The Wellington Phoenix have put on a clinical performance last night, dominating Macarthur FC on their home turf to register an emphatic 3-0 victory in the Club’s final game of the season.
The first half looked destined to be a scoreless affair, until a David Ball goal just before the whistle put the visitors up 1-0. Second-half goals to Tomer Hemed and Ben Waine contributed to the final score line, with Macarthur clearly missing the presence of their leading goal scorer Matt Derbyshire up front.
Wellington makes one change to their Starting XI from the previous match, bringing in Ulises Davila in place of Ben Waine.
Meanwhile the Bulls elected to rest Derbyshire and bench Markel Susaeta, with Tommy Oar and Michael Ruhs taking their respective places.
Here’s the key moments from this match:
8’ – Ball strikes
Reno Piscopo gathers the ball on the left side and delivers it into a waiting David Ball in the centre of the box; his turn-around attempt is close but off target to the right of goal.
11’ – Piscopo on the left
Piscopo finds himself alone on the left-hand side, this time attempting his own shot which is on target - however Macarthur’s goalkeeper Adam Federici is well-positioned to save the attempt.
41’ – Davila turns defence into offence
Ulises Davila causes the turnover and takes the ball to the top of Macarthur’s box, launching a strong attempt which is close on the Bull’s goal but veers to the left.
45’+1 – GOAL: Ball on target (1-0)
Wellington takes a deserved lead for the first time in this match, spearheaded by Davila causing the fast break – the captain getting it ahead to Hemed, who delivers a superb backheel pass to a trailing Ball – the latter’s attempt hitting the back of the net to give him his sixth goal this season and Hemed’s third assist.
Half Time – Wellington Phoenix 1, Macarthur FC 0
The first half has been dominated by Wellington on attack – the visitors with 11 goal attempts (five on target) to Macarthur’s eight (two on target) and Phoenix dominating on duels; winning 30 duels to the Bulls 24 and five take-ons versus none from the Bulls.
The star of the first 45 minutes has undoubtedly been Piscopo, who has been extremely active around Macarthur’s goal area and created several chances for the Nix which haven’t been able to be converted.
46’ – GOAL: Hemed continues his goal-scoring run (2-0)
A clearance attempt by a Macarthur defender hits the chest of Davila at the top of the Bull’s box, the fortuitous bounce landing in front of Hemed - who uses some great footwork to easily put home the goal.
This is Hemed’s 11th goal of the season, continuing his recent form – he’s now scored in each of his last five matches, becoming the first Nix player to do so. This goal also gives him the best Goals Per Game average of any player in Phoenix history.
Davila also picks up his team-leading seventh assist of the season, albeit unintentionally.
57’ – Puyo sees red
Loic Puyo and Davila both challenge for a ball; Puyo striking Davila’s knee with his studs in the process. VAR checks it out and issues Puyo a red card for his troubles, leaving Macarthur down to 10 men for the remainder of the match.
71’ – Hemed hits the woodwork
Hemed receives an excellent ball from Ball and attempts a strong left-footed strike from outside the box; his effort hitting the crossbar with immense force.
Later on in the same play, Devlin attempts a curling strike from well outside the box, with Federici making arguably the save of the game to prevent the goal.
85’ – Hemed penalty miss
After Louis Fenton is taken down inside the box by Lachlan Rose, Hemed lines up the penalty against Federici – Hemed goes left but the Bulls goalkeeper reads it correctly and saves the goal.
90’+2 – GOAL: Waine Train leaves the station (3-0)
A recently subbed on Ben Waine takes a pass inside the box, avoiding teammate Louis Fenton and delivering a strike which glances off of Federici and into the Bulls’ goal.
This is Waine’s seventh goal of the season, while Ball gets his fourth assist.
Full Time – Wellington Phoenix 3, Macarthur FC 0
Wellington finishes their season strong with a dominating 3-0 win on the road. This victory - their 10th of the campaign - extends their club-record unbeaten streak to 11 matches, with the Phoenix also claiming their sixth clean sheet of the season.
The match saw stand-out performances from Piscopo, Hemed and Ball, as well as another great defensive effort from the Phoenix backline.
Wellington also dominated statistically, with 24 attempts on goal (11 on target, three of these to Hemed) to Macarthur’s 13 (three on target); Wellington hitting the woodwork twice and created three big chances versus none from the Bulls.
Following the match, Phoenix coach Ufuk Talay was bittersweet about the win.
“That’s 11 games now that we’ve been unbeaten, so at the end of the day I’m disappointed but earlier in the season is what has hurt us the most,” said Talay.
“Knowing tonight’s game and getting three points that we weren’t going to make the top six by one point is disappointing; but it was a very good performance from the players, a very professional performance.”
Wellington Phoenix squad: 6.Tim PAYNE, 7.Reno PISCOPO, 8.Cameron DEVLIN, 9.David BALL, 10.Ulises DAVILA, 16.Louis FENTON, 17.Tomer HEMED, 19.Sam SUTTON, 20.Oliver SAIL, 23.Clayton LEWIS, 27.Steven TAYLOR (c)
Macarthur FC squad: 1.Adam FEDERICI (gk), 2.Jake McGING, 5.Mark MILLIGAN (c), 7.Ivan FRANJIC, 11.Tommy OAR, 12.James MEREDITH, 14.Moudi NAJJAR, 15.Aleksandar SUSNJAR, 19.Michael RUHS, 24.Charles M’MOMBWA, 29.Antonis MARTIS
Wellington Phoenix Substitutes
76’ ON 11.Jaushua SOTIRIO OFF 10.Ulises DAVILA
78’ ON 14.Alex RUFER OFF 23.Clayton LEWIS
89’ ON 18.Ben WAINE OFF 7.Reno PISCOPO
Macarthur FC Substitutions
46’ ON 21.Jake HOLLMAN OFF 7.Ivan FRANJIC
46’ ON 10.Loic PUYO OFF 11.Tommy OAR
63’ ON 22.Liam ROSE OFF 12.James MEREDITH
73’ ON 31.Lachlan ROSE OFF 24.Charles M’MOMBWA
81’ ON 17. Kyle CIMENTI OFF 14.Moudi NAJJAR
45’+1 David BALL (Wellington Phoenix)
46’ Tomer HEMED (Wellington Phoenix)
90’+2 Ben WAINE (Wellington Phoenix)