The Wellington Phoenix have used a dominant second half against Perth Glory to record a thrilling 3-1 win last night, winning their second Distance Derby encounter against Perth this season.
After a scoreless first half for both teams, the Phoenix turned on the jets in the second with goals from Ben Waine and Louis Fenton; Jaushua Sotirio putting the nail in the coffin with a brilliant strike in the 75th minute to earn the Nix their first win at HBF Park since 2015.
With several Nix players on the injured list for this match – including Reno Piscopo and Tomer Hemed – the Phoenix welcomed the return of Steven Taylor to the starting XI; his addition the only change to the line-up that had flourished against Western United in the previous round.
Perth welcomed back their own veteran with Diego Castro coming back from injury; coach Richard Garcia electing to bring both him and Chianese off the bench for this game. Chris Ikonomidis also made his first start for the Glory this season, since returning from a serious knee injury suffered 14 months ago.
Here’s the key moments from this match:
9’ Cheeky chip from Davila
Fenton passes from the right side into Ulises Davila just outside the box; the captain attempting a crafty chip shot that fools Glory goalkeeper Liam Reddy which lands just wide of the goal.
14’ Sail Cleans up
Powerful shot from Perth’s Carlo Armiento from the left side, off an assist by Neil Kilkenny, is saved by Sail in goal - the Nix surviving a subsequent VAR check on a Glory player who went down outside the box.
24’ Fornaroli foiled in front of goal
Perth get their first big chance as the ball is passed ahead by Armiento to Fornaroli on the right side of the box, his strong attempt blocked squarely by a diving Sail to prevent a certain goal.
34’ Payne with the block
Ikonomidis runs down the right side and sees a slither of daylight for his goal attempt, only to be superbly blocked by Tim Payne on the recovery; Payne extending his team lead in blocks with his potentially goal-saving defence effort.
43’ Sotirio and Ikonomidis off target
Jaushua Sotirio takes a short pass from Ball in front of the box and attempts a powerful strike that flashes wide of the goal; a few minutes later, Ikonomidis would attempt a powerful attempt from outside the box that would similarly miss the mark – both attempts arguably the best chances to score for either side in the half.
Half Time – Wellington Phoenix 0, Perth Glory 0
The end of the first half saw both sides failing to get on the scoreboard, despite plenty of big chances from both sides that couldn’t be converted – the Phoenix looking particularly dangerous on the counter-attack.
Ball, Davila and Lewis were all active on offence with two goal attempts apiece in the half; Devlin being his trademark disruptive self in the midfield and the Nix defence doing well to contain the energy of Armiento and Ikonomidis.
51’ – Devlin hits the woodwork
Cameron Devlin takes a short pass from just outside the box from Davila, and attempts a strong kick that strikes the woodwork past an outstretched Reddy; the Nix unlucky not to have gone up 1-0 early in the second half.
56’ – GOAL: All aboard the Waine Train (1-0)
Wellington are finally rewarded for their strong second-half play with a fast break resulting in their first goal. After Davila pushed the ball up to Sotirio, he draws in Reddy away from goal – the Perth goalkeeper batting the ball back to the trailing Waine, who launches a long-distance shot which finds the back of the net.
This is Waine’s fourth goal of the season and his second goal in as many matches; also the Phoenix’s eighth long-range goal of the season - which leads the competition.
58’ – GOAL: Chianese with the equaliser (1-1)
Perth recovered quickly on offence, with the recently subbed on Chianese evading several defenders in front of goal before slotting home a rocket from outside the box - squaring things up at one apiece.
66’ – GOAL: Fenton puts it home (2-1)
After Reddy deflects a long-distance shot from Davila on the left side, Fenton gets in front of the errant ball and finishes directly in front of goal to put the Nix back up again.
This is Fenton’s second goal of the season and ninth goal of his A-League career – Fenton also scoring the club’s 500th goal in A-League history; a just reward for one of the club’s longest-tenured current players.
