Phoenix hold on for first win against wasteful Roar
Wellington Phoenix are off the foot of the Hyundai A-League ladder following a nerve-wracking 2-1 win over Brisbane Roar on Saturday evening.
Seeking to avoid their worst-ever start to a Hyundai A-League season, Phoenix asserted themselves on the contest early as captain Steven Taylor headed home the opening goal inside ten minutes.
Flamboyant midfielder Ulises Dávila then secured the points early in the second stanza as he banged home a pin-point finish for his fourth goal of the campaign.
Stefan Mauk struck late for Roar to ensure a nervous finale for the home fans, with goalkeeper Stefan Marinovic making late stops to secure his side the points.
The win is the first in any competition for Phoenix under the stewardship of Ufuk Talay following his side’s Round of 32 exit in the FFA Cup earlier this year.
Roar remain outside the top six, with just the single Hyundai A-League win to their credit so far this season.
Taylor gives Phoenix the perfect start
Wellington's home supporters were cheering early as Taylor converted at the back post to deliver the hosts the early advantage.
The Phoenix captain muscled himself into position to meet Dávila’s cross at close range, leaving goalkeeper Max Crocombe no chance of a save.
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Tenacious Taylor denies debutant
Seeking a quick response, Brisbane Roar teenager Jordan Courtney-Perkins was denied a goal in his Hyundai A-League starting debut by desperate defending from Taylor on the goal line.
The burly defender redeemed himself after his defensive header created the scoring opportunity for the lurking Courtney-Perkins at the back stick.
Crocombe keeps Roar in the contest at the break
A big opportunity for the hosts prior to half-time as Alex Rufer wriggled his way through a crowded penalty box to emerge on the other side one-on-one with Max Crocombe.
However, the Roar gloveman proved up to task with a sharp stop to deny the Kiwi international on the angle.
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Dávila doubles the advantage for Phoenix
Needing to make a strong start to recapture their early momentum in the second half, Dávila duly delivered for the hosts just four minutes after the restart.
The Mexican made no mistake as Roar failed to close him down at the top of the box, delivering a cracking finish into the bottom corner of the goal.
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Dávila denied a brace
It was proving to be a bumper night for Dávila as he briefly brought the Phoenix fans to their feet again by tucking away a squared pass from David Ball just after the hour.
However, his composed finish was scrubbed out by the linesman’s flag after Ball was spotted offside in the build-up to the finish.
Mauk pulls one back late for Roar
With time running out, Mauk provided his side with a glimmer of hope as they sought a second come-from-behind result in as many weeks.
The midfielder tucked away a sharp, first-time finish past Marinovic on the back of a cut-back ball from substitute Brad Inman.