Official Preview: Wellington Phoenix v Melbourne Heart
Wellington Phoenix v Melbourne Heart Wednesday 24th November 7:00pm Westpac Stadium
Help get Wellington back to winning ways at Westpac! Phoenix need your support as they face a side that is on a roll away from home…
How things can change in the blink of an eye. Until a couple of weeks ago, Wellington Phoenix-s Fever Zone knew where they stood. When their players ventured across the water, they invariably came home disappointed yet, when they welcomed Australian teams to their home, they were unbeatable.
For 24 games the New Zealand side remained undefeated at Westpac Stadium. Visiting sides huffed and puffed, tried everything they could, yet were sent packing with little to show for their efforts. If they were lucky, they-d come away with a point. More often than not, they-d leave with nothing.
Suddenly though, the world has turned on its head, leaving Phoenix-s band of loyal fans feeling completely disorientated. At around the same time that they picked up their first away win of the season with the arduous journey to Perth, they succumbed to their first home defeat in eons.
A blip perhaps? Well, last week-s game against Central Coast Mariners suggests otherwise. The 3-0 loss means that Ricki Herbert-s side have taken no points from their last two home games, have conceded seven and scored just one in the process. That-s unheard of.
So, they-ll enter the game against Melbourne Heart more focused than ever to put things right and get back to normality. This is a team that has prided itself on its home record, so Melbourne Heart should beware. Phoenix are angry, and ready to take it out on someone.
However, Heart have already had one reasonably successful visit to Westpac this season. When the sides met back in October, they played out an exciting 2-2 draw.
In fact, John Van-t Schip-s side almost snatched their first ever Hyundai A-League away win. For some time it looked like John Aloisi's penalty and Matt Thompson-s goal were going to be enough for the Hyundai A-League-s newest side to turn around an early Chris Greenacre strike and become the first team to win in Wellington since Brisbane Roar did so two years ago, but Leo Bertos- goal on the hour meant a share of the spoils.
Melbourne Heart come into this clash unbeaten in four away games. Before they were narrowly beaten at home by Brisbane, their last away game saw them triumph 3-2 over North Queensland Fury thanks to goals from Eli Babalj, Gerald Sibon and Ufuk Talay.
Okay, so they got the rub of the green with some refereeing decisions and didn-t play as well as they have elsewhere this season, but Townsville isn-t an easy place to visit, and the lucky breaks they got shouldn-t take anything away from their second away win in three, especially because they had to overturn an early - and, incidentally, massively unfortunate - deficit to achieve it.
It was their first ever come-from-behind win on the road and illustrated their growing stature and confidence in their debut Hyundai A-League campaign.
Fever Zone, your side needs your support like never before. Your epic noise and passion was key to the team-s unprecedented unbeaten run at your home stadium, now they need to you help guide them back to winning ways. Shout your lungs out from the first whistle to the last and turn Westpac into a fortress once more.