Herbert buoyed by improved Phoenix
Wellington Phoenix coach Ricki Herbert was upbeat about his side's improved performance after their 2-2 with Adelaide on Sunday.
The Phoenix were trailing 2-1 when the Reds Jon McKain was sent off for his second bookable offence in the 69th minute.
It proved to be the turning point as the home side mounted wave after wave of attack in search of the equaliser which eventually came from on-loan striker Corey Gameiro 10 minutes from time.
Adelaide were 2-1 up at the break thanks to sweetly taken goals from Tomi Juric and Marcelo Carrusca.
Jeremy Brockie's 12th of the Phoenix campaign was the result of an error by Adelaide goalkeeper Eugene Galekovic and was gratefully received by a team that had not scored in their past two games.
While the point still left the Phoenix sitting at the bottom of the table, Herbert felt there had been plenty of positive signs.
"I thought, especially the second half, that there were real good shades of the old Phoenix really," said the coach.
"Totally comprehensive, well in control, the only team that were going to win the game."
The Phoenix's finishing let them down again though with Ifill, Louis Fenton, Brockie and Gameiro all having good chances but failing to find the back of the net.
"You get that volume you need to be better at the top part of the pitch," admitted Herbert.
"But I think we've walked off the pitch the last few weeks being more disappointed that we haven't played well at all. I honestly can't say that today. I thought we were right up for it.
"Irrespective of the sending off I thought we started the second half brightly and looked like a side that wanted to get something out of a football match."
Gameiro was one of the Phoenix's standouts. It was his pressure on Galekovic that resulted in Brockie's goal and he constantly had the Adelaide defenders on alert, particularly in the second half.
It was only a smart save from Galekovic that denied the young Australian a brace – and the Phoenix a win – in the closing moments.
"I think Corey has been an excellent person to bring to the club," said Herbert. "I think he's a good footballer, first of all. But he adds just a little bit of zest. I like that.
"He's come with no baggage. He doesn't know anything about the club – good, bad or indifferent – and he's really knuckled down wanting to make a difference. Personally I think he's made an excellent contribution.
"(But) when you go around the pitch everybody looked good. Brocks (Brockie) gets back on the score sheet and I think there was a good contribution around the pitch tonight."