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Phoenix bt Mariners 2-1 in A-League trial

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 24/09/2016
Kosta Barbarouses of the Phoenix © Getty Images Kosta Barbarouses of the Phoenix

Wellington have made it four straight A-League pre-season victories, with Roy Krishna's second-half strike securing a 2-1 win over Central Coast on Saturday in Nelson.

Kosta Barbarouses scored from the spot in the 22nd minute to put the Phoenix ahead, but the Mariners drew level through Connor Pain on the half-hour.

Central Coast went down to 10 men before the break when Jaques Faty was given a straight red for bringing down Krishna, who was through on goal.

The Fijian striker's header early in the second half secured the eighth win in nine pre-season matches for Wellington.

With several Phoenix players expected to be on All Whites team duty next week, Alex Rodriguez and Matthew Ridenton started in midfield, while recruits Jacob Tratt and Adam Parkhouse began at the back.

On 20 minutes, a flowing Phoenix move found Barbarouses on the edge of the area. His cross struck the arm of Michael Neill and the referee pointed to the spot and Wellington's marquee man put the Phoenix 1-0 up.

But just a minute later, Pain was slipped through and slotted his shot beyond the reach of Moss to make it 1-1.

With the Mariners down to 10, Phoenix took advantage in the second half as Krishna headed in from a Barbarouses cross to make it 2-1.

Wellington held on for victory, but the disjointed performance, particularly against 10 men, frustrated coach Ernie Merrick.

"I'm pleased with the result, but I always believe that the performance is more important in pre-season and I was disappointed with a few aspects of our game," Merrick said.

"The passing from the midfield going forward lacked cohesion and we made too many errors.

"The Mariners played on the counter attack after going a man down and that forced us to change our game, which ended up throwing us off somewhat.

"The forward passing was not to the quality I expect and we were overrun in midfield.

"It's something we will have to work on before the first game of the season as we will be missing key players to international duty.

"Having won eight of nine matches in pre-season is encouraging however and gives us confidence going in to our first game on October 8 against Melbourne City."

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