The Wellington Phoenix threw a pulsating farewell party for departing striker Jeremy Brockie at Westpac Stadium on Sunday evening as they beat defending Hyundai A-League champions Brisbane Roar 3-0.
Making the party even more exciting was that the guest of honour netted twice, once from the penalty spot, to sign off his two-and-a-half season stint with the Wellington club in style.
It has been an emotional few days for Brockie with the hint of a tear in his eyes as he looked round the dressing room at his last training session and before his final outing in the yellow and black stripes.
Everyone in the club was desperate for him to score against Brisbane and when he won a penalty for his side in the 51st minute there was no chance of anyone else taking the spot kick.
Roly Bonevacia was on penalty duty but he handed the ball to Brockie who confidently despatched it into the net off the inside of an upright.
Sixteen minutes later Brockie capped a fine Phoenix performance with the perfect party trick, producing one of his trademark spectacular strikes to give Roar keeper Jamie Young no chance and complete the scoring.
The Phoenix began with a bang by taking the lead in the fourth minute with Manny Muscat the unlikely scorer with a composed finish after being put clear.
Due to depart for South Africa to take up a lucrative contract with SuperSport United in Pretoria, Brockie said it had been a very emotional day.
“The ideal scenario for me was to firstly get three points and then to knock one in the net to top it off,” he said.
“It was a great way to finish off my career with the Phoenix and say thanks to the fans who have been fantastic to me during my time at the club.”
The Phoenix had won only two of their previous 21 meetings with the Roar but these days the Wellington side is a different proposition.
There is an air confidence about them as they play an exciting brand of attacking football.
The win capped off a fantastic eight days during which they picked up a maximum nine points to move them to second spot on the ladder.
Not surprisingly coach Ernie Merrick was delighted with his team’s effort.
“I knew we would be tired after the effort we have put in over the last few days but Lee Spence (strength and conditioning coach) and Rob Lee (physiotherapist) have the boys very fit,” Merrick said.
“It hasn’t just been about the results but the way we are playing.
“We played some good football and probably could have had a couple more goals.
“The defence was rock solid again and over three games we have only conceded once while scoring seven.’
While Phoenix fans were singing “we are going to win the league” Merrick remained typically low key.
“The fans are entitled to get excited about what could happen but for us it is now about staying in the (top) four,” he said.
“Today was Brock’s day. He has been a great servant for the club and he turned in a top performance to sign off.”
Wellington Phoenix: Glen Moss, Louis Fenton (Michael Boxall 77m), Ben Sigmund, Andrew Durante, Manny Muscat, Albert Riera, Vince Lia, Michael McGlinchey (Tyler Boyd 64m), Roly Bonevacia, Alex Rodriguez, Jeremy Brockie (Jason Hicks 85m).