|By PADDY HIGGS
Wellington Phoenix coach Ricki Herbert believes it would have been "unfair" if his side had come out of their match with Melbourne Victory with anything less than a loss.
Victory dominated almost 70 minutes of Monday's A-League clash with the Phoenix, taking a 3-0 lead one minute into the second half.
But a series of substitutions for both sides and a tactical switch by Wellington coach Ricki Herbert changed the game, with the Phoenix coming within a goal of stealing a point when Jeremy Brockie claimed a double.
Time ran out on the visitors, and Herbert agreed with reporters when asked after the match if the final 3-2 scoreline flattered his side.
"Absolutely. We weren’t good enough tonight, and let's pay credit to Melbourne. I thought they were very good, and we were very disappointing," he said.
"… There's a few small positives. I think we did a couple of very good goals, and showed there's probably no team in the league that can dominate for long periods if you're prepared to have go."
Herbert continued: "Melbourne were a little bit vulnerable and giving the ball away, and we gave ourselves a real shot at the end," he said.
"But it would have been unfair. As I said, Melbourne certainly deserved to win."
Herbert said his side paid the price for the space they offered between their central defenders and full-backs.
Marco Rojas scored twice from crosses from fellow wide forward Archie Thompson, while Gui Finkler and Marco Rojas found plenty of room through the middle.
"If you don’t get pressure in there, the wide players are going to the damage - which they did," Herbert said.
"But we changed a little bit, and I think when we put three in midfield we started to compete.
"I think we managed to get a share of the game, which was always going to be important for us."
With Herbert doubling as New Zealand coach, he said he had praise for both "Kiwi boys" Rojas and Brockie, with the latter to have "real weight off" his shoulders at scoring his first goals of the season.