Phoenix celebrate 10 years in the Hyundai A-League

Ten years ago today, Wellington Phoenix played their first Hyundai A-League match.

On Sunday 26 August 2007, the newly created franchise welcomed defending champions Melbourne Victory to Westpac Stadium for their historic first fixture.

A decade on, we relive that day. 

Phoenix, Victory - 2007.


Wellington Phoenix : Glen Moss, Tony Lochhead, Cleberson, Karl Dodd, Steven Old, Jeremy Christie (Felipe 64), Ross Aloisi (C), Michael Ferrante, Daniel, Vaughan Coveny Royce Brownlie 76), Shane Smeltz

Substitutes not used: Jacob Spoonley, Richard Johnson

Coach: Ricki Herbert

Melbourne Victory: Michael Theo, Kevin Muscat (C), Rodrigo Vargas, Daniel Piorkowski, Joseph Keenan, Grant Brebner, Leigh Broxham, Carlos Hernandez (Kaz Patafta 58), Danny Allsopp, Archie Thompson (Adrian Caceres 78), Ljubo Milicevic (Matthew Kemp 32).

Substitutes not used: Eugene Galekovic

Coach: Ernie Merrick

Referee: Mark Shield

Kick-off: 4pm NZT


Mark Paston was set to start in goal for Wellington but the day before the game, in the side’s final training session, he was kneed in the head by young striker Greg Draper.

With Paston ruled out, international team-mate Glen Moss came into the starting side and eventually played all but one of Wellington’s 21 matches in their inaugural season.

Wellington (2007)


The visitors dominated the opening stages of the game and were rewarded after 19 minutes.

Brazilian defender Cleberson handled in the penalty area and the ever-reliable Kevin Muscat stroked the resulting penalty past Moss into the top right-hand corner.


On the hour-mark, Victory scored a second goal after great build-up work from Joseph Keenan.

The Englishman carved through the middle of the Wellington defence before laying off the ball for Danny Allsopp who slotted home for 2-0.

Victory score.


With the clock ticking down, the Phoenix got a foothold back in the match when Brazilian Daniel headed in the club’s first Hyundai A-League goal from a Michael Ferrante corner in the 79 th  minute.

Five minutes later, Shane Smeltz scored the first of his 92 Hyundai A-League goals, when he met a deep cross from Tony Lochhead and looped a header over Mike Theo with the aid of a slight deflection from Matthew Kemp.

The stadium was buzzing. What a finish this game had. 



With the game on a knife-edge and time almost up, substitute Royce Brownlie had the chance to become a cult hero when he arrowed in on goal from the right.

However, while his shot beat the Victory custodian, it struck the outside of the far post and bounced away to safety to the agony of the 14421-strong crowd.

A pulsating game finished level at 2-2 shortly afterwards.


The famous Yellow Fever tradition of removing shirts when the team is ahead after 80 minutes wasn’t seen in the club’s opening game because Wellington didn’t have the lead at that point.

Yellow Fever.

It wasn’t until round four, away at Sydney FC that the celebrated custom was started when a small band of travelling fans disrobed with their side 2-1 ahead with ten minutes to go, a lead they held for their first ever Hyundai A-League win.