Phoenix halt Victory winning streak

January 5, 2011

Two goals in five minutes saw Wellington Phoenix secure a 2-0 win over Melbourne Victory in their A-League clash, halting the Victory's four-game winning streak at Westpac Stadium.

It took until Dylan Macallister's 67th minute goal for the Phoenix to break the deadlock with young gun Marco Rojas adding to the tally soon after.

Towering forward Macallister had featured right throughout Wednesday's game, and it was only fair that he benefited from a superb Rojas cross into the box midway through the second spell.

Macallister rose high, and although Melbourne keeper Michael Petkovic parried the bullet header, the big striker followed up to scramble the ball home.

Five minutes later, Rojas featured again, combining with Nicky Ward and Macallister before a clinical finish from the 19-year-old striker left Petkovic sprawling.

The Phoenix had dominated early on, with Rojas, Ward and Macallister proving a slick combination. The Phoenix midfield too looked sharp, Manny Muscat in particular impressive with some scything runs down the middle.

Although the Wellington team were missing Jade North, on Socceroo duty in the Middle East, they welcomed back All Whites fullback Tony Lochhead, returning after a three-month injury break.

The Phoenix not only stretched the Victory out wide, they exploited an uncharacteristically disorganised Melbourne defence and Petkovic was under constant pressure.

Much of the reason for that would have been the missing influence of gritty captain Kevin Muscat, rested for this game.

The Victory were also without striker Robbie Kruse - another on duty with the Australian team overseas - and striker Archie Thompson was missing due to a niggling hamstring injury.

Melbourne, with four on the trot, went into the match as favourites, six points clear of the Phoenix on the table.

However, despite the Phoenix's glut of possession and an abundance of chances, the two teams went into the break scoreless.

It was more of the same in the second half, Petkovic pulling off a couple of early top-notch saves to keep the Victory in the match.

The first came in the 52nd minute when Petkovic threw himself at the feet of Andrew Durante to smother a near-certain goal, the second seven minutes later after a pinpoint Ward cross found the unlikely head of midfielder Vince Lia.

But despite Petkovic's best efforts, the Phoenix's dominance in terms of possession and territory wore down the Victory, and the goals inevitably came.

The win leaves the Phoenix in seventh place, one point shy of the sixth-placed Melbourne Heart but with a game in hand, while the Victory remain in fifth spot.