Jerome Polenz scored in the first quarter hour as Western Sydney Wanderers looked set to cruise through its first home game of its title defense. But a Jeremy Brockie goal on the hour pulled visiting Wellington Phoenix even and left the score at 1-1 at Pirtek Stadium. In a weekend where three of the other four games were also draws, perhaps it was only appropriate that the Phoenix found a way back for shared points, but two points dropped at home against Wellington begs some questions of the premiership holding Wanderers.
Aaron Mooy left the game in the 10th minute after taking a hard aerial challenge from Manny Muscat, but Western Sydney quickly recovered with Polenz hammering a shot from outside the box after Wellington failed to adequately clear a corner. Glen Moss was blocked and could not prevent the ball from squirming over the line as 16,000 Wanderers fans erupted. Just before half-time, it looked like the home side would blow the game open as Tomi Juric played Youssouf Hersi onto goal with a perfect through ball, but Moss came off his line to make an important save.
In the 59th minute, Ante Covic was called upon to make a key double save but he was helpless a minute later when Brockie finished off a fine sequence from substitute Paul Ifill, who turned 34 on Sunday. The brilliant turn around Adam D'Apuzzo on the right sideline led to a swift cross and an impressive finish from Brockie.
The final half-hour was exciting as Wellington's Carlos Hernandez required a leaping save from Covic before Brendon Santalab hit the post with a blistering shot for the home side. But in the end, neither side could find what would have been a dramatic winner and the points were shared.
Wellington will host the struggling Newcastle Jets at McLean Park in Napier on Sunday October 27 in Round 3 while the Wanderers travel across town for the first Sydney Derby of the new season on October 26.
Video highlights via Fox Sports Australia:
WSW Polenz 15'
WPX Brockie (Ifill) 60'
Western Sydney Wanderers: Covic; D'Apuzzo, Topor-Stanley, Beauchamp, Polenz; Poljak, Mooy (La Rocca 10'); Hersi (Haliti 82'), Bridge, Ono (Santalab 64'); Juric
Unused subs: Tyson, Cole
Wellington Phoenix: Moss; Durante, Sigmund, Bertos, Caira; Hernandez, Lia, Muscat; Cunningham (Ifill 46'); Brockie (Reira 87'), Huysegems (Hicks 31')
Unused subs: Spoonley, Boxall