Football: Sam Malcolmson praises defence for Phoenix revival

Former All White Sam Malcolmson thinks the form of defenders Andrew Durante and Steven Taylor has been key to the Wellington Phoenix's revival.

The Nix stretched their unbeaten streak in football's A-League to five matches, after a 1-1 draw against the defending champions Melbourne Victory.

The draw lifts the Phoenix to fourth on the ladder, compared to this time last month when they were second to last on the standings.

During their unbeaten run, Wellington have only conceded four goals while scoring nine of their own.

Malcolmson, who played 15 games New Zealand in defence, told Trackside Radio that the work of Durante and Taylor has been instrumental in Wellington's success.

"This is best I've seen Andrew Durante play in a number of years. He's been outstanding," he said.

"Having somebody like Steven Taylor who has played in the Premier League, he's given them lots of confidence, and they don't let goals in.

"To draw 1-all in Melbourne is incredible. Yes, they might concede the odd goal, but they're looking amazing at the back, and if you don't give goals away, you'll have a chance of winning.

Phoenix coach Mark Rudan.
Phoenix coach Mark Rudan. Photo credit: Photosport

"Goals will win you games, but defence will win you titles."

Malcolmson also heaped praise on youngster Sapreet Singh, saying he's ones of the "best players in the competition."

"He's only 19, but an outstanding player. Last year, I thought he was overrated, but he's a great prospect for New Zealand football."

The Phoenix's longest unbeaten streak is seven matches, which they've achieved twice in the 2009/10 and 2014/15 seasons.

If they are to equal that record, they will have to earn points against Adelaide United and the Western Sydney Wanderers - two teams who have already beaten Wellington this season.  

Even though the Phoenix managed to draw against the defending champions, coach Mark Rudan admitted his players were down in the dressing room after losing the lead, but saluted further progress in his team this season.

"I'm a little bit disappointed. I'm a bit greedy as well when you go 1-0 up you want to win," he said.

"We're showing some good signs now, and we're creating some good chances. I thought in the first half we were the better side."