A-League

January 12, 2013

Full-time

Wellington P

0 - 2

WSFC

A-League

4:30 +00:00, January 13, 2013

Westpac Stadium, New Zealand

Wanderers outplay Phoenix for crucial win

A-League newcomers Western Sydney Wanderers underlined their A-League finals credentials with a 2-0 victory over Wellington Phoenix at Westpac Stadium on Sunday.

Fourth on the ladder despite a stuttering start to the season, the Wanderers racked up their eighth win as the Phoenix slumped to their third successive defeat.

After a dour first half in blustery conditions, goals to central defender Nikolai Topor-Stanley and striker Labinot Haliti wrapped up the well-deserved win.

Topor-Stanley's 72nd-minute glancing header broke the deadlock then striker Haliti punished a defensive lapse 10 minutes later to put the result beyond doubt.

Last time the two teams met, in similarly challenging conditions six weeks ago, the Phoenix stole a 1-0 win.

This time, Western Sydney coach Tony Popovic said the Wanderers knew how to win.

"The conditions were difficult - we had that last time we played here, and we didn't come away with anything," he said.

Since that defeat in early December, Western Sydney have lost only once - 2-0 to Central Coast last week - and have grown in confidence with every win.

"Our performances have been very good, but we've been matching it with the results which is not always the case in football, where you can play well and lose. We've been able to put the two together, which is difficult."

Popovic said the Wanderers' ability to absorb pressure paid dividends against the Phoenix, who moved the ball well in the first half, but couldn't score.

"It was an even first half, but in the second half, our performance in midfield was very good," he said.

"Once we got hold the midfield, it was only a matter of time until we got a goal.

"We dominated a lot of the possession and we made the most of our opportunities."

Wellington coach Ricki Herbert was left disappointed with his team's first-half effort in creating opportunities but failing to finish.

"It was a game of two halves," he said.

"I hate that adage, but things looked good for us in the first half, but we weren't good enough in the second half.

"We're not scoring - the chances were there today and we weren't ruthless enough to put them away."

Herbert said the Wanderers were a solid, compact team, and difficult to break down.

"We just didn't get at them enough. If they're going to be vulnerable and we're at home, I think you've got to press a little more and certainly play higher up the pitch.

"We couldn't pass the ball. At the end of the day, I can only reflect on what we've done and we weren't good enough to be there."

Scoring Summary

Wellington Phoenix FC Western Sydney FC
 Nikolai ToporStanley (73')
 Labinot Haliti (83')