First-half treble sees Phoenix trump Sydney
Wellington Phoenix have won 3-1 against a lacklustre Sydney FC side at Allianz Stadium.
A dominant first-half display from the visitors saw goals come from Blake Powell, Hamish Watson and Roly Bonevacia. Sydney’s lone goal came in the second half from Filip Holosko.
After losing to Melbourne City last week, Sydney made a host of changes to their starting eleven. Seb Ryall and Rhyan Grant returned to the back four, while David Carney, Robert Stambolziev and Shane Smeltz added some much needed firepower up front.
For the Phoenix, coach Ernie Merrick only made two alterations as experienced defender Ben Sigmund returned for his first start since November, while Blake Powell slotted into the side in place of Matthew Ridenton.
Wellington opened the scoring the 12th minute after poor clearance from Rhyan Grant was picked up by Blake Powell who did well to spin around inside the box and place the ball past Janjetovic for the game’s first goal.
Barely a minute later the visitors doubled their lead through Hamish Watson. Roly Bonevacia played a perfectly weighted through ball for Watson who broke away from the Sydney defenders and scored with a composed strike into the bottom corner.
Sydney’s afternoon went from bad to worse in the 24th minute after Serbian midfielder Milos Ninkovic was substituted off after sustaining an ankle injury that left him in some discomfort.
Ninkovic’s replacement Filip Holosko looked to inject some life into the Sydney FC attack as he set up Robert Stambolziev for a shot in the 28th minute, but the young winger’s effort sailed wide of the goal.
The Phoenix took full control of the game as they found a third goal in the 37th minute after Michael McGlinchey’s low cross trickled through for Roly Bonevacia who was unmarked at the far post to fire the ball home.
Wellington entered the half-time break the happier of the two sides with the 3-0 scoreline leaving the Sky Blue fans stunned.
Graham Arnold’s half-time talk appeared to lift the spirits of the Sydney players as they eventually found the back of the net in the 51st minute. After a dangerous cross from Stambolziev on the left wing, the ball fell to Filip Holosko who lashed the ball home for his seventh goal of the season.
Majority of the second half saw Sydney desperately try to break down Wellington’s defensive structure as they held onto hopes of a comeback, but after Holosko’s goal they struggled to find a breakthrough.
The full-time whistle sounded with Wellington claiming victory with an overall impressive performance as Sydney slip further away from the top six.
Sydney FC, who are now eight games without a win, will look to turn things around against the Mariners next week, while the Phoenix host Perth Glory in the Distance Derby.
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