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Krishna double sparks Phoenix A-League win

NZN 5/11/2016 Cathy Walshe

Roy Krishna's double may have given Wellington Phoenix their first win of the A-League season, but their vastly improved defensive effort was what caught coach Ernie Merrick's eye.

Krishna's first-half brace on Saturday was enough for the Phoenix to break a winless run that extended four matches into last season.

Merrick paid tribute to his back four, who rebounded impressively from last week's 6-1 blowout loss to Melbourne Victory.

The return of central defender Marco Rossi from injury was key, but Wellington still had to work hard in the closing minutes at Westpac Stadium to secure their first clean sheet in 18 A-League games.

"Coming off a 6-1 defeat and a run of four losses, I think the boys really enjoyed that," Merrick said.

"To get a back line that's very steady and kept a clean sheet, that's the platform for moving forward.

"Once you've got that type of defence, then you can attack more."

After a solid start to the season, the Jets have conceded back-to-back 2-0 losses, with Saturday's result mirroring last week's defeat to Sydney FC.

Coach Mark Jones said it was disappointing to concede two soft goals.

"We could have got numbers back behind the ball, doubled up out wide and prevented the first one," he said.

"The second one was clearly a mistake, hanging on to the ball too long in the middle of the park.

"It put the centre back under pressure and we conceded a silly soft goal when we probably had the dominance of possession at that point."

Despite sitting 10th on the ladder, with one goal from four games, the Phoenix had little trouble dominating sixth-placed Newcastle.

Kosta Barbarouses and Gui Finkler found their best form of the season, creating plenty of space in the front third with a slick passing game.

Barbarouses played a key role in Krishna's first goal, breaking clear down the left and firing in a stinging strike from just inside the box.

Jets keeper Jack Duncan could only parry the shot, and Krishna slid the rebound home.

Wellington's high-pressing game again paid dividends with halftime approaching.

Barbarouses broke clear, this time down the middle, sliding a sweet pass for Krishna to slam into the top of the net.

The 29-year-old Fijian striker has scored all three of Wellington's goals in their opening five matches.

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