28 Nov 2010

Ifill saves day for Phoenix

11:50 am on 28 November 2010

A superb late goal from Wellington Phoenix striker Paul Ifill's ensured his side shared the points in a 2-2 home draw against Melbourne Victory to keep them well within sight of the A-League football finals.

The Victory had bossed the game after the Phoenix took an early lead on 18 minutes through midfielder Tim Brown's well-struck right-foot shot, rifling home two goals to Archie Thompson - his first goal since returning from a serious knee injury, and his 50th in the A-League - and fellow striker Robbie Kruse.

But the Victory were content to counter-attack for much of the second half, and paid the price when Ifill grabbed his late equaliser - his third goal in the space of four days.

Ifill turned two defenders inside out then finished brilliantly in the 84th minute to grab his side a much-needed point.

Teenage defender James Musa became the Wellington Phoenix's 50th football player after starting against the Victory.

The 18-year-old from Wanganui's chance at left back came after a one-match suspension for regular Phoenix defender Ben Sigmund.

Both the Phoenix and Victory are now locked on 18 points amid a queue of teams at the fringe of the top six.

Elsewhere Melbourne Heart, who the Phoenix vanquished 2-0 on Wednesday in Wellington, and the Phoenix's next opponents, Sydney FC, tightened the bottleneck at the fringe of the A-League top six with a 0-0 draw at AAMI Park.