Ward free to play

Nick Ward is free to play for Wellington Phoenix against Perth on Sunday, having successfully challenged the red card he received against Newcastle on Sunday.

Nick Ward is free to play for Wellington Phoenix against Perth on Sunday, having successfully challenged the red card he received against Newcastle on Sunday.

Ward was given a straight red card for an incident in the 83rd minute of the match as the referee determined that he had fouled Ryan Griffiths and had prevented a clear scoring opportunity.

However, on appeal, the Hyundai A-League match review panel determined that Ward should not have been sent off as there were other defenders between the Jets player and the goal.

On Monday, the MRP, consisting of Simon Micallef (Chair), Alan Davidson and Alan Contini, convened to consider the following incident from Week 2 of the Hyundai A-League.

The MRP ruling stated: "The incident involving Nick Ward (Wellington Phoenix) in or around the 83rd minute of Wellington Phoenix- match against Newcastle Jets on Sunday night.

"The MRP has the authority to consider the incident as the player was issued with a direct red card by the referee for 'denying the opposing team player a clear goal scoring opportunity'.

"In reviewing the incident, the MRP considered an Obvious Error Application submitted by Wellington Phoenix.

"Determining the Obvious Error Application in accordance with the A-League Disciplinary Regulations, the MRP unanimously found that it should be upheld and that the decision of the referee was one that 'no referee in the possession of the facts, including all Broadcast Footage, could reasonably have made'.

"Accordingly, the Player will have the red card expunged from his record and will be available to play in Week 3 of the Hyundai A-League."

Ward, who had just arrived back from Greece before the start of the season to rejoin his club, is now free to play in Sunday's clash against the unbeaten Glory in Perth on Sunday.

Meanwhile, the Phoenix will be missing Tim Brown for next week's game after he was sent off in the 90th minute for a second bookable offence.

There is also a major doubt over Paul Ifill taking his place after he was replaced early in the game after suffering a groin injury.