Wanderers fall to Phoenix

The NRMA Insurance Western Sydney Wanderers have gone down 3-1 to the Wellington Phoenix at Pirtek Stadium on Wednesday night.

The NRMA Insurance Western Sydney Wanderers have gone down 3-1 to the Wellington Phoenix at Pirtek Stadium on Wednesday night.

The match saw the return of a host of players including Shinji Ono, Tomi Juric and captain Michael Beauchamp to the side that came so close to defeating Melbourne Victory last week.

However despite scoring first and creating chances throughout the match the Wanderers were unable to hold off a fast-finishing Phoenix.

The Red and Black looked threatening from the outset and with sustained pressure and clever passing creating several early opportunities.

The best of these early opportunities came on the half hour mark when the Wanderers went close to opening the scoring.

Youssouf Hersi controlled a cross in the penalty area before neatly flicking a pass to Aaron Mooy.

Mooy-s impressive first-time volley forced a reflex save from Glenn Moss in the Phoenix goal to keep the game dead-locked with the rebound narrowly avoiding landing in an attackers- path.

Two minutes before the break a nice interchange of passing between Hersi and Mark Bridge again opened up the Wellington defence with Hersi-s shot eventually fired straight at Moss.

The home side were able to find space down both wings throughout the first half and this nearly bore fruit in the final minute of the half.

A sweeping run from Jerome Polenz ended with a well-weighted cross into the box. This was met by Shinji Ono whose header ricocheted off the under-side of the cross bar but straight down leaving the teams locked at 0-0 at the break.

The pressure continued into the second half with an Ono interception sending the Wanderers on a break just two minutes in.

His pass found Hersi in support whose shot was again saved low to the left by Moss.

The Wanderers finally took a deserved lead in the 62nd minute.

Following an extended period of possession Shinji Ono lobbed a pass over the defenders to Mark Bridge who finished sharply.

Five minutes later however the game was tied-up with a Tyler Boyd goal for the visitors.

A one-two put Stein Huysegems into space in the Wanderers penalty area and his ball across the face of goal was finished by Tyler Boyd at the back post.

Ten minutes later and Wellington took the lead with Huysegems this time the scorer.

A run into the box by the Belgian striker was finished with a shot into the bottom left hand corner.

Almost instantly Phoenix had their third and Huysegems his second with a back-heel off a Tyler Boyd cross securing the visitors the three points.

After the match, Wanderers coach Tony Popovic said his side would not dwell on the result for too long.

“We scored first and they got a good equaliser,” said Popovic.

“It-s the first time that we played at home this year and lost. We-ve got to learn from it which we will, and we-ll move on quickly.

“We certainly will learn from this experience. The players are disappointed but we-re not going to look too deep into it.

“As long as the lessons are learned, we move on to a good game against Sydney FC so we look forward to that.”

Image Credit: George Suresh