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Perth snatch draw in six-goal Nix affair

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 4/03/2017 Angelo Risso

Wellington Phoenix have surrendered a two-goal second-half lead to draw 3-3 with Perth Glory in their A-League encounter in Auckland.

Leading 3-1 after an hour of play through goals from Gui Finkler, Roy Krishna and Kosta Barbarouses, the Nix suffered under a late barrage from the Glory.

Andy Keogh scored in the first half for Perth to make it 2-1 and Adam Taggart reduced the deficit to 3-2 midway through the second half.

Diego Castro produced a second-half masterclass after an anonymous early showing and struck the 81st-minute equaliser.

Handed a free kick on the right edge of the penalty box, last year's Johnny Warren medallist dipped a shot beautifully towards the far post, leaving Glen Moss stranded.

The draw lifted the Nix to seventh while the third-placed Glory could fall as low as fifth by the end of the weekend's A-League action.

Wellington, buoyed by last week's surprise victory over Brisbane, emerged in an assertive mood and immediately pressed the Glory high up the park.

Makeshift wingbacks Adam Parkhouse and Matthew Ridenton were bombing forward at will, while Krishna and Barbarouses roamed across the front third.

After combining down the left for an earlier wasted opportunity, the pair linked up again in the 10th minute to send their side ahead.

Collecting the ball in the middle of the park, Barbarouses strode forward beyond two defenders before passing on to Krishna, who played in Finkler to power home - with the aid of a deflection.

Down a goal and struggling to get talisman Castro into the game, Perth's cause was further hampered by the 25th minute departure of Joseph Mills with injury.

Marc Warren entered in his place but barely had a touch before the Nix deployed some old-fashioned route one football to double their lead.

Collecting a long ball in acres of space on the left, Shane Smeltz played a pass across the box to Krishna, who beat his man and unleashed a cracking right-foot shot that fizzed past Liam Reddy and into the net.

Perth enjoyed far less possession than the hosts in the opening half hour and had just one shot on target but pulled one back in the 34th minute.

Irish target man Keogh took advantage of some half-hearted Phoenix defending to react first to a long ball, before producing a composed left-footed finish past Glen Moss.

Witnessing a frenetic first half in the City of Sails, the crowd didn't have to wait long after the restart for another goal.

Again breaking down the middle, Barbarouses played the ball to Smeltz before bolting down the right to collect a Krishna pass and home a sweet left-foot strike off the inside of the left-hand post.

Yet the 47th minute effort proved a false dawn for the Nix.

Taggart and Rhys Williams both missed decent chances before Taggart scored in the 67th minute at the second time of asking, from point-blank range after his initial header was saved by Moss.

After playing a central role in much of the second half, it was only fitting that Castro levelled the scores with his goal-of-the-season contender.

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