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Phoenix languish after loss to Wanderers

Published: 6:39PM Sunday January 13, 2013 Source: ONE Sport

The Wellington Phoenix's miserable season continued today with a 2-0 loss at home to the Western Sydney Wanderers.

The scores were locked up at 0-0 at halftime, however the visitors broke the deadlock in the 72nd minute through Nikolai Topor-Stanley.

Labinot Haliti scored the clincher 10 minutes later to leave the Phoenix second to last on the table, with just four wins from 16 games this season.

Things could get even worse for Ricki Herbert's men before the night is through. If Sydney FC prevail over Melbourne Heart in their clash later today, they will consign the Phoenix to last place on the ladder.

The hosts held parity in the opening half and perhaps enjoyed the better run of play although they had nothing to show for it as they headed to the sheds for the break.

They would rue their inability to make the most of their chances - the busy Stein Huysegems getting three shots on goal and Vince Lia also having a strike - but they could not conjure any points.

Huysegems best attempt came in the 22nd  minute, his powerful drive from right in front sailed narrowly over the bar, just inches away from being the opening goal of the match.

Lia's strike came just two minutes from halftime, from outside the box he rocketed the ball in but Wanderers keeper Ante Covic's diving save ensured the first half would remain scoreless.

Playing the lowest scoring side in the league, the Phoenix were never going to lay on a thriller for the 6,608 fans who turned out at Westpac Stadium, however most of those fans would have been disappointed with what was served up in the second half.

With eleven rounds remaning, Herbert urgently needs to instill some confidence into his side's play, as that crucial element was clearly lacking today.

The visitors were energetic in defence -  harassing, pestering and pressuring their opposites into simple errors - as the Phoenix refused to retain possession and looked devoid of ideas when in attacking space.

Even when tempers flared after Louis Fenton was charged in the back and Dani Sanchez flew in to earn a yellow card, the Phoenix failed to respond with any fight, and by the time Topor-Stanley struck they looked gone.

The Wanderers then shut up shop and retained their stranglehold on the game before Haliti sealed the result.

Wellington Phoenix 0

Western Sydney Wanderers 2 (Nikolai Topor-Stanley, Labinot Haliti)

HT: 0-0