With his Newcastle Jets side possessing a deplorable record in Wellington, van Egmond was delighted to claim a point against the Phoenix on Sunday
|By EMMA STONEY
Newcastle coach Gary van Egmond believes his team will take heart from their 1-1 draw against Wellington Phoenix.
The Jets' record against the Phoenix – especially in Wellington – has been a poor one.
Prior to Sunday's draw they had lost the past six A-League matches, home and away, to Ricki Herbert's side and had not won in Wellington since 2007.
But they came from a goal down at Westpac Stadium to snatch a point thanks to an Emile Heskey header in the 74th minute which cancelled out Louis Fenton's first-half goal.
Van Egmond hailed his side's resilience, especially given the Phoenix were humiliated 7-1 by Sydney last Sunday and then had to deal with the fall-out of co-owner Gareth Morgan calling their fans "pathetic" and "unsophisticated".
"You knew there was going to be a response from the [Phoenix] players today so for us to answer that and to ensure we got something out of the game was very positive," he said.
The Jets coach also felt it would lift confidence ahead of next month's rearranged fixture.
Newcastle will play Wellington at Westpac Stadium on February 27 because the original date in March clashed with New Zealand's World Cup qualifying fixtures against New Caledonia and the Solomon Islands.
"When we come back here we're obviously buoyed by the performance and the result we got here," van Egmond said.
"We know we can achieve something."
Phoenix coach Ricki Herbert, meanwhile, felt his side had thrown away two points rather than won one in the draw.
The visitors' equaliser came after Jets defender Sam Gallaway and Wellington left-back Tony Lochhead had both been sent off for second yellow cards.
Gallaway exited in the 55th minute after tripping Tyler Boyd on the edge of the box.
But Lochhead's dismissal proved to be the most costly as Heskey's goal came from the free-kick awarded for his foul on James Virgili.
"It was a brain explosion by a player that brought things back level again which should never have happened," a disappointed Herbert said.
"I kind of thought there was only one team in the game today. I didn't think we looked threatened at all.
"To defend like that, get a player sent off and don't deal with a cross ... I probably think we threw away two (points) than got one."
The draw ended a four-match losing streak for the Phoenix but the point still left them sitting at the bottom of the A-League table and four points adrift of the top six with nine rounds to go.
"It's nine games to go. Sydney [FC] got beat. Melbourne Heart got beat. Perth got beat so you keep inching a little bit closer," Herbert said.