Phoenix hold out Wanderers
Mon, 03 Dec 2012 6:56a.m.
Wellington Phoenix continued to build A-League momentum with a 1-0 win over Western Sydney Wanderers at a windswept Westpac Stadium on Sunday.
It should have been more with the Phoenix creating plenty of chances, but Jeremy Brockie's 22nd minute strike proved enough to see Wellington home and bump them three places up the ladder to fifth.
The Wanderers went into the game on something of a high, having won three of their last five matches.
But Western Sydney's problems in front of goal continued: they struggled to establish fluency or pressure in the attacking third, and couldn't add to the five goals they've scored this season.
The Wanderers' woes were exemplified in the 79th minute, when they surged forward only for Mark Bridge's powerful strike on target to cannon off the legs of Japanese import Shinji Ono and squirt wide.
Brockie, with five goals from his last four outings, looked sharp down the left early on, but there were few clear-cut chances for the home team as the well-organised Wanderers worked hard to shut down the midfield.
The All Whites striker continued to run strongly, and was rewarded in the 22nd minute as he curled in a long-range ripper from 25 metres out which caught the wind and left goalkeeper Ante Covic slipping, sliding and stranded.
The Phoenix upped the pressure, forcing a series of corners and free kicks, including one beautifully placed effort from Alex Smith as the half-hour ticked over which forced a spectacular save from a diving Covic.
The Wanderers, missing key midfielder Aaron Mooy to the Socceroos, created few chances, and couldn't manage one shot on goal in the first 45 minutes.
In contrast, the Phoenix attacking trio of Stein Huysegems, Paul Ifill and Brockie were a constant threat, finishing the first half with five shots on goal and three on target.
Sydney lifted in the second stanza, Ono always a threat at the set piece and in bringing the ball forward, while Tahj Minniecon and Bridge proved increasingly dangerous as the second half wore on.
But Wellington's defence held strong, and they looked comfortable in shutting out their second win from three starts.
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