Football: Wellington Phoenix women denied equalising penalty against Brisbane Roar, as A-League slump continues

Wellington Phoenix coach Paul Temple has sounded off at A-League officiating, after watching his team denied a chance to draw their latest A-League fixture against Brisbane Roar at Brisbane.

Trailling 2-1 with three minutes remaining, Isabel Cox appeared poised to snatch a late deadlock with her second goal, but the effort was saved on the goal-line by Roar defender Leah Scarpelli with her arm.

Despite desperate appeals for a spot-kick, referee Caitlin Williams waved the incident away. 

Wellington Phoenix appeal for handball against Briabsne.
Wellington Phoenix appeal for handball against Briabsne. Photo credit: Getty Images

While the men's competition has video review available for such occurences, the women do not.

"It's a clear handball," insisted Temple. "It's a pretty deadset penalt.y to be honest with you.

"The camera angle is very clear - it's a handball on the line. It's disappointing the officials don't see it, because you want them to be picking up things like that.

"It's those moments like that where you've got to ask the question why is there VAR [video assistant referee] in the men’s league and not in the women’s league, because if that goes to VAR, it's a clear penalty."

Wellington grabbed an early lead, when Cox slotted her maiden A-League goal from a pinpoint Michaele Foster corner in the 20th minute.

Before halftime, Matildas midfielder Tameka Yallop drew Brisbane level, capitalising on a Phoenix defensive lapse and beating keeper Rylee Foster with her first-time shot.

Just seconds into the second half, the home side took the decisive advantage, with Kijah Stephenson finishing at the back post.

The Phoenix produced many opportunities to draw level and even win, putting 11 of 19 shots on target, but could not find a way past Roar custodian Jordan Silkowitz - or Scarpelli.

After a bright start to their third campaign, when they produced three straight wins to hover near the top of the table, Wellington have now lost three of their last fourth outings to slip 10 points behind leaders Melbourne City. The result also marks their fourth road defeat.

"We don’t seem to be able to complete two good halves of football in a row at the moment and that's really frustrating," said Temple. “Definitely, an away game is a factor for us and we've got to find a way to get around that, because since Western Sydney away, we haven't scored in second halves.

"You can see we start running out of gas, and if we have to go and chase a game, we don’t have the capacity to do that, unless we make wholesale changes.

"It's not easy, but we’ve got to find a way to get around those things, because we've obviously still got away games to come."

Wellington have a chance to atone, when they host Central Coast Mariners on Friday.

Brisbane Roar 2 (Yallop & Stephenson) Wellington Phoenix 1 (Cox)