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Phoenix and Jets miss A-League chance

By Chris Pike
27 January 2013 09:09PM EST

BOTH Wellington and Newcastle missed golden opportunities for a crucial three points at Westpac Stadium on Sunday with the Phoenix and Jets playing out a 1-1 draw.

The Phoenix were coming off a horror week with some off-field turmoil stemming out of a disastrous 7-1 loss to Sydney FC, but the home side scored first against the Jets in the 21st minute through Louis Fenton.

Then with a numerical advantage after Newcastle's Sam Galloway received his second yellow card from referee Ben Williams with 30 minutes remaining, the Phoenix looked set to record the three points to take them off the bottom of the A-League table ahead of Perth Glory.

However, within one foul swoop Wellington was down to 10-men also when Tony Lochhead received his second yellow card and then the Jets scored their equaliser from the subsequent free kick.

Conor Chapman sent in a tremendous ball that Wellington 'keeper Mark Paston did well to save, but on the rebound English international Emile Heskey was able to leap up and header it home from close range.

The draw saw Newcastle miss out not only on a chance to win in Wellington for just the second time ever and first time in five years, but also an opportunity to move three points clear in fifth position of the sixth-place Melbourne Heart.

Phoenix coach Ricki Herbert felt afterwards that Wellington deserved to come away with the three points.

"It was disappointing. I thought we created a lot tonight and I thought the momentum was good," Herbert said.

"I thought we were quite efficient, I thought we dealt with things quite a lot better than we have been. We got our nose in front and we should have gone on and won it. I probably think we threw away two points, more than got one."

Newcastle coach Gary van Egmond is not complaining about his team's four-game unbeaten streak, but admits he'll be happier with a few more goals.

Although Newcastle hasn't been beaten in their last four games, they've only recorded one win, a 1-0 victory over Brisbane Roar two weeks ago.

"We probably scored a lot more goals earlier in the year, but we probably weren't getting the results and we didn't have nearly anywhere near as many clean sheets," van Egmond said.

"We have to have a little bit of a look at it from the perspective of how we look to defend, and where we look to defend.

"I think it's more a case of us getting better in regards to decision making. It's the last pass, or the last run someone makes, or the last touch. Whatever it might be, that's where we have to get better, because we're getting the ball in that front third often enough."

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