15 Feb 2017

Video ref controversey in Phoenix win

5:27 am on 15 February 2017

There was controversey as video referees made their first appearance in a game involving an A-League football team as the Wellington Phoenix beat Beijing 1-nil in a friendly at Westpac Stadium.

Wellington Phoenix striker Kosta Barbarouses.

Wellington Phoenix striker Kosta Barbarouses. Photo: Photosport

Despite positive attacking play from both sides, it was a pivotal moment in the 55th minute that proved decisive to the result, as referee Alan Milliner, after consultation with the video technology awarded the home side a penalty.

Following an attacking corner for Wellington, referee Milliner called for assistance, and after consulting the sideline video adjudged a penalty against Beijing for a foul on Dylan Fox as the cross came in.

Kosta Barbarouses made no mistake from the spot.

Post-game Wellington Head Coach Des Buckingham expressed his satisfaction that the Sister City Cup had doubled as more effective preparation for the crucial upcoming A-League clash against Melbourne City.

"It was a good runout, it was much better than a training session that we would have put on yesterday or today - there's nothing better than playing for the players," said Buckingham, "and it's acted as good preparation for us for Melbourne."

"We were disappointed last week in the amount of possession we were able to keep, and be effective with; we kept a lot of possession tonight, and in good areas.

"It gave us a chance to look at two players upfront, in Hamish [Watson] and Shane [Smeltz] and I thought when we played through the middle, when we played them we looked quite dangerous."

Buckingham also praised younger players Sarpreet Singh, Logan Rogerson and James McGarry who enjoyed rare first team appearances, but singled out a young Academy player for his contribution.

"The real pleasing thing for us was to bring Calvin Harris on, he's a sixteen-year-old Academy player … he's a fantastic prospect and he's deserved his opportunity to be out there this evening."

On the VAR decision Buckingham was circumspect having not had an opportunity to view the vision post-game.

"We'll have a look at it, and as I said yesterday, if they've made the right decision - then that's what it's all about.

"I think if that's going to be the case in the league when they introduce it you're going to see a lot less shirt-pulling and a lot more goals from set plays as a result."