Herbert: A great win

Phoenix coach Ricki Herbert was a relieved man after his side came from behind to score an upset 2-1 victory over Sydney FC at Westpac Stadium on Sunday.

Phoenix coach Ricki Herbert was a relieved man after his side came from behind to score an upset 2-1 victory over Sydney FC at Westpac Stadium on Sunday.

Coming into the match, the Phoenix were yet to register a win while Sydney was flying high off the back of a string of commanding performances.

Given Wellington's recent run of form, Sunday's match was as much about building confidence as it was about getting a result for the home side.

A banner in the terraces challenged the Phoenix 'show us your passion' and that was exactly what the home side did.

Herbert was buoyed by the improvement in his side, and was pleased to see them give the sort of display that he knows they are capable of.

"I've always had a lot of faith in the boys, and today it was great to see them stand up and be counted in what has been a difficult period for us. It was great to win at home, and great to win for the fans," Herbert said.

The makeshift central defensive combination of Karl Dodd and Ben Sigmund was impressive in nullifying the potent combination of Alex Brosque and John Aloisi, while Shane Smeltz was exceptional up front - giving Herbert some pleasant selection headaches.

"We had a ton of guys out, and those that came in were exceptional," he said. "That's the problem I have to face heading into next week, but it's a very good one to have."

Phoenix skipper Richard Johnson also paid tribute to his team-mates, whom he admitted felt under pressure heading into the fixture.

"Given the press we've had this week, it was great to see the boys show what we're capable of. We haven't given the fans much to cheer about until now, so it's a satisfying result," Johnson said.

Sydney FC coach John Kosmina admitted that the outcome of the match left him feeling 'stunned' after his side controlled the opening period of the match.

"It was almost too comfortable for us for the first half hour," he said. "We relaxed a little bit and stopped doing the basics well. If you keep turning over possession to a side like that and they get a little bit of wind in their sails, you're going to leave yourself open."

However, despite the loss, Kosmina was pleased with the performance of his team and felt there were plenty of positives to take away from the match.

"We were switched on and you could see that the boys were playing well. The important thing is to learn a lesson from this. I think we all thought the match was going to peter out for a draw and then they got a scrappy goal," Kosmina said.

Sydney FC captain Tony Popovic shared Kosmina's sentiments. "I think we played well for long periods, but perhaps just lacked concentration at times. I thought we would we at least get a draw, and perhaps nick it near the death but it wasn't to be."

Both sides face difficult fixtures in the following round, with the Phoenix looking to build on their first win on their trip to Newcastle while Sydney FC will look to bounce back against Queensland.