Phoenix record first win

Wellington Phoenix has secured an impressive 2-1 victory over Sydney FC at Westpac Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

Wellington Phoenix has secured an impressive 2-1 victory over Sydney FC at Westpac Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

Alex Brosque gave Sydney FC the lead after 20 minutes, but goals to Shane Smeltz and Tim Brown ensured the home side picked up its first win of the Hyundai A-League season.

The Phoenix started brightly, and looked a shadow of the team that had capitulated against Perth a week earlier.

They were fluid and well organised, and moved the ball well through the middle of the park. However despite their best efforts, it was the hosts who had the lion's share of possession and territory in the opening 15 minutes.

Sydney had the first chance of the match in the eighth minute. The home side conceded a free kick just outside their 18 yard box, but the attempt was deflected wide.

Terry McFlynn made an incisive break for the visitors on 17 minutes, but his cross-come-shot was unable to find a team-mate.

Once again, as so often has been the case this season, the Phoenix found themselves a goal down on 20 minutes.

Shannon Cole did extremely well to evade Tony Lochhead and whip in a cross from the byline that was met by the head of Alex Brosque from his perfectly timed leap.

His header looped across the face of goal and dropped into the corner of the net - only inches away from Mark Paston's despairing dive.

Paston was called upon again in the 34th minute, pulling off a brilliant diving save from Terry McFlynn's 20 yard drive.

The resulting corner saw John Aloisi's effort for the visitors somehow being blocked off the line as the Phoenix survived.

The Phoenix were able to survive the pressure, and equalised through talismanic striker Smeltz on 42 minutes.

Smeltz held the ball up well and squared for the onrushing Lochhead who then drove to the byline and hit a superb cross for Smeltz to glance across the face of goal into the far corner, leaving the score at 1-1 going into the half-time break.

Both sides began the second period brightly and registered long range strikes, but they effectively cancelled each other out for the first 15 minutes of the second half.

The introduction of Brendan Santalab for the visitors on 60 minutes breathed some life into Sydney, with his energy and enthusiasm causing the Phoenix defence problems.

Phoenix coach Ricki Herbert made a double substitution in the 69th minute, when he brought on Michael Ferrante and Jeremy Christie for Leilei Gao and Vaughan Coveny respectively, in a move that suggested the Phoenix were prepared to play for a draw.

However, it was the Phoenix that struck to grab the lead in the 76th minute.

A strike from Richard Johnson was blocked, with Brown collecting the rebound and evading his marker to hit a firm shot from 20 yards that beat a seemingly unsighted Clint Bolton to make the score 2-1 - the first time that the Phoenix have led in an A-League match this season.

Sydney had the next say in the match, and on 80 minutes a brilliant Paston save low to his left denied Aloisi a goal from an athletic diving header.

Sydney threw players forward during the final phases of the match to try and conjure an equaliser, but it was the Phoenix that controlled the final ten minutes of play to secure their first win of the season.

Wellington Phoenix 2 (Smeltz 42, Brown 76) Sydney FC 1 (Brosque 20)