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10-man Western United hold on against Phoenix


10-man Western United have held Wellington Phoenix at bay to earn a 1-1 draw and move within touching distance of the A-League's top six.

Despite controversially losing defender Brendan Hamill for a high-elbow just before halftime, coach Mark Rudan's United proved resolute in holding Wellington out throughout the second stanza.

With the sides physical and competing fiercely, referee Alex King dished out nine cards at UTAS Stadium on Thursday - two of which earned Hamill his marching orders.

United were in a position to defend their point thanks to attacker Lachlan Wales' 27th-minute goal, which cancelled out in-form Ben Waine's early strike.

After ending their two-game Tasmanian homestand without defeat, they now move into seventh on the A-League ladder while Wellington remain in ninth.

Belying their frantic week - Wellington flew to Tasmania direct from their 3-1 triumph in Perth on Sunday - coach Ufuk Talay's side started strongly and was rewarded with a lead within 10 minutes.

Louis Fenton's blocked cross fell to an adjacent Ulises Davila in the seventh and the Mexican star laced a follow-up to Waine, who sent a first-time shot into the bottom corner. It was the 19-year-old Kiwi's fifth goal of 2020-21 and third in three consecutive starts.

Yet despite chasing shadows for much of the opening exchanges, United rallied to equalise just before the half-hour mark through Olyroo hopeful Wales.

Starting in place of Besart Berisha, the 23-year-old shrugged off the attention of three defenders after being picked out by Connor Pain and laced an inch-perfect shot into the bottom corner to restore parity.

Despite their one-man advantage, Phoenix struggled to create any chances of note until very late in the second half - Davila creating their best chance when he forced goalkeeper Ryan Scott into a world-class save in the 89th minute.

Source AAP