75’ – GOAL: Davila and Sotirio on the counter (3-1)
After a turnover by Perth, Wellington quickly goes on the counter-attack; Davila playing the through ball to a sprinting Sotirio, a perfect pass which leads to an emphatic goal from the latter. This is Sotirio’s third goal of the season and Davila’s fourth assist.
80’ Davila goal waved off by VAR
After Davila scores directly in front of goal past Reddy, the goal is waved off following a VAR check, due to an inadvertent handball by a Nix player earlier in the play.
86’ Unbelievable Save from Sail
After Chianese finds himself with the ball inside the box thanks to a pass from Kosuke Ota, his powerful effort is superbly blocked by Sail in a potential goal-saving effort.
Full Time – Wellington Phoenix 3, Perth Glory 1
The Phoenix walk away the victors for their second match in a row, taking down Perth 3-1 to pick up a vital three points and remain in the hunt for a top six position.
Despite Perth having the advantage in both possession and territory, Wellington was able to be clinical with their goal attempts – on target for 7 of their 14 goal attempts (scoring three) while the Glory were on target for only 5 of their 21 attempts (9 off target, 7 blocked).
In addition to the solid play of Davila and Ball, Sotirio left a huge imprint on the game in the second half by playing a key role in Waine’s goal and scoring one himself.
Following the match, Phoenix coach Ufuk Talay stressed the important of this win and praised the team's second-half performance.
“To get three points away in Perth, where we’re at on the table, for us it was a very important three points,” said Talay.
“I thought all three goals were very good goals, and the second-half performance – even though the first half we gave them [Perth] a couple of opportunities but Sail made some good saves for us in goal, and the opportunities we capitalised on and that was most important.
“For us to get where we want to get to – and that’s the top six – we need to win the games that we play.”
The Phoenix continue on the road for their next match, travelling to Launceston in Tasmania for their second match this month against rivals Western United FC – a team they dispatched 3-2 in Match Week 16 – on Thursday 22 April.
Wellington Phoenix squad: 6.Tim PAYNE, 8.Cameron DEVLIN, 9.David BALL, 10.Ulises DAVILA, 11.Jaushua SOTIRIO, 16.Louis FENTON, 18.Ben WAINE, 19.Sam SUTTON, 20.Oliver SAIL (gk), 23.Clayton LEWIS, 27.Steven TAYLOR
Perth Glory squad: 2.Jason GERIA, 6.Osama MALIK, 7.Chris IKONOMIDIS, 8.Kosuke OTA, 9.Bruno FORNAROLI, 10.Andy KEOGH, 20.Carlo ARMIENTO, 29.Darryl LACHMAN, 33.Liam REDDY (gk), 37.Riley WARLAND, 88.Neil KILKENNY
Wellington Phoenix Substitutes
89’ ON 5.James MCGARRY OFF 18.Ben WAINE
90+1’ ON 14.Alex RUFER OFF 10.Ulises DAVILA
90+4’ ON 21.Joshua LAWS OFF 11.Jaushua SOTIRIO
Perth Glory Substitutions
46’ ON 11.Joel CHIANESE OFF 7.Chris IKONOMIDIS
59’ ON 17.Diego CASTRO OFF 20.Carlo ARMIENTO
59’ ON 19.Callum TIMMINS OFF 6.Osama MALIK
74' ON 38.Ciaran BRAMWELL OFF 10.Andy KEOGH
56’ Ben WAINE (Wellington Phoenix)
58’ Joel CHIANESE (Perth Glory)
66’ Louis FENTON (Wellington Phoenix)
75’ Jaushua SOTIRIO (Wellington Phoenix)
Next Match details
Match Week 18: Wellington Phoenix versus Western United, UTAS Stadium in Launceston, Thursday 22 April 2021, kick-off at 7.05pm AEDT (9.05pm NZ time)