Wellington Phoenix striker Shane Smeltz was disappointed his side couldn’t hold on to take three points against Adelaide United, forced to settle for a draw in sweltering conditions on Sunday.
Despite going behind early at Coopers Stadium, Phoenix led 2-1 at the break thanks to a Tom Doyle stunner and another clinical finish from Roy Krishna.
But with the mercury touching 40 degrees for much of the contest, the visitors tired after the break, with Nikola Mileusnic’s goal 10 minutes from the end meaning the spoils were shared.
“It was certainly a tough day in the heat here,” Smeltz told Fox Sports.
“We came here for three points and we’re a little bit disappointed not to take all three but in saying that I think the second half we were hanging on a little bit.
“A few boys were dead on their feet and Adelaide had some good opportunities in the second half. All in all, we’ll take that point but probably not what we came for.”
The scorching heat meant there were two drinks breaks required in each half.
And Smeltz believes the players deserve a lot of credit for pushing themselves as hard as they did and putting on such an entertaining clash despite the furnace-like conditions.
“It was really tough. In the [Hyundai] A-League you probably get one of those a season and hopefully that was it and we don’t have those conditions again.
“You get the dry mouth and that was just in the warm-up. It’s telling on the body, there was a number of our boys with cramp in the last 15 minutes but credit to them, they showed good effort and we sat in there and made it hard for them.
“But if we had the legs like the first half when we showed we could cause them problems, we just couldn’t do that towards the end.”
The draw means Wellington missed the chance to move into the top six, sitting in seventh spot just one point behind Newcastle Jets.
Phoenix takes on eighth-placed Western Sydney Wanderers next weekend, with their home match to be played at Yarrow Stadium in New Plymouth.