Phoenix draw at home

The Wellington Phoenix has stretched its unbeaten home run to eight Hyundai A-League matches with a 1-1 draw against Adelaide United at Westpac Stadium.

The Wellington Phoenix has stretched its unbeaten home run to eight Hyundai A-League matches with a 1-1 draw against Adelaide United at Westpac Stadium.

Having taken the lead with a well-struck goal from English import Paul Ifill 10 minutes before half-time the Phoenix allowed the visitors straight back in the match when Iain Fyfe was allowed to convert a corner from Paul Reid from close range.

The visitors endured a few nervous moments towards the end and Ifill was denied a second goal when Chris Greenacre was called for offside, then Tim Brown saw another attempt deflected out.

Both teams were fielding changed starting line-ups with Adelaide-s defender Robert Cornthwaite suspended and Cristiano promoted from the bench to join Lloyd Owusu up front.

For Wellington, who welcomed back Mark Paston in goal following the birth of his son Jack, the inclusion of Vince Lia, Daniel and Brown in midfield provided the punch that was missing in last weekend-s lacklustre effort against Sydney.

It was a lively start with both sides having good scoring opportunities inside the opening three minutes.

Firstly Wellington saw a chance go begging when Brown headed wide a great cross in from the left from Daniel.

Then Adam Hughes headed over at the other end for Adelaide from a Scott Jamison free-kick.

Brown and Daniel, in his first start this season, were in the thick of things with the Brazilian midfielder in particular showing some deft touches and accuracy in getting the ball into the box.

Brown went close again in the 13th minute after Ifill brought the ball down on the edge of the box, turned and shot only to see the ball rebound off Greenacre into Brown-s path but the midfielder then scuffed his shot wide.

Phoenix coach Ricki Herbert had called for more attacking intent from his side during the week and his players responded and although shots were fired wide or blasted over it seemed to be only a matter of time before the pressure told.

The breakthrough for the home side finally came in the 35th minute when Ifill rifled one into the top left hand corner after a cross in from Leo Bertos missed Greenacre and the United defence and Ifill unleashed with his left foot from the left of the box.

Wellington-s lead was short-lived though as the defence, with Ben Sigmund switched to right back in the absence of Manny Muscat (on international duties with Malta) and Jon McKain in the centre with skipper Andrew Durante, finally cracked.

Having won a free-kick for a Sigmund foul on Scott Jamieson, which earned the defender a yellow card, United saw the ball come back off the post and the Phoenix scrambled it clear.

From the resulting corner though, Fyfe got on the end of Reid-s ball into the box to convert from close range to leave the scored locked 1-1 at the break.

Cristiano should have made it 2-1 to the visitors almost immediately on the resumption but was again denied by the woodwork.

The second half failed to really hit the heights with poor passing from both teams making for a scrappy spectacle.

It wasn-t until the final 10 minutes, as the Phoenix pressed hard for the winner, that the 7,578 fans began to find their voices again.

With just a couple of minutes to go Ifill thought he had slotted the winner past Eugene Galekovic before realising Greenacre had been called for offside.

Herbert was delighted with his team-s performance but disappointed only to have got a point for their efforts.

"We asked for a big performance tonight and we gave it. We should have won it.

"It-s absolutely two points lost but at the end of the day I kind of feel other factors cost us the game. In my opinion (the disallowed goal) has cost us the game."

Opposite number Aurelio Vidmar on the other hand, felt his side had deserved to come away with something.

"Yeah we are happy with the point. I think it was a real positive performance tonight, especially in that second half."

"We dominated the majority of that second half except for maybe the last five minutes or so when they started to get a bit of momentum."

"All in all I think there are some positive signs moving forward."

Wellington Phoenix 1 Paul Ifill 34' Adelaide United 1 Iain Fyfe 41'