Football 3 years ago

Wanderers edge Phoenix in 2-1 thriller

  • Wanderers edge Phoenix in 2-1 thriller

Western Sydney has won four successive A-League matches for the first time in two years, edging Wellington 2-1 in a free-flowing and entertaining encounter.

Mark Bridge slotted the Wanderers' late winner on Saturday to complement Federico Piovaccari's earlier effort and eliminate Manny Muscat's first-half equaliser.

Piovaccari, the man who could not manage a single goal in his first five A-League matches, made it two from two games at Pirtek Stadium and appeared to finally be hitting his straps.

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The Italian marquee showed the 14,426 crowd an improved workrate, and was more often than not in position for his teammates when it mattered against the Phoenix.

Piovaccari was there when in-form playmaker Mitch Nichols sprinted and switched out wide then crossed into the box, though he sliced it high.

And he was there when the Wanderers showed their counter-attacking class.

Kiwi international Michael McGlinchey pinged a fantastic free-kick that would have found the top corner had goalkeeper Andrew Redmayne not made a valiant leap and got fingers to it.

The ricochet fell to Nichols, who offloaded to Bridge to dart unchallenged down the park and cross for Piovaccari to poke it home.

Skipper Nikolai Topor-Stanley went within a whisker of making it 2-0 via a well-done cross from the left-hand touchline that skimmed the top of the crossbar, while high-playing fellow defender Scott Jamieson orchestrated an opportunity for Mark Bridge only for Phoenix keeper Glen Moss to be alive to the danger.

The night would have belonged to Jamieson, had his ensuing screamer not been disallowed due to a Piovaccari foul.

Moments later Muscat belted in Wellington's equaliser with a fabulous finish that sailed across the face of goal and tucked inside Redmayne's back post.

There were moments when Wellington hung on by the skin of their teeth, no more so than when the Wanderers had four clear first-half chances inside five minutes.

But they defended well and Roly Bonevacia was in superb form, at one point he weaved through a swag of defenders in the Wanderers' third and very nearly laid a goal on a platter for Roy Krishna.

Early in the second half Louis Fenton replaced Ben Sigmund after the defender worryingly collapsed off the ball, the Phoenix confirming afterwards he has been unwell all week with a virus.

Goals threatened at each end throughout the second half, especially so for the Phoenix when substitute Alex Rufer's half-volley hit the post.

But the moment came for the Wanderers in the 86th minute.

Seconds after Castelen's blistering on-target cross was blocked, Bridge found space on the edge of the six-yard box to seal the game.

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