The lack of goals is affecting the Wellington Phoenix players

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Although their defence was greatly improved, a lack of scoring is the major issue Wellington Phoenix Women face after losing their third straight game.

When the Phoenix women joined the league just a few months ago, there was no great expectation that they would win all of their games or come away with the title. However, the young side did except to score some goals, something they have been unable to do effectively so far this season.

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This absence of scoring continued last night as Wellington fell 1-0 to Newcastle in what was a greatly improved defensive performance. But defence can only keep you in a game so long and no scoring meant that the Nix were again just barely treading above water for most of the game.

Zero goals in a game is not the end of the world but just one after four games is worrisome. Most importantly this inability to put away chances is causing more problems than just the losses. In the eyes of Wellington coach Gemma Lewis it is severely effecting the confidence of the young side when a chance does appear and this is more problematic than anything else.

“There is mounting pressure to score more goals,” she said.

“As we have only had a handful of shots across the season it is so important that we make the most of our chances on goal and we just aren’t right now.”

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Lewis is not wrong about the lack of chances. Even in last nights improved performance the young side managed only nine shots, with four on target. For some context their opponents Newcastle fired off 31 shots in the match and nine of these were on goal.

Lewis believes that because her side has only been unable to find the back of the net just once so far, when her players do find themselves on goal the pressure to finally put them on the board again often gets to them.

“Chances we do create are never turned into meaningful chances,” said Lewis after the loss.

“When we do get in front of goal we often rush our shots or hit them straight at the keeper, this means that we not even testing the other side, we are almost letting the opposition off the hook”.

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The problem with pressure is that it grows and grows if you are unable to achieve what needs to be done to get rid of it. Wellington are dealing with this issue right now as each goalless week increases the internal pressure on the side.

No team wants to lose but at least if the side was going down 2-1 or 3-2, the Nix would be able to build confidence that they can win games because they have the ability to do the most important thing in football: score.

Lewis knows that it is up to her and the coaching group to “rebuild that confidence in front of goal” after the last three matches have all but dashed that belief. 

In their maiden season Wellington have shown plenty of fight but if they are to have a chance of winning a game or two, offensive improvements and goal scoring will have to be the main focus for the Kiwis. 

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Unfortunately, their next chance will come in just two days against an in-form Sydney FC side who sit atop of the A-League Womens table. They have already beaten the Nix 3-0 and have only conceded just one goal in their first four matches.

But while this is a genuine David vs Goliath match, it offers an opportunity for the Nix to put their goal scoring demons to bed.

Even just one goal in this game could work absolute wonders for the confidence of the Wellington women and perhaps could be the turning point in their season if they are able to get on the board for the second time this season.

Feature Image Credit: Speed Media  

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Harry Bartle
Harry Bartle
Harry is a young Journalist based in Wellington. He will be covering the Wellington Phoenix during the 2021/22 season for the Football Sack and has a love hate relationship with Ulises Davila

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