Team work pays off for Phoenix

Wellington Phoenix striker Chris Greenacre credited a collective team effort for Sunday's dramatic victory against Perth Glory.

Wellington Phoenix striker Chris Greenacre credited a collective team effort for Sunday's dramatic victory against Perth Glory.

The 4-2 win on penalties earned the Phoenix another home tie in the Hyundai A-League finals series, this time against Newcastle Jets early next month.

Nothing separated Wellington and Perth after 120 minutes of football with Scott Neville's second half header cancelling out Greenacre's 37th minute opener.

While Perth probably had the better of the chances in the often physical encounter it was unable to strike the killer blow even when Wellington defender Jon McKain was sent off for a second bookable offence during the first period of extra time.

That was thanks largely to some excellent goalkeeping from Liam Reddy, who also denied the stand-out Neville on three other occasions.

Then during the penalty shoot-out the Australian made two crucial saves to deny Naum Sekulovski and Scott Bulloch while Paul Ifill, Andrew Durante, Tim Brown and Adrian Caceres all converted.

"It was about a battle today and I think it was a battle throughout the pitch - not just for myself," said Greenacre, who took a nasty blow when he and Tando Velaphi collided in the box leaping for the ball.

"It was always going to be like that. Perth are a tough team to play."

"The lads have been magnificent from back to front. We've showed spirit and a determination to win football matches and that's what it took."

"Fair play to the lads that stepped up [and took the penalties] and Liam Reddy was magnificent. He's been magnificent since he arrived."

The 32-year-old Englishman admitted there had been both relief and elation when Caceres rammed the ball home from the spot to spark scenes of jubilation on the pitch and among the record 24,278-strong crowd.

"The relief when that final save was made or when the penalty has gone in. Then it's just a burst of energy," he said.

He added: "We've worked hard to get that and then going down to 10 men made it a little bit more difficult and probably spiced it up a little bit more."

"But both teams had bits of periods where they were strong but thankfully we've held out in the end and got the result we wanted."

Glory captain Jacob Burns admitted it was a tough way to bow out.

"You'd probably want to lose in normal time really," he said.

"But I'm extremely proud of the boys. I thought we did ever so well. I thought we did enough but you've got to take your hat off to Wellington."

"They've had a very good season and a fantastic crowd out here today. It just wasn't our day. It's a horrible way to go out."

Burns didn't believe nerves had played a part in the penalty misses.

"They are not easy to take," he said. "The boys that stepped up took good penalties."

"It seems like a simple kind of kick but the goal gets smaller and smaller and you get up there … to go out like that you can't really do much about it."

"We've had everyone writing us off and we showed that in 120 minutes that we're a good side."

"We played them off the pitch but if you don't put the ball in the back of the net it normally comes back to bite you and today it did."