Phoenix beat Jets, move third

Wellington Phoenix have moved into third spot on the Hyundai A-League ladder after registering their second away win on the trot with a solid 1-0 victory over Newcastle Jets at Ausgrid Stadium on Friday night.

Wellington Phoenix have moved into third spot on the Hyundai A-League ladder after registering their second away win on the trot with a solid 1-0 victory over Newcastle Jets at Ausgrid Stadium on Friday night.

Wellington right-back Manny Muscat was the unlikely hero with a goal in the 58th minute as the Phoenix showed their premiership potential with a gritty performance to match their late 1-0 win over the Gold Coast in Queensland last week.

The win sees the Phoenix move to 27 points just one behind Brisbane, while the Jets remain in ninth spot on 18 points after collecting just one point from their past three matches.

The Phoenix got out of the blocks with a bang with a chance in just the sixth minute after Chris Greenacre got in behind the Jets defence from a Ben Sigmund long ball. The Englishman steamed inside the box but saw his hasty shot blocked by Newcastle goalkeeper Ben Kennedy.

Just a minute later Wellington midfielder Tim Brown sent a set-piece header just over the crossbar after he found himself unmarked in the Jets penalty area.

The home side managed to work their way back into the contest with most of their play coming through the craftiness of English import Michael Bridges.

Bridges played a wide ball out to Byun who sent a pin-point cross into the box where Ryan Griffiths skied his first time volley over the bar. He then provided a deft backheel for Ben Kantarovski in the box in the 17th minute, but the young midfielder also sent his shot high.

From that point on the first half developed into a midfield arm-wrestle with the both sides defensive units muscling up well.

Phoenix striker Paul Ifill started to come into his own towards the end of the half and had a couple of chances the best of which saw him fire the ball into the side netting as the sides went to the break locked at 0-0.

Both side came out with refreshed intent after halftime. Daniel Sanchez went close to heading home from a swinging Ifill free-kick before Jets winger Tarek Elrich fired a bullet-like shot that Wellington goalkeeper Mark Paston did well to push around the post.

The game started to open up and it was only a matter of time before a goal eventuated and it came the way of the visitors just before the hour mark.

Ifill showed good vision to find Manny Muscat wide on the right and he jinked back inside Byun and fashioned a lovely looping left foot shot that beat a diving Kennedy into the corner of the net for a 1-0 lead.

Newcastle looked to hit back immediately with Griffiths firing narrowly wide from the edge of the area before Kantarovski made Paston work with a belter from long range.

Both sides made changes in the 65th minute with the Jets introducing Labinot Haliti and Jobe Wheelhouse for Elrich and Jacob Pepper, while the Phoenix brought on Leo Bertos for Nick Ward.

The visitors should have sealed the match in the 82nd minute when Ifill streaked down the left wing on a counter-attack before sending a brilliant cross into an unmarked Sanchez in front of goal but the Spaniard somehow missed the target from 12 yards out. The Jets poured forward desperately in the final minutes but the Phoenix defence remained solid and composed to stand firm and record another important away win.

Newcastle Jets 0 Wellington Phoenix 1 Muscat 58- Crowd 11, 694 at Ausgrid Stadium