Wellington special youngster’s stunning free kick helps Phoenix put Western to the sword

Wellington Phoenix v Western United - Highlights | Liberty A-League 2023-23 | Round 04

A stunning free kick from young Wellington Phoenix star Macey Fraser has helped the New Zealand side to a statement-making 3-1 defeat of Western United.

Fraser’s first-half set piece set the seal on a stylish performance from the 21-year-old and was sandwiched by an opening strike from Chloe Knott and a late own goal from Keiwa Hieda, giving Phoenix their third consecutive win of the season despite Chloe Logarzo’s stunning late consolation strike.

United were left bemused as to how they didn’t capitalise on a powerful start as their physicality dominated the contest, seeking to hit Hannah Keane and Chloe Logarzo with a succession of early forward passes. For a period they had Phoenix penned in, and Rylee Foster had to make a smart save from Khali Johnson.

SILKOWITZ: Roar keeper’s inspiring performance salvages a point for Brisbane in Mariners stalemate

Perhaps a turning point in the game came shortly after when Keane and Logarzo combined to set up Adriana Taranto – but free on the penalty spot, the United midfielder’s powerful drive struck the cross bar.

Macey Fraser of the Phoenix celebrates her freekick with teammates.

Reprieved, Phoenix found their feet and began to ensnare Western in a succession of elegant passing moves. Finally, just past the half hour, Wellington found the breakthrough through Chloe Knott. The goal was simple – a well-delivered corner that landed at Knott’s feet to stab home, but the move that earned the corner showcased Phoenix’s willingness to craft the ball from one side to the other, with Fraser at the centre of things.

The three-year contract given to the 21-year-old in August shows how highly Fraser is regarded at Wellington, and with 41 minutes gone she produced a moment of class to lift the crowd at Porirua Park.

Taranto was penalised for a clumsy foul on Michaela Foster, and Fraser sized up the opportunity before driving a stunning freekick into the top corner of the net.

Phoenix were bubbling by this stage, but Western used the break to refocus and again sought quick, direct attacks. Foster saved well from Keane, then Jaclyn Sawicki missed a golden chance, stabbing wide as the goal gaped.

With 15 minutes left Phoenix sealed the win though, Hieda getting her angles all wrong and heading a corner past her own goalkeeper, and Logarzo’s late effort, a swirling, looping drive from outside the box, came too late for United to salvage anything from the contest.


There’s a lot of hype around Macey Fraser, and the crowd at Porirua Park got to see why. Fraser was central to Phoenix’s progressive football, the quick passing very easy on the eye. But nothing was as eye-catching as the moment just before halftime when Fraser stood in a trio of players over the ball for Phoenix’s free-kick just outside the box.

Michaela Foster ran over it as a dummy, then Fraser swept the ball up and over the wall with stunning technique. You get the sense there’s a lot more of these to come, because we’ve already seen what Fraser can do.

“I saw Paul point at me, so I was like, yeah I’ll take it,” Fraser said post-game.

“I’m not usually taking set-pieces for the Phoenix, so this is pretty special, to take one and put it in.

“I knew top left, I was going to have a go and see if I could put it [in the] top corner.

“There’s been a lot of days on the turf, by myself or with my friends where I’d go over that again and again.”

Wellington coach Paul Temple added: “I’m very aware she’s capable of doing that so I was screaming at her to get on the free-kick.

“It was incredible and personally I thought she was the best player on the pitch.

“The quality she showed today, in everything she did, she looked at home at this level. I thought that was her best performance overall and it was an amazing goal to cap it off.”


Rylee Foster was recalled to the Phoenix’s starting XI after injury, and the Canadian showed why with a succession of smart saves, particularly when Western were dominating the early stages. Foster’s hopes of a clean sheet were dashed by Chloe Logarzo’s late speculative effort, but the Phoenix keeper is displaying the form that made Liverpool sign her, before the catastrophic car crash that changed her life. Phoenix’s decision to offer her a career lifeline is looking very astute.