Wellington Phoenix crushed by Wanderers

New Plymouth was the venue as a poor Wellington Phoenix side was taken apart by Western Sydney Wanderers in a 3-1 loss.

It was all Sydney from the off and they were awfully unlucky not to be ahead in the 11th minute.

Brendan Santalab found himself in acres of space and, after comfortably stroking past Glen Moss, was called back for offside. In a truly dreadful piece of refereeing, all Sydney players were no less than a yard onside.

As it was though they wouldn’t have to wait long to find the lead.

Martinez was the provider as Brendan Santalab pulled off of the shoulder of Andrew Durante and again struck past Moss and into the back of the net. There was no offside whistle this time and the home side were in all sorts of trouble.

Wanderers pressed for a second as the half continued, dominating possession in emphatic fashion, whilst limiting the ‘Nix to mere scraps in the defensive end.

Barbarouses saw an effort hit the side of Vedren Janjetovic’s net, but that would be as close as they came.

They were lucky to be only one down as the sides headed into the break.

Shane Smeltz’s half volley forced Janjetovic into his first meaningful save of the match early in the second half, and with the striker’s looping header just moments later, it appeared as though they were finding their feet in the match.

That hope was quashed soon after however as Martinez comfortably finished from just six yards out to double Wanderers’ lead.

From then on it was all Sydney, and true to form a third wasn’t far away.

A sloppy Phoenix defence left an unmarked Brendan Santalab in space in the box and the 34-year-old made no mistake dispatching his second of the night to give the Wanderers a 3-0 buffer.

The Phoenix were handed a lifeline soon after as Gui Finkler forced a handball inside the box with 20 minutes remaining. Shane Smeltz buried the resulting penalty for his 90th A-League goal, tying him level with Archie Thompson at second on the all-time goalscorers list.

At 3-1 the glimmer of hope faded away as Smeltz was sent off following his second caution with fifteen minutes remaining.

With 10 men and time running short Wellington were unable to find a way back into the game, succumbing to a 3-1 loss on the night.

The result takes Western Sydney temporarily into the top five, with a home match against the Mariners next on the agenda.

The home side will be bitterly disappointed with their effort, and will need a massive improvement if they are to trouble Sydney FC on Thursday night.

Wellington Phoenix: 1
Western Sydney Wanderers: 3

Stadium: Yarrow Stadium

Referee: Adam Fielding
Assistant Referees: Glen Lochrie & Mark Rule
Fourth Official: Matthew Conger

Wellington Phoenix: 1. MOSS, Glen (GK) 2. TRATT, Jacob 4. BONEVACIA, Rolieny (7. FINKLER, Guilherme 52’) 8. RODRIGUEZ Alex 9. BARBAROUSES, Kosta 13. ROSSI, Marco 17. LIA, Vince (23. RIDDENTON Matthew 87’) 19. DOYLE Tom 21. KRISHNA Roy 22. DURANTE, Andrew (C), 99. SMELTZ Shane
Substitutes: 5. LOWRY, Ryan 10. McGLINCHEY, Michael 11. WATSON, Hamish R, 20. ITALIANO, Lewis

Western Sydney Wanderers:  20. JANJETOVIC, Verdran 3. CLISBY, Jack 5. HAMILL, Brendan 8. DELGADO, Demas (c) 11. SANTALAB, Brendon (29. GRIFFITHS, Ryan 88’)14. KUSUKAMI, Jumpei 15. BACCUS, Kearyn 18. CORNTHWAITE, Robbie. 22. ASPRO, Jonathan 24. ANTONIS, Terry (16. SOTIRIO, Joshua 80’)
Substitutes: 1. TYSON, Jerrad (GK) 2. COLE, Shannon 13. PRATARES, Bruno

Featured image credit: Steve Cristo

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