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Wanderers down Phoenix for first ALM win

Wellington coach Ufuk Talay says he will consider lodging a complaint with A-League officials after the Phoenix’s 13-game unbeaten run ended in a 2-0 defeat to the Western Sydney Wanderers.

Ex-Phoenix striker Tomer Hemed bundled home from a free-kick in the 66th minute to give the Wanderers the lead when Oli Sail came out to punch the ball away.

Talay, however, claimed a push on Callan Elliot from Hemed and a jostling Rhys Williams impacted the Phoenix No.1 who fumbled the ball into the path of the quick-thinking Israeli forward.

Despite checks by VAR, the goal was awarded by referee Tim Danaskos.

The decision came after the Phoenix had a Joshua Laws goal chalked off for an offside in a goalmouth scramble in the first half.

“It’s a tough pill to swallow. I thought we were the better team,” Talay said.

“I think it was a poor decision in refereeing for the foul on Callan Elliot that led to the goal.

“I can’t see the offside (for the first goal). But the decision where we conceded when the foul on Callan Elliot wasn’t given.

“From my opinion they missed the push. I don’t know if that’s the reason (Elliot dropped the ball).

“We need to have a conversation with the board about how that (a complaint) looks.

“Players make mistakes, but in my opinion, the officials can’t get it wrong.”

In stoppage time, Sail went up to compete at a corner and the deflection fell kindly with Johnny Koutroumbis running the length of the field to finish into an empty net.

The victory was the Wanderers’ first of the campaign under Carl Robinson who dropped Dimitri Petratos and Ramy Najjarine from his starting XI.

Japanese import Keijiro Ogawa and Jack Rodwell were deployed in their place at WIN Stadium, with the Englishman playing 82 minutes.

It was Rodwell’s first league start in more than two-and-a-half years, but his display was fairly uneventful after some impressive cameos from the bench in the opening two games of the season.

After a sluggish start against the Jets last time out, the Wanderers struggled once again to find their attacking rhythm.

Phoenix thought they had scored when Western Sydney goalkeeper Tomas Mejias missed an in-swinger in the first half, only for Laws’ finish to be disallowed.

Reno Piscopo and Benjamin Old had chances to put the Phoenix ahead before Hemed and Koutroumbis landed the knockout blows for Robinson’s men in the second half.

“We had to adjust a few things and we went with a different dynamic in midfield,” Robinson said.

“They had a couple of chances but we tracked back well and we defended our box really well.

“I challenged the boys to go out and win their individual battles. It opened up a bit in the second half and we had a bit more confidence once we got our noses in front.”

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