Wellington winners over twin rivals

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New Zealand’s Wellington-Auckland rivalry scaled new heights on Saturday as the Eden Park crowd were denied a look at the total football Phoenix.

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The Eden Park crowd suffered ninety minutes of a dour, unadventurous affair, though at least they could savour a 1-0 win over a Perth Glory side fading quicker than Marty McFly’s photographed family.

Despite engaged support, the opening stanza offered little more than a half chance each in the first 20 minutes as the two struggling sides felt their way into the match.

The best moment of the first half hour was in Perth’s favour when Chris Harold toepoked wide of the near post, having been freed into a one-on-one by Nick Ward’s expert through-ball.

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But with greater intent, Wellington took the lead five minutes from the break. Isaka Cernak controlled possession well in attack and fed Ifill on the left-wing. The Phoenix talisman cut inside and curled a terrific ball on to the head of Jeremy Brockie at the back post, leaving his fellow schemer with little chance of heading anywhere but into Danny Vukovic’s goal.

Some would say the match resumed after the break, but that would be somewhat of a stretch. Both teams passed it around in midfield for a while until Louis Fenton shot wide in the 70th minute.

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Predictably, Ifill came closest in the second half when he drove a curling effort just wide of the far post. A sealing goal was not needed, however, as Wellington did what was needed in an entertainingly out-of-character last few minutes. For a terribly uninspiring Perth, the result lumped them with another single-goal loss and last place on the A-League ladder.

Wellington Phoenix: Paston (gk), Bertos, Sigmund, Durante, Hogg, Lia, Muscat, Cernak, Brockie, Ifill, Huysegems.
Bench: Moss (gk), Sanchez, Boyd, Fenton.

Perth Glory: Vukovic (gk), Risdon, Thwaite, Clisby, Jamieson, Miller, McGarry, Zahra, Ward, Harold, Dodd.
Bench: Italiano (gk), Heffernan, Pantelidis, Nagai.

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