The Wellington Phoenix are still searching for their first win of the A-League season after holding on for a 1-1 draw with Perth Glory in Christchurch on Saturday.
The Wellington Phoenix are still searching for their first win of the A-League season - and their first under coach Ernie Merrick - after holding on for a 1-1 draw with Perth Glory in Christchurch on Saturday.
The early signs were good for the home side when skipper Andrew Durante bundled the ball over the line after just four minutes.
But the Glory got on top as the half wore on and got a deserved equaliser through Ryo Nagai 25 minutes later.
Both sides had their chances to claim all three points in the second half but lacked the poise and finish in front of goal.
Durante won't mind the ugly nature of his goal, just the third of his A-League career.
Hernandez's free-kick from left of the box was completely misjudged by Glory keeper Danny Vukovic and Durante nudged it home with his knees.
But it was the visitors who had the better of the chances for the remainder of the half with Steve Pantelidis, Nagai, and Michael Thwaite all seeing efforts go wide before the Japanese striker finally got the equaliser on 29 minutes.
Much of Perth's attack came down the left flank where Scott Jamieson and Sidnei Sciola regularly got in behind Phoenix right back Louis Fenton to pepper the Phoenix box with crosses.
But it was a neat through-ball from Jamieson that set Sciola free down the left wing that led to Nagai's equaliser.
The Brazilian got around Fenton, burst down the wing and then wrong-footed Ben Sigmund before laying the ball back for his Japanese team-mate who tucked the ball in the bottom left corner of the goal.
Fenton, playing just his second game following a shoulder injury, was dragged at half-time by Merrick with Manny Muscat dropping back into defence and Jason Hicks coming into the midfield and it seemed to stem the flow.
Glory coach Alistair Edwards also turned to his bench early bringing on Cameron Edwards for his brother Ryan and Jamie Maclaren for Shane Smeltz, after 53 minutes.
Shane Smeltz, who appeared to be icing his hip after his substitution, and Phoenix players Glen Moss, Jeremy Brockie, Durante, Sigmund, Leo Bertos and Jacob Spoonley, all left the ground immediately after the match to start the lengthy journey to Mexico for New Zealand's World Cup qualifier first-leg at the Azteca Stadium in midweek.
Hicks had a golden opportunity to put the Phoenix ahead on 63 minutes. Good lead up work by Hernandez and Brockie opened up the Glory defence but Hicks blasted his shot wide.
Paul Ifill was introduced on 66 minutes to a rousing reception for his 100th A-League appearance and within minutes he had won a free-kick for his side when Jamieson, who was yellow carded for his efforts, brought him down just outside the box.
Hernandez's free-kick was perfect but Sigmund headed wide.
In a frantic final few minutes, that miss looked like it could be costly as Perth poured forward and the Phoenix scrambled.
But Maclaren blasted wide and Moss made a crucial save to deny substitute Brandon O'Neill to ensure the Phoenix a point.
Wellington Phoenix 1 (Durante 4) Perth Glory 1 (Nagai 29) HT: 1-1