Can Wellington Phoenix build upon first win of the season?

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Going in 1-0 up at half-time, Wellington Phoenix conceded an early second-half goal. For what looked like another one of those games, it put the hosts into gear with three quick goals. 

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A game of two halves, Wellington Phoenix and Macarthur put on an entertaining game for fans. Even though the Nix outclassed Macarthur in the last 30 minutes, Ufuk Talay reflected on the positives and negatives of his side’s mauling of the Sydney-based side. 

“It was very important to get our first win, I don’t think we have been playing bad football,” he said. 

“I thought it was a soft goal we conceded to let them back in the game, but overall I think we were in control for most of the game.

“We pressed them well, we forced them to be a bit more direct and especially the last two goals, I don’t think there are no bad goals in football.”

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The “soft” goal the hosts conceded came off a throw-in with substitute Lachlan Rose left on his own to tap his one-on-one past Oli Sail, one of few moments where the Phoenix’s defence was lacking. 

Since conceding that equaliser, it lit a flame in the Nix and they went on to score three goals in a 10-minute period. 

The goal that stole the show was Clayton Lewis. The midfielder perfectly executed his free kick about 25 yards outside the box, swerving past the wall and out of Kurto’s reach to hit the bar and bounce in the back of the net. 

“I’ll give Clayton some credit as well, it was a good free-kick, it’s something we have worked on in training,” Talay said.

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It was Lewis’ first goal in 533 days with his last coming against Western United in the 2020/21 season, also played in Wellington. 

An even contest then turned into a Phoenix demolition operation. Ignoring all that, Macarthur also had their fair share of the pie. 

The visitors created two goal-scoring chances in the first 10 minutes, one of them arguably should have found the back of the net.

It didn’t help the Sydney-based side when Sail was making some excellent saves, backed up with some strong defending from his backline too. 

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Like in Round One against Adelaide, Ben Waine provided an impact off the bench. Scoring Wellington’s second goal and playing a pressing game up-top, putting Macarthur’s backline under pressure. It was the substitutes giving the Nix a bit more motivation, as we saw against Melbourne City last time out. 

While most of us would believe the Phoenix put on an outstanding performance particularly in the second 45, there were a few hiccups along the way that could be a worry. 

This season so far has been Wellington’s best start to an A-League Men’s campaign since 2016/17 with a win, two draws and a loss after their first four games. 

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Forgetting all that, it was a game that the players and fans can be proud of. Is this result the start of a good run for the Nix? 

Featured image credit: Photomac 

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Nick Jensen
Nick Jensen
Journalism Student at Massey University Wellington and a passionate Football Fan, covering the Wellington Phoenix Men and Women for the 2022/23 season.

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