A ten-man Adelaide United have held on for a point at Coopers Stadium on Friday night in a hard-fought goalless A-League draw with Wellington Phoenix.
It was the second home match in a row where United played out a 0-0 draw, and also the second consecutive week they were forced to see out the match with ten men.
Ryan Strain was given his marching orders on 74 minutes after picking up two yellow cards in six minutes.
United coach Carl Veart lamented the Reds’ inability to capitalise on their chances.
“(I’m) frustrated we didn’t have the quality to get a goal,” he said.
“I believe we had enough openings to get one but we just lacked that final ball or that final run in the box to get a goal.”
Phoenix coach Ufuk Talay said his side dropped two much-needed points.
“It’s disappointing – it’s a game we needed to win (because of) where we are sitting in the table,” he said.
“At the end of the day not losing in Adelaide is a positive, but for us, we needed three points.”
The best opportunity of an even first half came from the Reds on 11 minutes when Craig Goodwin whipped in a corner, which was met by Tomi Juric.
The Adelaide striker rose highest and powered a header towards the top corner but it was expertly kept out by Phoenix keeper Oliver Sail.
Ulises Davila had been kept quiet by Adelaide for most of the first half but the Mexican eventually worked his way into the contest.
Wellington’s David Ball also looked dangerous out wide but the visitors were unable to fashion a clear chance and test United keeper Joe Gauci.
The visitors had the first chance of the second half when Jaushua Sotirio glanced a header just wide of the post after a free kick from Clayton Lewis.
For the Reds, Ben Halloran was looking dangerous, threatening down the right flank.
He teamed up with Craig Goodwin for a well worked short corner, with Halloran dancing past his defender and firing a ball across the face of goal that Stefan Mauk was inches away from tapping in.
Strain was next to bomb down the ride side, carrying the ball the length of the half in a brilliant solo run before lifting the ball well over the bar from close range.
Soon after, the fullback was shown a red card for a second bookable offence, bringing down Reno Piscopo, six minutes after receiving a caution for kicking the ball away.
Substitute Kusini Yengi almost gave ten-man Adelaide a goal on 80 minutes after he was released by Goodwin, but after taking on his opponent his shot only stung the palms of Sail.