Phoenix come of age

The Wellington Phoenix have booked a place in the Hyundai A-League Pre-Season Cup Final with a dramatic come-from-behind 3-2 victory over Sydney FC at WIN Stadium on Saturday night.

The Wellington Phoenix have booked a place in the Hyundai A-League Pre-Season Cup Final with a dramatic come-from-behind 3-2 victory over Sydney FC at WIN Stadium on Saturday night.

Goals to Troy Hearfield, Shane Smeltz and Lei Lei Gao saw the Phoenix overcome a two-goal deficit at the break and book a showdown with Melbourne Victory on Wednesday night.

The loss comes at a heavy cost for John Kosmina's men after Alex Brosque, Dez Giraldi and Mitchell Prentice all received their second yellow cards of the tournament ruling them out of their season opener against Melbourne Victory in a fortnight.

Sydney FC drew first blood after 16 minutes courtesy of a first-class finish from Brosque.

With his back to the goal, Brosque received a sharp pass from Giraldi, pivoted past two defenders, charged into the box and calmly slotted the ball past a diving Glen Moss for his first goal of the pre-season and a 1-0 advantage.

Wellington's first real chance of the opening stanza came minutes later but midfielder Michael Ferrante's strike from the edge of the box lacked the necessary venom to trouble Ivan Necevski in the Sydney goal.

The match developed into an arm wrestle before a rough challenge from prize Phoenix recruit Andrew Durante earned a yellow card and gifted the Sydney-siders a free-kick on the left edge of the penalty box.

And the hosts took full advantage as defender Iain Fyfe won the race to a curling Prentice free-kick to hand his side a commanding 2-0 lead in the 36th minute.

Wellington hit back 12 minutes after the interval when Hearfield found his way into the box and delivered a clinical finish to breathe life into the contest.

The match took another twist four minutes later when Giraldi brought Adam Kwasnik down in the box earning him a yellow card and handing the Phoenix a penalty kick.

Smeltz made no mistake from the spot to level things up at 2-2 with just under half an hour remaining.

The hosts steadied, mustering a number of promising raids but could not land the killer blow.

An uncharacteristic mistake from Sydney defender Jacob Timpano allowed Lei Lei Gao to steal the ball, and the match with a brilliant solo effort.

The match erupted in the 90th minute resulting in red cards for both Prentice and Durante in what was a dramatic end to an eventful clash.

Wellington Phoenix 3 Hearfield 57, Smeltz 62, Gao 82 Sydney FC 2 Brosque 16, Fyfe 36, at WIN Stadium Stadium Crowd: 6124