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Phoenix fire in A-League, Victory falter

NZN 17/01/2017 Cathy Walshe

The Phoenix have ended Melbourne Victory's six-game A-League winning streak in style with a 3-0 win in Wellington.

Roly Bonevacia's first-half strike on Tuesday set up a fast-paced, entertaining match, ending with late goals from Jacob Tratt and Kosta Barbarouses.

Wellington attacked from the kickoff at Westpac Stadium, Barbarouses working a smart one-two with Bonevacia inside the first minute before unleashing a stinging shot which forced a sharp save from Victory goalkeeper Lawrence Thomas.

Roy Krishna, back after missing the Central Coast game through suspension, provided the Phoenix with more variety up front, but Victory's defensive work was solid.

Spanish centre-back Alan Baro, also returning from a one-match ban, combined with Nick Ansell to give a more-settled look at the back and, although Wellington continued to force corners, they couldn't find the crucial final touch.

They finally hit the jackpot in the 35th minute, Krishna finding space down the left then pulling back a low cross for Bonevacia, at full stretch, to toe home.

Besart Berisha and Marco Rojas between them plundered five goals in Melbourne's 6-1 early-season thrashing of Wellington, but were afforded limited opportunities in the first half as Victory struggled to find their timing.

Play swung from one end of the pitch to the other as the first half closed, a fine Thomas save denying Bonevacia from a beautiful Shane Smeltz through ball. Phoenix keeper Glen Moss was then called on to punch away a Victory set-piece strike in stoppage time.

A fired-up Victory attacked the second half with plenty of intent, but Wellington continued to push forward.

Melbourne looked to have secured the equaliser as the hour mark neared, Rojas's well-worked corner finding Leigh Broxham in acres of space out wide only for Moss to parry the powerfully struck volley wide.

Five minutes later, Berisha found the net, but was denied for offside.

Wellington continued to pressure Thomas mightily, the Victory keeper yellow carded for handling the ball outside his area after 70 minutes as the chances came thick and fast for the Phoenix.

Thomas made two superb late saves but couldn't keep out Tratt's 90th-minute header from a superb McGlinchey cross, then Barbarouses let fly with a 93rd-minute bullet from long range to put the icing on the cake.

For the seventh-placed Phoenix, it is their fifth win of the season while, for Victory, it is just their third loss.

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