Popovic unhappy with referee
By Football News
Western Sydney coach Tony Popovic was left disappointed and frustrated his side were denied two penalty shouts in their 1-0 loss to Wellington.
The Wanderers boss felt Andrew Durante had blocked a Jerome Polenz cross in the box with his arm in the 15th minute, and Joey Gibbs had been brought down in the area by Ben Sigmund in the second half.
Both were turned down by referee Matt Gillett.
"You don't want to bring up the officiating but how we don't get a penalty today is really beyond me," Popovic said.
"It's hard to accept to be honest with you. It's hard to take when you see those kind of things.
"The games are tight and those things change games. I'm disappointed on that front. I'm disappointed that we didn't create a little bit more and didn't have that rub of the green I suppose.
"We've got to do what we can control and we've got to try and do a little bit better when we've got the ball and try and find a way of creating more opportunities."
Opportunities were certainly scant for Western Sydney on their first visit to Westpac Stadium where Jeremy Brockie's 22nd-minute goal, which was helped into the net by a strong wind, split the two sides.
The Wanderers, who have scored just five goals this season, failed to get a shot on goal in the first half and Polenz's wild strike and Mark Bridge firing his effort into Shinji Ono summed up their outing, as did Leo Bertos blocking another shot from the visitors on the line in the dying seconds.
"Take nothing away from them (the Phoenix) but we conceded a bizarre goal, something you don't usually see," Popovic said.
"Even the last minute where the ball hits the back of the player on the line. Those are things you come away and you at least get a result and you move on.
"It was a close game and one we certainly felt we didn't deserve to lose. We go away a little bit disappointed."
Aaron Mooy's absence due to international duty was telling as the Wanderers, who have now won three, drawn one and lost five, struggled to break down the resolute Phoenix defence.
"We maybe lacked a little bit of spark in the final third. Maybe Aaron would have contributed a bit more to that," Popovic said. "I don't know. It's hard to say now.
"He's still a young boy who is developing and learning. He's far from the finished article as well.
"As a group we've still got to grow and improve. I think football-wise we're on the right track. But result-wise, we're still quite inconsistent at the moment.
"We'll keep working hard and keep improving and hopefully we'll be back here again soon and we can learn from this experience and be better for it."