There were no doubts as to whether Wellington Phoenix wanted that Hyundai A-League fourth spot as they brushed aside a dejected Central Coast Mariners on Saturday night.
Goals were aplenty on an evening where history was made and records were both equaled and broken as Mark Rudan’s side knew that a certain scoreline would promote them to fourth spot and the potential of a home final, come the end of the season.
Central Coast Mariners were the stronger side at the beginning but it wasn’t long until Roy Krishna was getting into dangerous territory. The Fijian flyer entered the box after a good pass from Sarpreet Singh. The former attempted a cross, only for his effort to deflect off of defender Samuel Graham to provide the away side with the opener.
Moments later and it was Krishna again making himself a nuisance to the Mariners backline. A searching ball in behind found the striker as he lobbed his audacious attempt over Ben Kennedy to double the advantage.
It wasn’t long until another attacker was on the scoresheet as David Williams cut inside within the box and fired home to up the lead to three.
Despite Mariners threatening with attack down the wings, Wellington Phoenix were in the mood tonight, scoring again to make it 4-0, before the break.
Midfield starter Max Burgess enjoyed a special night as he delivered an equally special ball on a plate for Krishna. The Fijian made short work of it after evading several challenges, to then rifle home and provide a mouth-watering scoreline heading into half time.
It was more of the relentless attacking play from Rudan’s men in the second half as they looked to put the sword to the Mariners. Krishna was involved yet again as he crossed in from the right as Cacace ran on to the loose ball. The full-back powered his shot beyond Kennedy to score his first career Hyundai A-League goal.
After Golec went close to scoring against his former employers, Singh opened up his account for the game after driving through the middle and releasing a rasping shot into the back of the net.
Only two minutes later and Wellington Phoenix were up by seven. This time it was the other full-back, Louis Fenton, who made a great driving run in behind the Mariners backline, getting on the end of a sublime through ball from Singh. The Tawa-born defender slotted in between the legs of the goalkeeper to further extend the lead.
Mark Rudan took the opportunity to provide youngsters Callan Elliot and Gianni Stensness their Hyundai A-League debut as they both performed well when called on for Fenton and Mandi Sosa respectively as it shows the quality in numbers within the squad.
It was goals galore as Mariners found a bit of life within the game as they fought back with two goals through Jack Clisby and Stephen Mallon.
However, the scoreline proved too much of a climb for the home side. Moments before the final whistle, Singh bagged his second of the night and ensured Wellington Phoenix came away with all three thoroughly deserved points complimented by the 8-2 scoreline.
The win proved to be history making as it recorded the highest scoring game for the Wellington Phoenix as well as equaling the highest scoring Hyundai A-League game of all time.
Full highlights here.
1. Filip KURTO, 4. Mandi SOSA, 11. David WILLIAMS, 12. Antony GOLEC, 13. Liberato CACACE,15. Michal KOPCYZNSKI, 16. Louis FENTON, 18. Sarpreet SINGH, 21. Roy KRISHNA, 22. Andrew DURANTE, 23. Max BURGESS
Wellington Phoenix Substitutions
66’ OFF 16. Louis FENTON ON 17. Callan ELLIOT
80’ OFF 11. David WILLIAMS ON 7. Cillian SHERIDAN
87’ OFF 4. Mandi SOSA ON 32. Gianni STENSNESS
Central Coast Mariners Substitutions
53’ OFF 8. Michael MCGLINCHEY ON 27. Charles M'MOMBWA
60’ OFF 18. Matthew MILLAR ON 33. Lewis MILLER
77’ OFF 26. Joshua NISBET ON 17. Peter KEKERIS
Next Match details
Wellington Phoenix vs. Western Sydney Wanderers, Sunday 17th March 2019, Westpac Stadium, 7:35pm NZT