Djite fires Gold Coast past Phoenix

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Gold Coast United have beaten the Wellington Phoenix at a wet Skilled Park tonight to move up into second place.

Gold Coast had never beaten the Phoenix but they got the perfect start to rectify that record during an all action opening stanza.

After just five minutes Tahj Minniecon cut inside Wellington captain Durante, drove goalwards and played to Bruce Djite’s feet on the edge of the box. Djite’s first touch took him around Jade North and his second, on his left, drove the ball across Vukovic and into the back of the net. It was a great finish and wouldn’t be Djite’s last contribution to the game.

Just a minute a later the Phoenix thought they were level. Ifill floated in a great ball from the left to the near post, Greenacre made a run in front of the Gold Coast shirts and flicked it past Moss. He headed for the corner flag but the linesman’s flag was up. The Phoenix were adamant Kristian Rees had played him on; the replays showed they may well have had a point.

Two minutes later the Phoenix got the goal they felt they deserved. Kristian Rees looked like he would comfortably deal with a nothing long ball into the box, when under pressure from Bertos he inexplicably handled the ball. Ifill strolled up to the spot, sent Moss the wrong way and rolled the ball into the corner for his fourth goal of the season and an early share of the golden boot lead.

After a fast-paced beginning the game slowed in the mire of a congested midfield in the middle period of the first half, but as half time approached the Gold Coast lifted.

With five to go their increase in quality almost got them a goal. Culina, who’d been bright all half, made a great run from midfield to get clear and drove into the box. His perfectly rolled ball across to Djite was begging to be put past Vukovic but the Gold Coast striker lifted it over from just eight yards out to ensure the teams would head into the break level.

The second half started nothing like the first. Gold Coast had most of a sluggish opening 20 minutes but both defences looked comfortable before a piece of Bruce Djite confidence broke the deadlock. Poor defending let James Brown squeeze the ball out of a two vs. one disadvantage by the corner flag; Pantelidis was straight onto the loose ball, whipped it into the near post where the in-form Djite brilliantly flicked it straight through a surprised Danny Vukovic.

Ten minutes later Djite turned provider as the Gold Coast sealed all three points. He won the first header against a static Phoenix defence, directed it back across goal and youngster James Brown snuck in to nod past Vukovic from close range.

The last ten minutes drifted away to the final whistle to ensure Gold Coast moved into second place while the Phoenix continued their miserable away form. Just one point from a possible fifteen away from home this season means the inevitable questions about the Phoenix away from Wellington will continue.

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