17 Dec 2017

Phoenix lose game and players

8:14 am on 17 December 2017

Wellington Phoenix remain rooted to the bottom of the A-League ladder following a 1-nil loss to the Glory in Perth.

Goran Paracki.

Goran Paracki. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The win lifts the Glory to fifth, having started the match in ninth spot.

Diego Castro's second-half strike was enough to secure the three points for Glory after a lacklustre first half in which both teams struggled to gain the upper hand.

Starting for the first time in five weeks, Castro was lively in the second half and turned the match in Glory's favour with his trademark touch and poise on the ball.

Sixteen-year- old Glory midfielder Jacob Italiano was again impressive in just his fifth A-League match.

Castro gave Glory the lead in the 59th minute after Mitch Nichols found the Spaniard alone in the middle of the penalty area and the home side never appeared threatened from that moment on.

Only minutes earlier Wellington winger Matthew Ridenton had hit the left goal post from outside the box.

Adam Parkhouse also went close to putting the Phoenix ahead in the fifth minute, but his penetrating shot from the right went agonisingly wide of the far goal post.

Wellington suffered an early blow when captain Dario Vidosic was forced off after just 14 minutes with a right knee injury following a heavy collision with Glory defender Shane Lowry.

Lowry proved to be the thorn in Wellington's side during the opening half, first with a full- stretched lunge to deny Ridenton from close range and then again moments later to thwart a dangerous run from Andrija Kaluderovic.

Glory's best chance of first half came in the 39th minute when Joe Knowles fired in a low cross from the right, but neither Castro or Italiano were able to finish it off and edge the home side in front.

Nichols appeared to have been brought down in the penalty box by Phoenix goalkeeper Lewis Italiano shortly after Castro's winner, but referee Jarred Gillett correctly ruled the shotstopper's initial contact was with the ball.

Glory coach Kenny Lowe said his team had worked hard for the win and deserved the three points.

"I thought we controlled the game, I don't know whether (goalkeeper) Liam Reddy made a save," he said.

"We had a few things flash across the face, but we got around the back a few times as well with real good quality. It was a good performance, defensively sound and a clean sheet."

Phoenix coach Darije Kalezic said the loss of Vidosic hurt his team's structure but he only had praise for his battle-weary players.

"With losing Dario, we lose too much but I have to say that the players who play in that moment played solid and in the first half we didn't give away any chance," he said.

"The guys which play after the injury of Dario did all the best to play a good game and I can only give them compliments."