Jeremy Brockie and Corey Gameiro found the back of the net as the Wellington Phoenix picked up a much needed draw with Adelaide United.
|By EMMA STONEY
Corey Gameiro was the hero for Wellington as they claimed a much-needed point with a 2-2 draw against Adelaide United.
Controversy has dogged the two previous fixtures between these sides this year and Sunday's game at Westpac Stadium was no different as Jon McKain was sent off for two yellow cards with 22 minutes to go.
At that stage Adelaide were leading 2-1 after goals to Tomi Juric and Marcelo Carrusca had sandwiched a Jeremy Brockie effort.
But McKain's dismissal for a tangle with Vince Lia in the 69th minute seemed to spark the Phoenix and Gameiro's well taken-goal 10 minutes from time sparked a frenzied finish.
The Young Socceroos striker had a strong game for the Phoenix. He robbed Eugene Galekovic which resulted in Brockie's goal and set up another chance which Paul Ifill wasted.
He also had another fierce shot just tipped over the bar in the 85th minute.
Adelaide have not won in seven games on the road now and the trip across the Tasman continues to be an unprofitable one for the Reds who have failed to win in their last six matches in New Zealand.
But the point earned at Westpac Stadium did lift them above Melbourne Victory into third, on goal difference while the Phoenix remain at the foot of the table.
The opening 20 minutes were fairly turgid with the most noticeable action fouls by McKain and Osama Malik which earned them yellow cards.
But Juric's goal – his second in as many games – was a beauty. The Reds had squandered a couple of corners just minutes earlier but Iain Ramsay's cross from wide out left was pinpoint for the young striker whose left-footed shot on the turn went low into Glen Moss' net.
It sparked the Phoenix into action and Louis Fenton and Ifill both had chances at the other end but couldn't make them count.
Ifill has struggled for form all season and has scored just twice – both from the penalty spot – but he would not have had an easier chance in open play than the one that fell to him in the 30th minute.
Gameiro, who was lively throughout, dispossessed Anthony Golec on the edge of the box but Brockie took far too many touches before the ball fell to Ifill who proceeded to blast it well over.
The much-needed equaliser came a minute later though – and in similar circumstances.
This time Gameiro robbed Galekovic at the top of the box and Brockie had a simple tap in for his 12th of the season.
But the Phoenix's joy was short-lived as Carrusca scored the goal of the game in the 33rd minute to put the visitors back in front.
The Argentinean unleashed a cracking volley from outside the area that had Moss completely beaten.
The opening stages of the second half were flat and it wasn't until McKain was dismissed after a heavy clash with Lia that the match – and the Phoenix – found some life.
The yellow card seemed a harsh call by referee Tim McGilchrist as the former Phoenix player could have done little to avoid catching Lia.
And it proved to be the turning point as the Phoenix finally launched some strong attacks into the Adelaide box and Gameiro rifled one past Galekovic.
Two more smart saves from the 'keeper to deny Ifill and Gameiro in the closing minutes ensured the Reds did not leave empty-handed.