Ifill relieved to score

Wellington's Paul Ifill is feeling cautiously optimistic following his two-goal burst that sealed a much-needed win for the Phoenix against Melbourne Heart.

Wellington's Paul Ifill is feeling cautiously optimistic following his two-goal burst that sealed a much-needed win for the Phoenix against Melbourne Heart.

The striker had failed to get on the score sheet in the past six games with his most recent goal prior to Wednesday night a penalty in the Round 9 loss to Gold Coast at the start of last month.

For a while it looked as though the drought would continue for the Barbados international whose indifferent form has been mirrored by that of Ricki Herbert's team in general.

Ifill missed a one-on-one chance against Clint Bolton early in the match then fired another one wide in the opening stages of the second stanza.

But his - and the team's - luck finally changed in the 62nd minute when Vince Lia's cross into the box took a deflection off Leo Bertos and Ifill prodded it home.

Heart skipper Matt Thompson was sent off for a second yellow card shortly afterwards and Ifill made certain of the win with his second 17 minutes from time when he drove low past Bolton after good lead-up work by Tim Brown.

"I've always felt it was coming but it's been tough times lately," the striker admitted. "You feel it's coming and you train as hard as you can and it doesn't transfer onto the pitch."

"Ricki showed a lot of faith again sticking with me because I think he could have dropped me long before now.

"He's stuck me up front on my own tonight and it's paid dividends and I'm back on the scoresheet which is nice.

"On another day it would have been my first hat-trick. There is still plenty to work on but it looks more promising than it did (prior to kick-off)."

But after an inconsistent first half of the season, Ifill is well aware the Phoenix must keep the momentum going against Melbourne Victory on Saturday if they are to press for a play-off spot.

"We went away to Perth and thought we'd turned the corner and we hadn't so we don't want to overcook it yet. It's one win, three points, but if you don't back it up it means very little."

Herbert, who rang the changes on Wednesday, is facing the prospect of having to reshuffle his starting XI again after Ben Sigmund collected his fifth yellow card of the season.

The defender will be suspended for Saturday's home game against the Victory and with Tony Lochhead (groin) still a few weeks away from a return Herbert floated the possibility of a Hyundai A-League debut for James Musa who has been playing in the Phoenix reserves which were formed this year.

"Jade (North) is probably going to have to play in the middle now with Dura (Andrew Durante) so who knows, the young boy James Musa might get a shot at left-back. He's been working hard and doing things well in the youth team. We'll see."