Phoenix rise up against Sydney FC

John Kosmina described today’s Hyundai A-League clash with the Wellington Phoenix as a ‘banana skin’ and his prophesy proved correct, with Sydney FC slipping to its first defeat of the season in the round six contest in New Zealand.

John Kosmina described today-s Hyundai A-League clash with the Wellington Phoenix as a ‘banana skin- and his prophesy proved correct, with Sydney FC slipping to its first defeat of the season in the round six contest in New Zealand.

The Sky Blues looked the better side for long periods of the match and took an early lead off the head of Alex Brosque, but in the end the Kiwi-s proved too tough and took the game 2-1.

“We knew this was a danger game coming over here,” said Kosmina. “It was important that we matched Wellington-s desperation, we didn-t do that and we paid the price.”

Having made a habit of striking an early blow, Sydney came close to claiming the lead in the 8th minute when marquee man, John Aloisi fired across the face of goal.

Sydney continued to control the play in the middle of the park and in the 20th minute its efforts were rewarded when Shannon Cole picked out Brosque with a pin-point cross, and the midfielder made no mistake with the finish, looping his header over Phoenix keeper, Mark Paston.

In the 37th minute Terry McFlynn reminded everyone of his attacking ability and it took a great effort from Paston to deny him a second long-range bomb in as many weeks.

Aloisi should have scored on the far post from the resulting corner but his point-blank shot was well blocked by a defender, and Wellington continued to ride its luck before drawing level close to the break.

Persistence eventually produced the reward for the home side, with Shane Smeltz gifted a free header in Sydney-s area and giving Clint Bolton little chance of making the save.

Referee, Chris Beath put a scare through the hosts, with Vaughan Coveny seeing red for a clumsy challenge shortly after the restart, but it proved to be an error and the official quickly revised his decision to yellow.

The travelling Sydney fans were the ones left biting their nails next when Bolton juggled a deep cross into his area but the custodian retained his composure and put his team back on the attack.

Fifty-eight minutes in Mark Bridge was unlucky not to be awarded a penalty when he was pushed to the ground in the Wellington box.

Brendon Santalab checked into the action in the 63rd, and two minutes later provided Bridge with another opportunity to score but the midfielder-s fierce shot sailed just wide of the mark.

Eleven minutes later the Sky Blues were left ruing their missed chances when, seemingly from nothing, Phoenix midfielder, Tim Brown received the ball on the edge of the box and his shot crept into the bottom left corner of Bolton-s goal.

Aloisi had a golden opportunity to equalise on the 80 minute mark but his glancing header was well managed by the Phoenix keeper, and in the 85th minute the home side again dodged a bullet when Brosque was brought down by the last line of defence, just outside the area.

The referee saw nothing in the challenge however, and despite its desperation in the closing stages Sydney couldn-t claw back the deficit and Wellington held on for a drought breaking 2-1 win.

The result adds plenty of interest to FC-s next outing.

Sydney will return home to the SFS next Saturday night and will be determined to return to the winners list against the in-form Queensland Roar.

Match Detail

Wellington Phoenix 2 Sydney FC 1

Sydney FC: 1.Clint BOLTON (gk), 2. Iain FYFE, 6. Tony POPOVIC (c), 7. Rob MIDDLEBY, 8. Stuart MUSIALIK, 10. Steve CORICA (11. Brendon SANTALAB 63-), 12. Shannon COLE, 14. Alex BROSQUE, 15. Terry MCFLYNN, 19. Mark BRIDGE (27. Matthew JURMAN 85-), 23. John ALOISI.

Substitutes Not Used: 5. Mitchell PRENTICE, 20. Ivan NECESVSKI (gk).

Yellow Cards: Musialik 79'

Red Cards: nil

Goals: Brosque 20-

Wellington Phoenix: 1. Mark PASTON (gk), 3.Tony LOCHHEAD, 5. Karl DODD, 6. Tim BROWN, 8. Vaughan COVENY (c) (10. Michael FERRANTE 70'), 9. Shane SMELTZ, 12. Richard JOHNSON, 15. Adam KWASNIK, 18. Ben SIGMUND, 21. Leilei GAO (2. Jeremy CHRISTIE 70'), 25. Manny MUSCAT.

Substitutes Not Used: 11. DANIEL, 30. Jacob SPOONLY (gk).

Yellow Cards: Coveny 48', Dodd 52', Muscat 67', Kwasnik 84'

Red Cards: nil

Goals: Smeltz 42', Brown 76'

Referee: Chris Beath Crowd: 6,729