No joy for winless Western Sydney Wanderers

THE Western Sydney Wanderers have returned from a disappointing Club World Cup campaign to more heartache in the A-League, staying at the bottom of the ladder with a 1-0 away loss to the Phoenix.

As speculation mounted over Wanderers coach Tony Popovic joining English Premier League strugglers Crystal Palace, his team - the champions of Asia - has still not registered a win in the domestic competition after 10 games this season.

The Wanderers came close to getting that highly sought-after victory in this fixture. But the Phoenix's goal to Roy Krishna after 14 minutes was enough for the hosts to hang on, the flying attacker brought down inside the penalty box by the slightest of touches from Daniel Alessi.

Krishna scored on the follow-up after a good first-up save from Wanderers goalkeeper Ante Covic.

Phoenix coach Ernie Merrick will be holding its breath, though, after a limping Krishna was replaced in the 52nd minute by Jeremy Brockie.

With Brockie to join South African club SuperSport United in the New Year and in-form striker Nathan Burns to be a part of the Socceroos' Asian Cup campaign, the men from Wellington will be sweating on Krishna's fitness.

The Wanderers could have stolen a draw in the final minute of the game, but a cracking Jaushua Sotirio shot was saved by Phoenix goalkeeper Glen Moss.