Sydney rise from ashes against Phoenix

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On another wet Sydney evening, just 4012 attended a mid-week match that saw Sydney FC willing themselves into the top six with a 3-1 win over the Wellington Phoenix. A minute silence for the New Zealand miners combined with a eulogy for Football NSW Competitions Secretary Larry Grant solemnly kicked off proceedings.

It was fairly even early on in the contest, the ball back and forth down the pitch. But it was Sydney who would start to take charge of the first half.

And it didn’t take long for the home team to find the break-through. Newly promoted Brendan Gan retained his starting position and proved his worth with a clinical header. A Mark Bridge cross from the left flank found a waiting Gan who easily headed home. 1-0 to Sydney in the 13th minute.

Phoenix tried to hit back, but Paul Ifill was twice found offside and a pair of freekicks also came to nothing.

Except for a Scott Jamieson cross, on the 16th minute Sydney could have made it two. With seemingly the whole team involved, Jamieson’s final cross was well defended. This was the story for the rest of the half – a series of decent chances resulting in nothing due to the final pass or shot. One nil it stayed at the break.

55 minutes into the second half Wellington coach Ricki Herbert made a double substituting to help inspire the Phoenix (Hearfield and Daniel for Greenacre and Rogas).

Greenacre almost had the desired impact, with a well aimed header on 60 minutes only equaled by the diving save of Necevski. The ball was spilled to Tim Brown, who’s close range effort was just wide of the post.

In the 63rd Hiro Moriyasu made way for the young Terry Antonis, a sign that Lavicka is keen to continue giving youth a run.

Paul Ifill then had a golden opportunity on 67 minutes to level the scores, receiving a long cross, beating his man, but then finding only the side-netting.

Antonis had the impact Herbert would have liked his substitutes to have had. After a decent run, Antonis beat his man and played in Bridge, who powered his shot across Paston and into the goal. 2-0 in the 74th.

It was not to stay that way for long, thanks in part to a Seb Ryall handball. Two minutes later Brosque opened his account for the game. Bridge unselfishly played an incoming Brosque, who made it 3-0 with the prospect of more seeming likely.

Phoenix substitute Dylan Macallister (Nick Ward 78th) made it 3-1, after a pass through the middle cut the Sydney defenders apart, a waiting Macallister calmly slotting home.

A late strike to Ifill would have made stoppage time very interesting, however Ivan Necevski deflected the shot. Necevski was integral for Sydney tonight, his safe hands helping the Sky Blue on several occasions.

The SFS surface had some teething problems, with several passes resulting in feet getting caught in the ground. Overall it looked much better than the newly relayed turf at Energy Australia Stadium, and will get better in weeks to come.

FC tonight brought back the team thankyou cheer post-match. We at The Football Sack think we played a part in that.

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Matt Greenlaw
Editor of The Football Sack for three years, Matthew now spends his time sipping merlot whilst watching the reruns of Thursday FC.

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