saved his team again when play resumed after a short break, this time getting a hand to Neville's goal-bound header and the match headed to penalties.

Wellington Phoenix 1 Greenacre 37' Perth Glory 1 Neville 67' Phoenix won 4-2 on penalties