Phoenix and Victory coaches left dissatisfied
MELBOURNE Victory and Wellington Phoenix might be the A-League's in-form sides but both coaches were left dissatisfied by the lengthening of their unbeaten runs on Friday night.
The Nix arrived at AAMI Park after three straight wins - the club's best run in almost four years - and Victory had only dropped two points in their past seven matches.
The final score of 1-1 seemed appropriate given neither side deserved to lose a high-octane encounter.
But Wellington coach Mark Rudan, who saw his team take the lead through David Williams early in the second half, thought his team had left points on the table.
"We went into this game with a real firm belief ... a big belief we could snatch all three points," he said.
"I'm a little bit disappointed, I'm a bit greedy as well, when you go 1-0 up you want all three points."
Rudan reported a feeling of emptiness in the Nix change room.
"They're down. They're down and out," he said.
"I had to lift them up. And it's a great sign.
"Last year I remember watching Wellington Phoenix against Melbourne Victory and they were up 1-0 in the final five or ten minutes, they lost 2-1 ... that's a big difference in terms of mentality."
Wellington sit fourth and will enter the New Year with hope of an unlikely shot at silverware.
Victory's point has them on top, where they'll sit until New Year's Eve at least depending on whether Perth Glory can avoid defeat to Central Coast Mariners.
Coach Kevin Muscat showed his displeasure with the result with a series of testy responses to questions - particularly on injured trio Keisuke Honda, Georg Niedermeier and Raul Baena.
Honda and Baena were ruled out at the last minute but could feature away to Western Sydney next Saturday.
"I sense you don't feel I'm being honest," Muscat said.
"Keisuke and Raul were a genuine chance of being available today.
"Next week, I'm optimistic ... Keisuke will train and we'll see how he goes. Raul is in the same boat. Georg, I'm less optimistic."
While Ola Toivonen scored for the fourth straight match, Muscat suggested his side didn't deserve to win after a lacklustre opening half.
"Turning the ball over without an end product. Not threatening in behind them played into their hands," he said.
"I'm asking the players to play a style that's not easy. It's difficult.
"We take some risks. We want to play a brand of football that's not easy to play. When we play that brand of football, Ola is very effective."