Phoenix rise at home

PLAYING at home continues to suit the Wellington Phoenix, who dispatched the Newcastle Jets 2-0 at their Westpac Stadium fortress.

In the first home game of the season, the Phoenix produced a dominant display against a Jets side who failed to fire any shots.


WELLINGTON PHOENIX 2 (Tim Brown 19min, Daniel 61min)


HT: 1-0

Newcastle opened their season with a 3-2 win over the Melbourne Heart last week but never looked like getting on the score sheet in Wellington.

The Phoenix remain unbeaten this year, after they began with a 1-1 draw against Gold Coast United last weekend.

The major concern from the game for the Phoenix was when Paul Ifill limped from the field after 15 minutes as it appeared his groin injury had flared up again and he was replaced by the left-footed Daniel.

Wellington enjoyed the better of the opening stages, but didn't threaten Ben Kennedy's goal as both sides attempted to settle in to the contest.

The Phoenix broke the deadlock though after 19 minutes when a brilliant ball from Nicky Ward found Tim Brown in the centre of the box and he headed it home to open the home side's account for the day.

Ward was back in the mix as he replaced the injured Vince Lia in the midfield and produced some nice touches throughout the game.

Wellington went in to the half-time break with a 1-0 lead, but they may have regretted their inability to convert two or three other great chances that fell their way in the opening 45 minutes.

Daniel doubled the advantage for the Phoenix when he tapped in a Tony Lochhead cross from close range after an hour of play.

The goal had been brewing for the Phoenix who opened the second half with much more intent than the Jets.

Newcastle had only won once in their previous seven visits to Westpac Stadium and that record wasn't improved.

Phoenix custodian Tony Warner, who was making his debut for the club in the absence of the injured Mark Paston, wasn't given a lot of work to do but kept an assured clean sheet.

Skipper Andrew Durante, the rock of the Phoenix defence, was again in fine form and directed traffic among his back four.

Discipline was a slight issue for the Phoenix as Manny Muscat and Lochhead both collected yellow cards, while Ward was shown a second yellow, which turned in to a red late in the piece for a foul in defence.

Brown also joined Ward for an early shower as he was dealt his second yellow in injury time and the Phoenix finished with nine men.

Striker Alex Smith was also handed a Phoenix debut when he came from the bench with a few minutes left as he replaced Dani Sanchez.

The Yellow Fever supporters group held up a large "Thanks Terry'' banner before the match as tribute to former owner Terry Serepisos, who was recently declared bankrupt.

The loyal band of Phoenix fans found their voice early and were full of noise throughout the game, although the crowd figure of 7623 was slightly underwhelming.

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