Rain doesn't deter Phoenix, GCU

Wellington Phoenix skipper Andrew Durante revealed after his side's 3-3 draw with Gold Coast United that both teams turned down the chance to have the Hyundai A-League match called off at half-time because of the water-logged pitch.

Wellington Phoenix skipper Andrew Durante revealed after his side's 3-3 draw with Gold Coast United that both teams turned down the chance to have the Hyundai A-League match called off at half-time because of the water-logged pitch.

Conditions were so difficult at Westpac Stadium, particularly in one half, that players had trouble staying on their feet and the ball often stopped dead in pools of water that gathered on the playing surface.

Referee Peter O'Leary approached captains Durante and Jason Culina at the end of the break, with the Phoenix 2-1 up, to see if they wanted to continue.

"It was up to both of us. Jason said he wanted to see how it went when we came back out and obviously we were keen to play because we were 2-1 up. We wanted to continue," Durante said.

"The pitch was pretty poor though. It was hard to run on. For our first game (of the season) it was not ideal. We were hoping for a nice pitch but heavy legs kicked in and you saw what happened, they came back and equalised."

Phoenix coach Ricki Herbert even went so far as to suggest the match should have been postponed but Gold Coast goalkeeper - and former Wellington shot-stopper - Glen Moss disagreed.

"I've played in probably worse conditions over here before so I don't feel the match should have been postponed," he said. "It was probably the right decision (to go ahead).

"The referee handled the game well. No one seemed to get too hurt. But it was definitely tough for goalkeepers."

"Usually I'd be pretty disappointed to concede three goals but in conditions like that I don't think it was ever going to be nil-all."

"I think Wellington probably adapted to the conditions a little better in the first half and if anything we copied them a little bit in the second and played smarter and (Shane) Smeltz banged a couple in."

Paul Ifill got the scoring underway in the sixth minute when he rifled home a left-footed shot.

Smeltz headed home an equaliser on 36 minutes but Wellington responded immediately through Chris Greenacre who slotted in from a goal-mouth scramble.

The English striker's second came 10 minutes after half-time but with 15 minutes to go Smeltz had an easy tap-in then Culina grabbed his side a point with a well-taken header three minutes from time.

"If you put three in the back of the net away at the Phoenix I think you're going to get something from it," said Herbert. "We've got to give them some credit for doing that. They never stopped coming which is good for them. Normally they roll over and they didn't tonight."

Gold Coast coach Miron Bleiberg joked he had joined Italy's coach Marcello Lippi in taking a point off Herbert, who led the New Zealand side to an unbeaten campaign at the World Cup in South Africa.

"It's my honour to take a point from Ricki Herbert. Marcello Lippi did it and a few other people so I'm in good company."

"Overall full credit to the Phoenix they were clinical finishing. I thought we had more chances and we were at least as good if not better," he added.

"Considering we're not used to conditions like this I think our boys did extremely well."

"I think both teams will not have any problem reaching the finals. It's good for us and good for the Phoenix."