Phoenix break away hoodoo

A Tim Brown cracker has helped Wellington post their first away win of the season in a 1-0 victory over Perth Glory at nib Stadium on Sunday evening.

A Tim Brown cracker has helped Wellington post their first away win of the season in a 1-0 victory over Perth Glory at nib Stadium on Sunday evening.

Brown was on hand to smash a sizzling volley into the back of the net just 42 seconds into the contest, as the Phoenix responded positively to their big loss to Brisbane during the week.

The Glory had a great chance to equalise just moments after Brown’s goal when Michael Baird was released through on goal, but Wellington and New Zealand stopper Mark Paston did well to shut him down and save his chipped effort.

Baird’s chance was about as good as things got when it came to the Glory going forward and their lack of firepower must be a real concern for interim coach Ian Ferguson as they have scored just twice in their last nine matches, having lost eight of those after a sizzling start to the campaign.

Despite the loss, the Glory still remain in eighth on the Hyundai A-League table while Wellington also stay in seventh, although the victory will be a massive confidence boost for the New Zealanders after two consecutive losses, including the 4-1 hammering by the Roar, where the Phoenix lost their 24-game unbeaten home record.

“I wouldn’t say that was in the script, but we’ll take it,” said Phoenix coach Ricki Herbert when asked about Brown’s goal.

“It was a great strike from Tim wasn’t it. I’m sure you’re not going to get a better one probably through the year, but it got the momentum going and the confidence from that kind of stemmed,” he said.

After a midweek draw with Melbourne Heart, Ferguson felt his side had turned the corner only to see Brown hit them hard so early in the contest.

“We lost an early goal and you start to see a little bit of confidence go down,” Ferguson said.

“We did have a couple of good chances ourselves. If we could have maybe put ’em away it may have changed the game for us. But losing that early goal, wasn’t good.”

Many in the crowd were still finding their seats when the Phoenix took the lead in spectacular style.

A long goal kick from Mark Paston was laid off nicely by Chris Greenacre into the path of Brown, who smashed a sizzling volley beyond a helpless Tando Velaphi.

The Glory responded well though, Scott Neville firing in a speculative effort before young midfielder Howard Fondyke brilliantly released Baird in the fourth minute.

Clear on goal, Baird attempted to chip the ball over Paston, but the Phoenix stopper had been quick seeing the danger, racing off his line and getting his hand to Baird’s effort.

In the 20th minute, Wellington came close to doubling the lead when young defender Brent Griffiths under hit a long backpass to Velaphi, giving the dangerous Paul Ifill a chance.

Ifill raced onto the ball and looked almost certain to score, but Velaphi also did well to come off his line, crowding out Ifill and deflecting the striker’s effort wide.

Ferguson was forced to change his squad around on the half-hour when Neville came off second best in a heavy collision with Vince Lia, the young defender badly corking his leg and putting himself in doubt for Wednesday’s clash with Adelaide.

But with Jamie Harnwell on as his replacement, the Glory almost created an equaliser three minutes from the break when Baird nodded over the bar under massive pressure from Paston after Fondyke had picked him out with another quality delivery.

The second half began with another good chance from Wellington as a rare mistake from Andy Todd saw Ifill gain possession to the right of goal. But, once again Velaphi did well to close down the space at the near post and Ifill could only hit his effort into the ‘keeper’s arms.

The Glory were lifting their work rate however, gaining control of possession as Wellington looked to hold onto the lead and not be caught on the break.

However, some good work in the 68th minute between Mile Sterjovski, Jacob Burns and second-half substitute Robbie Fowler, eventually saw Burns release Jamie Coyne through on goal, although the defender sent a scuffed effort straight at Paston.

But there was more pain to come for Perth ten minutes from time when Burns received a second caution for clattering into Daniel and the Glory skipper will now miss Wednesday’s clash in Adelaide.

Perth Glory 0
Wellington Phoenix 1
Crowd: 6676 at nib Stadium, Perth