Wellington Phoenix's A-League finals hopes have taken a hit after a 1-1 draw with the last-placed Perth Glory at Westpac Stadium today.
Perth were on track to record just their second win in Wellington through William Gallas' first-half goal but Kenny Cunningham grabbed an 85th minute equaliser, rising high to head in a cross from Tyler Boyd.
It brought some joy to a disappointing crowd of 6401 fans as the eighth-placed Phoenix came home with a wet sail but with just five games to go until the top-six finals, they really needed a win.
The Phoenix controlled play for much of the match but they were off colour in front of goal.
Roy Krishna, a surprise starter up front in place of Boyd, hit the post in the first half, while Matthew Ridenton blasted over from close range in the second.
Gallas' first season in the A-League had been marred by injury and defensive blunders but the centre back showed the class that earned him 84 caps for France.
The 36-year-old won the ball off Stein Huysegems, laid it off and then took off on a surging run.
After some nice interplay, skipper Jacob Burns picked out Gallas who let rip with a wicked left-foot shot to score.
In his first Phoenix start, Krishna was lively, troubled Perth with his pace but just couldn't find the back of the net.
The Phoenix also suffered yet another injury blow, with Josh Brindell-South limping off in the 26th minute with what appeared to be a serious hamstring injury.
New signing Shaun Timmins took his place at left back and did a solid job.
The atmosphere was flat for much of the match but things sprung into life late on.
Carlos Hernandez was clearly unhappy when Ernie Merrick pulled him off for Jason Hicks, while Perth goalkeeper Jack Duncan struck Cunningham in the face after the pair got themselves in a tangle.
Cunningham had the last laugh however, giving Duncan no chance with his powerful header and wheeling away in celebration.
- The Dominion Post
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