Phoenix coach takes crack at ref after loss to Perth Glory
WELLINGTON Phoenix coach Ufuk Talay wants to see more consistency from A-League referees after being left baffled by a series of decisions in his team's Friday night 4-2 loss to Perth Glory.
A total of eight yellow cards were dished out by referee Adam Kersey during the match, with Phoenix defender Tim Payne controversially sent off in the 71st minute for a second bookable offence.
Payne received his second yellow for what appeared to be an accidental clash of boots as he chased Glory striker Nicholas D'Agostino.
"At the end of the day it was an accident," Talay said.
"For me ... I'd like them to be more consistent ... there was an early tackle on Cam Devlin where the player has gone over.
"Obviously he (the referee) played the advantage. In my opinion I think if he comes back, that's a yellow card as well."
Talay said the A-League's professionalism meant such inconsistencies shouldn't be tolerated.
"I think they need to be more consistent in what they do," Talay said.
"For me. the A-League's not a developmental league for the referees, because players go out there and play for results. Sometimes decisions influence the game."
Glory coach Tony Popovic became testy when asked whether Payne deserved the second yellow card.
"Did you watch the game? If you watched the game you wouldn't ask that question," Popovic said.
"The player made four or five fouls prior to getting the second yellow. So if you saw that, you wouldn't ask that."
Glory's nine-game unbeaten run leaves them just one point adrift of second-placed Melbourne City.
Perth will be back in action on February 18 when they make their Asian Champions League debut against FC Tokyo in Japan.
Glory skipper Diego Castro, who has missed the past two matches as he nurses a knock, is no certainty to return.
"I don's know about playing, but he'll certainly be training a lot more with the team next week," Popovic said.
"This is about looking after him, and making sure that when he plays, he plays at 100 per cent."
Olyroos hero D'Agostino scored a double in the clash at HBF Park.
Glory were in complete command with a 3-0 lead following goals either side of half-time from D'Agostino and a first-half header from defender Tomislav Mrcela.
Substitute Gary Hooper pulled one back for Wellington in the 68th minute, but the visitors' resistance looked buried when defender Tim Payne was sent off in controversial fashion in the 71st minute.
Despite the numerical disadvantage after Payne's dismissal, Wellington made it 3-2 when Hooper scored his second in the 76th minute with a neat low drive.
It ensured for a nervous finish for Glory, with the Phoenix threatening to snatch a draw with a series of good chances late.
But the 7248 fans erupted into wild celebrations when Bruno Fornaroli nailed a curling strike from outside the box in the 90th minute to seal the win.
The result meant Wellington slipped to fifth.
"There was a little period there in the second half after they scored where we looked a bit nervous," Popovic said.
"Apart from that period, we deserved to win."
Talay bemoaned his side's late fade-out in the first half.
"I think we made it difficult for ourselves conceding two goals in three minutes late in the first half," he said.
Quad and Achilles injuries sidelined D'Agostino for the early part of this season, but the 21-year-old has been in the form of his life since recovering.
The Olyroo scored the goal that secured Australia an Olympic berth, before heading home a 90th-minute equaliser in last week's 2-2 draw with Melbourne Victory.