Relief for Herbert

Wellington Phoenix coach Ricki Herbert was just happy his side had avoided a potential banana skin after overcoming Gold Coast United 2-0.

Wellington Phoenix coach Ricki Herbert was just happy his side had avoided a potential banana skin after overcoming Gold Coast United 2-0.

The fixture had been in doubt until late Friday night after Football Federation Australia revoked Gold Coast owner Clive Palmer's A-League licence.

And that, coupled with the turmoil that decision created for the Gold Coast players, made it a tough match to prepare for.

"I'm just really pleased with the guys today. This game had everything written across it to maybe trip the season up but it didn't," said Herbert.

"It could have been anything for us, but it was very comfortable in the end."

Wellington dominated for much of the game but outstanding goalkeeping by United's Jerrad Tyson and wastefulness in front of goal meant all the Phoenix had to show for their efforts was a 29th-minute Andrew Durante goal until Nick Ward fired home a second in stoppage time.

"We spoke at half-time about not getting frustrated," said Durante after Paul Ifill, Dani Sanchez, Tim Brown and Leo Bertos had all squandered good opportunities.

"It was happening in the first half we had all these chances and we weren't putting them away. We just said to take it easy, be patient and the goals will come.

"The second half was a bit the same. The chances were there but we weren't clinical enough."

Durante was impressed by the way the Gold Coast players approached the game, given the uncertainty surrounding their futures.

"The game could have gone either way. They could have come here and thrown the towel in and it could have been an easy game or they could have come out firing.

"Credit to them I thought they were good. They are a young team. They tried to play some good football but the experience and stability of our team shone through in the end."

The win lifts the Phoenix back up to third on the ladder, three points behind second-placed Brisbane Roar and two points above Perth Glory.

They have back-to-back away matches against the two Melbourne sides coming up before rounding out the regular season at home to Central Coast Mariners.

"It's in our hands. I just think it's great. We're third on the ladder with three games to go," said an upbeat Herbert.

"It's a massive effort by these guys to get us there. It's a tough run in. A lot of teams have a tough run in. But we've probably given ourselves a little bit of a buffer."

"We go to Melbourne. We've won four out of our last five away games. We've come off a good result today."

"We'll go there very confident and put our best foot forward again. I don't see any reason why we can't get some points on the road against both Melbourne sides."