Hyundai A-League - 2012/2013 - Season 8

Wellington edge Perth
to score first win of 2013
By Jeremy Ruane
with the compliments of

2012/2013 Hyundai A-League - Round 19
5pm, Saturday 2 February, 2013
at Eden Park, Auckland, NZ

Wellington Phoenix FC 1
(Jeremy Brockie 41')
Perth Glory FC 0

Wellington Phoenix scored their first win of 2013 at Eden Park on February 2nd, edging Perth Glory 1-0 in front of 11,566 fans - the club’s biggest home game since their opening match of this Hyundai A-League campaign.

Perth enjoyed the better of the opening exchanges, with Steven McGarry volleying wildly over the bar after Wellington failed to deal with Liam Miller’s ninth minute corner, while Travis Dodd was allowed to steal in between two defenders and steer Adrian Zahra’s cross into the near post side-netting two minutes later.

Wellington gradually settled, with Vince Lia – guilty of a number of lazy passes throughout proceedings – creating their first opening of the game in the thirteenth minute, his pressure culminating in a cross to Stein Huysegems, who held the ball up well before steering it into the stride of Paul Ifill.

While his cross forced a succession of corners on this occasion, the Barbados international was at the heart of a fine Wellington move six minutes later. Isaka Cernak made the initial thrust down the left before linking with Lia and Manny Muscat.

He spread play across to the other flank, where Leo Bertos and Ifill were marauding with menace. The overlapping fullback’s back-heeled pass to the striker resulted in a drive which flashed narrowly past the near post – how Wellington have missed their talisman’s enterprise and explosiveness during his injury-enforced absence.

Ifill’s inventiveness bamboozled two Perth players in the 22nd minute, and it was only the alertness of Michael Thwaite which prevented his cross from reaching Jeremy Brockie, the defender’s headed clearance sparking a counter-attack which saw Nick Ward send Chris Harold haring in behind Wellington’s spread-eagled rearguard to leave himself with just the advancing Mark Paston to beat.

The sight of the ball creeping narrowly past their ‘keeper’s right hand post was met with an immense sigh of relief from Wellington’s supporters, as Harold put his hands to his head in despair at having missed a glorious chance to open the scoring.

After Huysegems and Brockie had respectively steered crosses from debutant Ian Hogg and the well-performed Cernak past the posts, Wellington opened the scoring four minutes before half-time in a manner not too dissimilar to that with which they had threatened Perth’s goal nineteen minutes earlier.

Cernak’s powerful run down the right saw him taking on all-comers before he was afforded support from Lia. The midfielder switched play to Ifill, this time roaming down the left, and he jinked inside before clipping another tantalising cross into the danger zone.

This time, Thwaite and fellow central defender Jack Clisby were beaten by the flight of the ball, and they looked round in horror to see Brockie stealing in behind them to head home past Danny Vukovic from point-blank range – 1-0 Wellington, much to the fans’ delight.

Perth clearly endured a half-time rev-up from coach Ian Ferguson, for they were easily the more attack-minded side after the interval. Timely tackles from Hogg and Andrew Durante thwarted Zahra and Dodd on separate occasions before the hour mark, while Paston was right behind an eighteen yard effort from Zahra on the hour, soon after both he and Harold had received treatment after colliding near the edge of the penalty area.

Paston then smothered a deflected thirty yarder from the solidly performed Clisby as the visitors continued to press for the leveller, with the ‘keeper forced to intervene again twenty minutes from time as Dodd threaded a ball through for both Harold and Josh Risdon to pursue.

Immediately, Paston launched a counter-attack, his raking clearance allowing substitute Louis Fenton to run at the retreating Perth rearguard. The youngster’s rasping drive flashed past the post, moments after he had invited Ifill to increase Wellington’s lead, the striker’s 67th minute chipped effort being grabbed greedily by Vukovic, who was to feature at the other end of the field in the dying stages of the match.

Prior to that, however, Perth continued to press, Miller going close with a curling effort after combining with McGarry in the 71st minute. Seven minutes later, Miller linked with Dodd, whose teasing cross beyond the far post found Harold hurtling in with one thing on his mind – scoring. Unfortunately for the wide man, his header careered across the face of goal.

With five minutes remaining, Harold was in again, Thwaite having lobbed the ball in behind Wellington’s defence to leave him with just Paston to beat. That was until the retreating figure of Ben Sigmund produced a timely hooked clearance to frustrate Perth once more.

Wellington had hardly featured as an attacking force during the second spell, but when they did, it was Ifill who was the player creating chaos in Perth’s defence. In the 89th minute, he slalomed his way in-field from near the corner flag, leaving three defenders trailing in his wake before unleashing a curling effort which crept inches past the far post – it was a sure-fire ‘Goal of the Season’ contender had the ball ended up in its intended destination.

Cue a grandstand finale, with Vukovic joining his team-mates in Wellington’s penalty area as Perth went all out for a dramatic equaliser from any set-piece they could fashion. But the home team held firm, and could well have caught the visitors on the counter-attack in stoppage time – only a desperate goal-line clearance by the retreating figure of Risdon prevented Cernak’s long-range effort from doubling Wellington’s lead.

But their lone-goal margin was enough, Wellington’s 1-0 win allowing the last-placed team to leap-frog Perth on the table and revive their play-off hopes – such is the closeness of the standings that they are just a point outside the top six after this much-needed, long-awaited, welcome and vital victory.

2012/2013 Hyundai A-League - Round 19
5pm, Saturday 2 February, 2013
at Eden Park, Auckland, NZ

Wellington Phoenix FC 1
(Jeremy Brockie 41')
Perth Glory FC 0

    Crowd: 11,566


    Wellington Phoenix FC :
    Player listing:
    Paston (gk); Bertos (Sanchez +75'), Sigmund, Durante, Hogg; Lia, Cernak, Muscat; Brockie (Boyd +88'), Huysegems (Fenton +61'), Ifill

    Substitutes not used: Moss (rgk)

    Coach: Ricki Herbert

    Yellow Cards: Ben Sigmund 60', '

    Red Cards: Nil

    Perth Glory FC :
    Player listing:
    Vukovic (gk); Risdon, Thwaite, Clisby, Jamieson (Heffernan +86'); Zahra (Nagai +62'), Miller, McGarry, Harold; Ward (Pantelidis +70'), Dodd

    Substitutes not used: tba (rgk)

    Coach: Ian Ferguson

    Yellow Cards: Scott Jamieson 85'
    Red Cards:Gallaway 54'

    Referee: Adam Kersey 4/10
    Assistants: Jan-Hendrik Hintz, Glen Lochrie; 4th Official: Peter O'Leary

    3. Paul Ifill (WP)
    2. Isaka Cernak (WP)
    1. Chris Harold (PG)

    Pitch rating: 10/10 - best sports ground in NZ by some distance

    Game rating: 6/10

    Match Report and ratings: By Jeremy Ruane

Disclaimer: The content of this report is the responsibility of the writer. Stats are either as recorded by the writer at the game, or as supplied by FFA, or a mixture - no responsibility can be taken for their compete accuracy although we do strive for that. Any photos used here, are as attributed.

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