Krishna leads Phoenix comeback to leave 10-man Mariners stunned

Roy Krishna sparked an incredible 15-minute turnaround as Wellington Phoenix came from behind to beat 10-man Central Coast Mariners 3-2 in Saturday’s absorbing Hyundai A-League contest.

Krishna dispatched two second half penalties before David Williams’ decisive strike, one which cancelled out Matt Simon’s early penalty and a fine breakaway goal from Andrew Hoole.

Those first half efforts saw the Mariners on course to crash a record-breaking evening in the New Zealand capital, but the contest turned swiftly after the interval when Kye Rowles was sent off for a foul on Krishna.

That lapse was emphatically punished by Mark Rudan’s side, who fired in three unanswered goals and celebrated Andrew Durante’s 300th Hyundai A-League match by extending their unbeaten run to eight matches – a new club record.

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The feat had earlier appeared on life support when Rudan’s side were ambushed by a devastating opening 45 minutes from the visitors.

Central Coast bombarded Phoenix early on, winning seven corners in the opening 13 minutes, and it was a strategy which paid dividends when Simon was felled in the area while contesting for the ball.

The Mariners captain coolly stroked his side in front from 12 yards, and Westpac Stadium was stunned further as Hoole crowned a breakaway with neat curling finish.

But the Phoenix faithful were sparked into life immediately into the second half after Mariners defender Rowles saw red for tripping Krishna as he prepared to strike.

Krishna converted from the spot despite a valiant parry from Ben Kennedy, and should’ve equalised moments later only to send Cillian Sheridan’s cross whistling past the near post with a header.

That miss ultimately meaningless when the Fijian maestro dispatched his second penalty following a foul from Jacob Melling, and the comeback was complete via Williams, who reacted quickest to turn in the scraps from close range and consign the Mariners to their tenth consecutive loss.