Wellington Phoenix ensured there were plenty of smiling Phoenix fans as they won 5-0 against Central League Champions, Napier City Rovers, in front of 1800 fans inside the Central Energy Trusts Arena.
The stage was set for a fantastic day of football as Wellington Phoenix were involved in the curtain raiser for the Central League Play-off between Palmerston North Marist FC and North Wellington.
The game began at quite a high tempo and it didn’t take long until Nathan Burns broke the deadlock with a cracking header looping over Napier’s Mackenzie Waite.
The team then grew with confidence and it showed as Tom Doyle played a great ball into triallist, Yoo Byung Soo. He couldn’t bring it down quick enough, volleying high over the bar.
Moments later, Yoo was involved again in an attack delivering a magnificent lofted ball into Roy Krishna’s path, who did well to keep it down and volleyed it into the top of the net to double the scoring.
Central League Champions Napier City Rovers, struggled to find a foothold in the game as they attacked down the wings, coming up against Doyle and Michał Kopczyński who broke down their promising attacks.
Another opportunity for the Nix came about as Doyle travelled down the left wing crossing into the box which was deflected. Yoo got a head to it directing the ball into the top left corner.
The Phoenix were in complete dominance and it didn’t look like this would be letting up. Triallist Jacob Tratt, drove forward into space and released a curling effort that went narrowly wide of Napier’s post.
Nearing the end of the first half and midfielder Kopczyński was late on a challenge putting himself in the referee’s book.
Right on half time, Doyle dribbled down the left wing, evading one defender and releasing a rasping shot which nestled into the bottom corner to make it 4-0 at the break.
Into the second half and you would expect more of the same from the Wellington side as Rudan’s men looked very comfortable on and off the ball.
Triallist Jacob Tratt, went down with an injury in the 48th minute, forcing him off to be replaced by Louis Fenton.
Napier enjoyed plenty of set pieces but the backline of Andrew Durante, Steven Taylor and Liberato Cacace remained tight and withstood their advances.
Plenty of chances came the Nix way with Doyle’s driven header getting cleared off the line. Phoenix were then rewarded a penalty with Krishna stepping up and striking home to make it 5-0.
With only minutes left, Napier received their own penalty and frontman Martin Bueno stepped up, releasing a shot to the bottom right hand corner which Filip Kurto saved well to his left.
Final whistle and the Wellington Phoenix leave with a 5-0 win leaving Rudan pleased with the result.
"The important thing is that we’re scoring goals and that improves the confidence of the players.
"Most importantly that is now two clean sheets. It was good not to concede in the last two games."
The Wellington Phoenix will now travel back to Wellington ahead of a week of training before the next fixture against a Central League Select team at Weka Park, Raumati Beach, 2:00pm kick off.
1.Filip KURTO, 2. Jacob TRATT, 7. Nathan BURNS, 9. Byung Soo YOO 15. Michal KOPZCYNSKI, 18. Sarpreet SINGH, 19. Tom DOYLE, 21. Roy KRISHNA, 22. Andrew DURANTE, 26. Liberato CACACE, 27. Steven TAYLOR.
45’ OFF 15. Michal Kopczyński ON 14. Alex Rufer
50’ OFF 2. Jacob Tratt ON 16. Louis Fenton
70’ OFF 7. Nathan Burns ON 10. David Williams