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WSW demolish Nix for first Spotless win

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 19/03/2017 Emma Kemp
Brendon Santalab of the Wanderers celebrates with team mate Mitch Nichols after scoring his second goal during the round 23 A-League. © Brendon Thorne/Getty Images Brendon Santalab of the Wanderers celebrates with team mate Mitch Nichols after scoring his second goal during the round 23 A-League.

It took five months and seven attempts, but Western Sydney have finally broken their Spotless Stadium curse.

The Wanderers disposed of a hapless Wellington 3-1 to mark their first win at their temporary home venue that had, until Sunday, hosted five draws and one loss.

There weren't many there to see it, but the season-low 7828 crowd were rewarded with Brendon Santalab's 33rd and 34th goals for the club, which take the 34-year-old past Mark Bridge (32) as all-time leading scorer.

The result, to which Nico Martinez also contributed, lifts Tony Popovic's side to 28 points, five ahead of the Phoenix in seventh and four behind fifth-placed Perth.

It also caps a breakthrough week during which they claimed their first Asian Champions League points against FC Seoul in Korea.

Despite their long break, the Kiwis were outplayed and Adam Parkhouse was bizarrely substituted on 30 minutes after coming off second-best to Jumpei Kusukami.

The speedy Japanese winger gave several opponents a roasting, yet his industry was plagued by poor decision-making and yielded little more than a bruised post.

Brendon Santalab missed a header and Jack Clisby was twice denied by Phoenix gloveman Glen Moss as the Wanderers bore down upon the visitors.

However, Moss had no answer to Martinez.

The Argentine playmaker ripped a first-time finish into the right corner after Scott Neville poked him the ball at the top of the box.

They were given a generous helping hand by Wellington's woeful defence, which contributed to Santalab's goals either side of halftime.

Yellow shirts were too slow to track Mitch Nichols as he fled downfield and pinged a nice pass to the veteran striker, who took a dummy touch with his right boot before shooting with his left.

After the break, Clisby crossed across the face of goal for Martinez, who cut back to Santalab for a header to seal his second double in as many games against the Phoenix.

The game had all the makings of a whitewash, and Terry Antonis should have resumed the slaughter when he dragged a shot wide of an open goal on the counter-attack.

But Gui Finkler ensured it wouldn't be so with 15 minutes to play, curling a free-kick past the wall and a diving Vedran Janjetovic at the far post.

Lucky for the Wanderers, the lifeline amounted to nothing and Finkler's second free-kick on 87 minutes was awry.

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