Kiwi goalkeepers stand tall to maintain status quo in Finals Series race
The proud past and promising future of New Zealand goalkeeping came together to unexpectedly dominate the headlines of a highly dramatic Hyundai A-League encounter on Thursday night.
Glen Moss rolled back the years at McDonald Jones Stadium with an 88th-minute penalty save from Wellington Phoenix forward Roy Krishna that preserved a 1-1 draw for Newcastle Jets.
The 36-year-old’s outstretched right boot prevented his former club from streaking 11 points clear in sixth, a margin that would surely have been prohibitive to Newcastle’s hopes of Finals Series qualification even with a third of the season remaining.
Registering an unprecedented 10th spot-kick save in the competition was the fitting final act of an outstanding performance that included a brilliant low denial of David Williams with the deadlock yet to be broken in the first half.
Yet the veteran gloveman’s stellar showing was arguably overshadowed by a man who was once his deputy.
Oliver Sail, now 23, has been on Wellington’s books since 2014, the year in which he received his first All Whites call-up.
But it was in the Hunter, as a late inclusion for unwell incumbent Filip Kurto, that the ex-Auckland City prospect truly announced himself to the Hyundai A-League.
Sail looked a player blessed with 50 matches of experience rather than five as he proved up to every task an increasingly urgent Newcastle asked of him during a chaotic second half.
His stunning display included four fine saves – none better than the left-handed parrying of a Dimitri Petratos piledriver – and kept Wellington firmly in command of their Finals Series destiny, the buffer remaining at eight points for now.
Regardless of how Thursday’s events are viewed come the end of April, the game’s star performers can be mightily satisfied with commendable contributions to their respective clubs’ causes.