Wellington Phoenix with a dream start to the Hyundai A-League Season
The stage was set for a fantastic encounter at Westpac Stadium as Mark Rudan’s Wellington Phoenix took on Ernie Merrick’s Newcastle Jets.
Wellington Phoenix came out with purpose, wanting all three points and they didn’t disappoint.
Early in the first half, most of the promising play was channeled through David Williams and Louis Fenton down the wings. Alex Rufer then nearly scored straight from a corner only for the referee to flag for a foul in the area.
It was Newcastle’s turn to have a real shot at goal as Hoffman pulled the ball back for Ridenton whose shot went narrowly wide of Filip Kurto’s post.
Moments later and the deadlock was broken as Steven Taylor rose highest for a free kick, heading it toward goal only for Daniel Georgievski to then head it into his own net.
It was the dream start that Rudan had wished for and it gave Wellington Phoenix and the crowd confidence going forward. This time it was Williams freeing Krishna in behind the Newcastle defence, only for the away backline to clear.
Minutes before the break and Petratos unleashed a thunderous strike which went narrowly wide yet again.
Wellington Phoenix headed into the break with the lead and it was thoroughly deserved.
The teams were back on the field for the second half and it was more of the same from the home side.
Rufer was very lively in the heart of the midfield, avoiding challenges and looking to set the front three through. Mandi was also very lively in the middle of the park as he drove through the Newcastle midfield, looking to set Krishna free down the middle, but the away team beat him to it and cleared the danger.
The visitors pressed further forward and began to look dangerous on the counter as Vargas and Jair looked to drive at the Phoenix backline but Durante, Taylor and Doyle looked like they weren’t to be beaten today.
In the last third of the game, Roy Krishna drove forward and laid it off to David Williams who smashed it towards goal, deflecting and sitting up nicely for Singh who forced the ball in to the net.
The celebrations were short lived as the VAR gave the decision that Singh had used his arm and disallowed the goal and awarded Singh a yellow card for handball.
Three minutes before time and VAR went Phoenix’s way with Kaine Sheppard bringing down Mitch Nichols in the box and awarding the penalty.
Krishna stepped up, with Glen Moss saving the first attempt but the striker made sure he didn’t miss the follow up and doubled his teams lead. Krishna is now the joint leading scorer at Wellington Phoenix, equalling Paul Ifil’s record.
Five minutes into extra time and Dimitri Petratos scored to increase the nerves around Westpac Stadium but Rudan’s men defended well and earnt all three points.
1.Filip KURTO, 4. Mandi, 11. David Williams, 13. Liberato Cacace, 14. Alex Rufer, 16. Louis Fenton, 18. Sarpreet Singh, 19. Tom Doyle, 21. Roy Krishna 22. Andrew Durante, 27. Steven Taylor 18.
Wellington Phoenix Substitutions
81’ OFF 18. Sarpreet Singh ON 23. Max Burgess
81’ OFF 4. Mandi ON 8. Mitch Nichols
90’+2 OFF 11. David Williams ON 9. Nathan Burns
Newcastle Jets Substitutions
56’ OFF 8. Jair ON 14. Sheppard
64’ OFF 22. Jackson ON 13. Vujica
75’ OFF 3. Hoffman ON 11. Austin