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Phoenix focus on converting, not red card

AAP logoAAP 5/01/2017 Chris Pike

The Wellington Phoenix will turn their focus into converting their chances better rather than stewing too much over a harsh red card to Roy Krishna in Thursday's 2-1 A-League loss in Perth.

Wellington arrived in Perth unbeaten in their last four games and not only did Krishna score in the 11th minute but the Phoenix continued to open up the Glory defence.

Krishna, Shane Smeltz and Kosta Barbarouses all had good chances to stretch the lead.

But it didn't happen. Glory scored on half-time with a long-range strike from Rostyn Griffiths and added the match-winner early in the second half from Adam Taggart.

Wellington's hopes of a comeback were all but obliterated when referee Shaun Evans handed Krishna a red card in the 63rd minute for a mis-timed challenged deserving of a free-kick at worst.

Co-coach Des Buckingham's immediate focus is on making sure his team takes their chances.

That will start with three home games starting next Saturday against the Central Coast Mariners ahead of playing Melbourne Victory on the Tuesday, and the Brisbane Roar on Saturday January 21.

"We created several chances in the first half and the first 20 minutes especially. Shane's had one he just hasn't connected with properly, Roy has had a couple and so did Kosta," Buckingham said.

" We need to be scoring those goals, the game should have been put to bed in the first half. But it wasn't and although we defended really well in the first half and prevented them from any real goal scoring opportunities, the one they had flew into the back of the net on the 45th minute."

Smeltz was playing his first game since signing with the Phoenix having most recently played in the Malaysian Super League with Kedah FA.

The 35-year-old Kiwi international showed he's in good shape and still capable of being a goalscorer in the A-League. His finishing wasn't quite there, but Buckingham saw enough to suggest that the chances he had will see him add to his 89 career A-League goals.

"Shane's been good. He's had eight weeks off and he has trained with us for two weeks, so he's done well," Buckingham said.

"He probably played an extra 10 minutes than he should have but the more game time he gets and the more time he spends on the pitch, the sharper he'll be."

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