A much needed Diego Castro goal has boosted Perth Glory into the top six with a 1-0 win over Wellington Phoenix, consigning their visitors to dead last on the table in the process.
Glory and the Nix played out a cagey game at a muted NIB Stadium late on Saturday night, a match that struggled to catch fire.
By Glory midfielder Andreu’s admission, the first half was “boring” before Castro’s piece of quality decided the contest.
Kenny Lowe and Darije Kalezic were frustrated bystanders as their sides traded ineffectual blows for the majority of the contest.
Castro struck midway through the second half after good work from Mitch Nichols down the right-flank.
And it was Perth that eventually wore their opponents out to secure a vital three points.
More injuries, new captains
Dario Vidosic went off injured early in this fixture, joining Andrew Durante and Roy Krishna on the injury list. Andy Keogh was still missing for Perth so Shane Lowry deputised in the absence of the leading man.
The injuries had a big impact on the game, and some key absences were the reason this game was notably different from the 5-2 result the last time these teams contested a match in Wellington.
In a very even game there were few moments of quality or players standing up to provide the impetus for either side. The match was clearly lacking game-changers.
Low confidence football on display
Both teams were located at the bottom half of the table and it showed in their respective performances. Perth were creating chances but blazing their shots high and wide.
The Phoenix were focused on defence but struggled to offer much in the final third with crucial players missing in key areas.
Too often both teams were guilty of overplaying things when a simple pass or chance for a shot was on. Perth eventually managed to find the net, capitalising on a high line.
The Phoenix could not score for a second week in a row. Some of the football played was befitting of teams lower down on the table, and the game was too often a mire of hoofed clearances and head tennis.
The only way is up
For both of these sides the motto has to be that they can only improve from here. This was the type of game that will see both sides heading back to training with a lot of tweaking and improving to do.
At the moment both sides will be praying that their injured players can come back soon and that results can fall their way more consistently.
The Phoenix especially will be hoping that they stop handing out three points to every side they face. More passion, more skill, a winning mentality, new blood? There are a lot of questions that need to be answered by the Nix in order for them to come up with an answer to their points problem.
Perth will be hoping these three points will be the start of a resurgence this season.