Phoenix lose to Perth after injury time goal

SAM WORTHINGTON
Last updated 18:36 08/01/2012
Phoenix Perth
KENT BLECHYNDEN/Fairfax NZ
LATE LOSS: Wellington Phoenix's Vince Lia and Perth's Mile Sterjovski.

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Tim Brown's 100th game has ended in disappointment as the Wellington Phoenix were stunned in a late 1-0 loss to lowly Perth Glory at Westpac Stadium today.

From an Andrezinho free kick in injury time Perth defender Josh Mitchell snuck in behind the Phoenix defences and from pin-point range headed a bouncing ball into the back of the net to pick up three valuable points.

The Phoenix had been in red-hot home form going into the match, having scored nine goals in their last two games against the Newcastle Jets and Sydney FC.

It was the first time the previously ninth-placed Glory had won in Wellington and under pressure coach Ian Ferguson will be delighted by the character shown by his players.

Both teams had played on Wednesday as part of the A-League's marathon round and Perth, as well as making the long trek to Wellington, also had to contend with some unseasonal wind and rain.

Phoenix midfielder Daniel and Perth striker Shane Smeltz, returning from a groin injury, both hit the woodwork but otherwise chances were scarce in the dismal conditions and the game seemed destined for a draw before Mitchell's late heroics.

Perth midfielder Steven McGarry had a chance to score just before the halftime whistle but he fired his shot weakly straight at Tony Warner.

The game did open up a bit in the second half and after a fluent Phoenix counter attack the ball fell to Daniel in a promising position but the Brazilian's shot shaved the top of the crossbar.

As the legs tired after an hours play, Phoenix coach Ricki Herbert went to his bench and inserted Paul Ifill and Mirjan Pavlovic for Chris Greenacre and Daniel.

Ifill had some nice touches but it was All White Smeltz who went closest to nabbing a goal as he thundered a shot against the crossbar.

Perth improve to sixth equal with Newcastle and Melbourne Victory while the Phoenix remain fourth although Sydney have the chance to overtake them when they meet Central Coast Mariners tonight.

Seven of the Phoenix's last 11 games are on the road, starting with an away game against struggling Gold Coast United next Sunday.

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