Wellington Phoenix coach Ernie Merrick has questioned the physical tactics of Melbourne City FC after watching the two sides play out a 0-0 stalemate at Hutt Recreation Ground.
Six Melbourne City players found their way into referee Chris Beath’s notebook, including the entire back four.
“The longer the game went, the (more the) opposition resorted to the same as last week. Last week (there were) 20 fouls against us to stop our attacks and we conceded eight. This week it was 22 fouls stopping our attacks and the referees let it go”, said Merrick.
“The referees allowed them to continually stop our attacks. That’s just ridiculous. It was persistent infringing. They had six yellow cards and I thought more should have been done.”
“If I was Newcastle I‘d do the same thing (next week) because we’ve got very speedy attackers and the only way to stop them sometimes is to foul them. If the referees allow it, they should do it. It’s worked twice.”
That aside, Merrick was pleased with his side’s performance, but admitted they should have taken all three points.
“It was a good first half and even better second half. We created numerous chances up front. I thought it was a penalty on Burns – he was inside the box when he was fouled – and I thought Roy should have put away a tap-in – I don’t know how he missed it. Burns, Krishna and McGlinchey caused havoc up front, I thought our midfield were absolutely sensational and our defence gave away nothing.”
And the Scot remained unconcerned about a second consecutive goalless game from his previously free-scoring side.
“As long as we keep creating chances I’m not concerned about it. It’s when you don’t create chances that it’s a problem.”
“We put on a terrific spectacle. To fill the stadium playing attacking football; people got their money’s worth. But the continual stop-start was just frustrating”, he said.
The Hutt Recreation Ground will again be the venue for the Phoenix’s next match against Newcastle next Sunday.