Only Glory is for Phoenix
Wellington Phoenix gave their Hyundai A-League playoff hopes a boost by beating Perth Glory 4-0 at a wet and windy Westpac Stadium on Sunday night.
Wellington Phoenix gave their Hyundai A-League playoff hopes a boost by beating Perth Glory 4-0 at a wet and windy Westpac Stadium on Sunday night. Goals from Nick Ward, Dylan Macallister, Vince Lia and Chris Greenacre had the Yellow Fever fans singing the home side-s praises. but it took a halftime pep talk from coach Ricki Herbert to kick-start the scoring spree. Ward, gave his team the perfect start by putting them ahead after only 10 minutes and while it was a scrappy goal - Ward-s header hitting the crossbar and the ball bouncing into the net off Perth goalkeeper Tando Velaphi -- it was the confidence booster the Phoenix needed. Conditions made life difficult for both teams and almost produced what would have been the goal of the season from the boot of Phoenix goalkeeper Danny Vukovic. Caught by the wind, Vukovic-s long clearance bounced over Velaphi and hit the crossbar with Macallister just failing to connect with the rebound. How the Yellow Fever fans loved it, and for the rest of the half cries of “shoot” went up whenever Vukovic got the ball. The first half belonged to the Phoenix, but all they had to show for their dominance was Ward-s goal and just before the break they had a let off when Branko Jelic missed with a near-post header from five metres. Herbert asked his players for more conviction in the second half and they responded. Macallister gave them the boost they needed within three minutes, hammering home a 22-metre free kick that took a slight deflection on the way past Velaphi. Young Marco Rojas, who has made a big impression in recent home games, was again proving difficult for defenders to handle and it was his scintillating run down the left flank that set up a rare goal for Lia, who had scored only once before for the Phoenix. Lia added his touch of class to the goal by flicking the ball up and volleying it into the net, giving Velaphi no chance. Greenacre, who replaced the hard-working Macallister in the 64th minute, completed the scoring in the 90th minute heading home powerfully with Lia this time the provider with an inch-perfect cross from the right. “It was a job well done,” Herbert said. “I told the players at halftime that we had controlled the game but had lacked the conviction to put them away. “I got the type of response that was needed and while it got a little scrappy late in the piece, which wasn-t surprising considering the conditions, overall it was a good effort.” Herbert also felt that the return from injury of Tony Lochhead had played a part in the Phoenix-s recent improved form. “If you are going to play wide players as we like to do the fullbacks have to support a little higher up the pitch. “For me Tony is the best in the league at doing that from an aerobic point of view and he can do it for 90 minutes. “I don-t think he got out of first gear in the first half but it was a different story in the second half and that gave Marco the opportunity to do what he-s really good at.”