Phoenix reveal their attacking metal

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Sporadic promise interspersed with utter insanity has been a theme in recent weeks for Wellington Phoenix but after Saturday night’s impressive 2-0 win against Newcastle Jets, the ‘Nix offense has found their feet.

Too often have the New Zealand side has been found wanting in the attacking third after intricate build up play would lead them to fantastic opportunities.

That changed last night as two goals to striker Roy Krishna highlighted the attacking potential that this Phoenix side have hinted at on numerous occasions thus far this season.

Against Newcastle they utilized the pace of both Krishna and fellow strike partner Kosta Barbarouses and looked threatening on each foray into the Jets’ half.

It came as a welcome change of pace for Wellington head coach Ernie Merrick, who praised the collaborative effort as the key to success.

“That’s the type of football I like to play and its exciting football as well,” he said.

“They played really well to the system that we wanted to play today. With the strikers that we have, if we supply the ball, then we get the goals and we probably should have had two or three (more) actually.

Not only did Wellington score their first goals from open play, but also managed to find their first cleansheet of the season.

“To get a backline that’s very steady and kept a cleansheet, that’s the platform for going forward. Once you’ve got that type of defence, then you can attack more.”

The platform he talks about had been undeniably absent in recent weeks, though with the installment of Alex Rodriguez at the base of the midfield three in place of Roly Bonevacia, the ‘Nix had a new found sense of confidence on the ball.

The reliability of Rodriguez sitting in front of the back four saw the likes of the Gui Finkler and Barbarouses have their best displays of the season so far.

Merrick’s side looked to close down space at every opportunity, a tactic that provided dividends.

“We wanted to press them in their back third but you have to have very high energy to be able to do that and sustain it and it’s got to be everyone doing the job, and I thought we did it as a group really well.”

Whether Merrick’s boys have the stamina to consistently produce such positive attacking displays is yet to play out. This performance against Newcastle is an indication that, at the very least, it is possible.

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