BRIAN SCIARETTA - Monday, January 30, 2012
On Sunday at Westpac Stadium, Wellington Phoenix came up with a crucial win against visiting Melbourne Heart to move into sole possession of second place in the A-League.
American Alex Smith played the full 90 for Wellington in defensive midfield to help the club win its third straight game.
It did not take long for Wellington to get on the board. In just the third minute left back Tony Lochhead sent in a cross that was poorly cleared by the defense. Forward Paul Ifill collected the ball and sent a low shot past Melbourne keeper Clint Bolton for a 1-0 Wellington lead.
Melbourne equalized in the 34th minute when Alex Terra snuck behind the Wellington defense inside the left side of the area and beat keeper Mark Paston to the far post to even score at 1-1.
In the second half, Wellington took control of the match. In the 53rd minute Tim Brown sent in a cross from the right side which found Chris Greenacre who headed it home from close range for a 2-1 lead.
In the 64th minute Wellington put the game out of reach when Paul Ifill took a beautiful pass from Brown that split the Melbourne defense. Ifill took a dribble around Bolton to the right and sent a shot into the net for a 3-1 lead.
The three points sent Wellington Phoenix past the defending champions Brisbane Roar and into second place in the A-League. The competition for second place remains important because it would guarantee a spot in the Final Series of the playoffs.
Wellington Phoenix head to Australia next Friday for a matchup against ninth place Adelaide United.