1 Jan 2018

Phoenix continue miserable run

6:43 am on 1 January 2018

The Wellington Phoenix's grim 2017-18 A-League season has continued following a goalless draw against the Central Coast Mariners.

Goran Paracki.

Goran Paracki. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Neither side really looked like scoring in a dour, somewhat sloppy New Year's Eve contest that leaves the Phoenix dead last and likely wishing the newly returned Nathan Burns had been available a few days earlier.

Despite their more defensive set-up and significantly less possession, the Phoenix fashioned far more opportunities in the first half, going into the break with 11 shots to two.

The Mariners had Ben Kennedy to thank for preserving their clean sheet, the man- of-the-match shot-stopper denying Roy Krishna and Matt Ridenton, among others.

The strongest chance came on the half-hour mark when Krishna squared up for Andrija Kaluderovic.

The top-scoring Serb considered attempting to curl it in on an angle but decided to flick the ball to Ridenton, who missed a sitter from point-blank range.

Up the other end, Lewis Italiano was confident when Connor Pain rounded on goal and sharp off his line to punch clear an Andrew Hoole corner, while Andrew Durante got a boot between Asdrubal and the ball at the near post.

The Mariners were guilty of moving the ball too slowly but picked up the pace in a more open second half.

As soon as Storm Roux was brought on they found their opening down the left flank, the Kiwi taking a shot from outside the box that veered wide.

Kwabena Appiah's introduction further helped matters as the fleet-footed forward went on two solo runs that fizzled at the final frontier.

But Goran Paracki did well to keep De Silva quiet and neither side could muster the killer blow.