Wellington Phoenix 3 Sydney FC 0

An understrength Sydney FC side has slid to the club's first loss in five competitive matches, going down 3-0 to Wellington Phoenix at Westpac Stadium.

An understrength Sydney FC side has slid to the club's first loss in five competitive matches, going down 3-0 to Wellington Phoenix at Westpac Stadium.

Missing no fewer than half-a-dozen squad members, including Qantas Socceroos stars David Carney and Mark Milligan, Branko Culina was so short on numbers that he selected a trialist, Cameron Watson, in Sydney FC's starting line-up.

Sydney FC goalkeeper Clint Bolton had gone 393 minutes without conceding a goal in a competitive match before being beaten twice in the space of little more than 60 seconds.

Wellington Phoenix forward Shane Smeltz scored the new Kiwi club's first competitive goal in the 13th minute, capitalising when Sydney FC failed to clear its lines. A minute later and Wellington Phoenix, playing its first serious game in New Zealand's capital city, doubled its advantage, Mark Rudan deflecting Vaughan Coveny's cross past Bolton.

Smeltz scored his second and Wellington Phoenix's third goal one minute from the death. Home skipper Ross Aloisi put Coveny through down the left and, when Bolton could only parry the Wellington-born striker's shot, Smeltz pounced on the loose ball.

Culina, whilst disappointed at seeing Sydney FC lose on Kiwi soil for the first time, is looking at the bigger picture, namely the Hyundai A-League 2007/08 Season.

"It was a pre-season game in which our priority was preparing for the coming league competition rather than the result. We need to be mindful that we've been back in training for only three weeks following our post-Champions League break and, although disappointed, we'll continue our preparations as planned," said Culina.

Wellington Phoenix 3 (Shane Smeltz 13', 89', Mark Rudan og 14') Sydney FC 0 Date: Sunday, July 22, 2007 Venue: Westpac Stadium, Wellington Referee: Peter O-Leary Crowd: 6039

Wellington Phoenix: 20. Glen MOSS (gk), 2. Jeremy CHRISTIE, 3. Tony LOCHHEAD, 4. CLEBERSON (FELIPE 90'), 5. Karl DODD, 7. Ross ALOISI (captain), 8. Vaughan COVENY, 9. Shane SMELTZ, 10. Michael FERRANTE (22. Ross BROWNLIE 75'), 11. DANIEL (Greg DRAPER 90'), 13. Steven OLD.

Substitutes not used: 15. George PALADINI, 30. Jacob SPOONLEY (gk).

Yellow cards: Michael Ferrante 1', Ross Aloisi 64', Cleberson 77'.

Sydney FC: 1. Clint BOLTON (gk), 2. Iain FYFE, 4. Mark RUDAN (captain), 7. Robbie MIDDLEBY, 9. David ZDRILIC, 10. Steve CORICA (24. Ben VIDAIC 69'), 14. Alex BROSQUE, 15. Terry McFLYNN, 18. Adam CASEY, 23. Ufuk TALAY, 25. Cameron WATSON (3. Nikolas TSATTALIOS 68').

Substitutes not used: 6. Tony POPOVIC, 30 Matthew NASH (gk).

Yellow cards: Ufuk Talay 84'.