Phoenix ruin party

A Paul Ifill double saw Wellington move above Central Coast on the Hyundai A-League table with a 2-0 win at Bluetongue Stadium on Thursday night.

A Paul Ifill double saw Wellington move above Central Coast on the Hyundai A-League table with a 2-0 win at Bluetongue Stadium on Thursday night.

The result leaves the Mariners in a world of hurt, seeing them slump to their fifth consecutive loss and eighth position on the table. It was Wellington's second away win of the season.

The Mariners made five changes for the must-win clash, three forced through the national duties of Danny Vukovic and Dean Heffernan and the one-match suspension of Nigel Boogaard.

But the changes didn't matter in the end, with the Mariners' season best home crowd of 11,137 going home without a win.

It was a horror start to the second half for the Mariners, after a pretty even opening stanza.

Pedj Bojic conceded a 47th minute penalty after a challenge on Paul Ifill, with Ifill making no mistake in its conversion.

The home side had a prime opportunity to level the scores in the 51st minute after a cross into the area from John Hutchinson wasn't well read by the Wellington defence. Matt Simon had a point-blank shot but came up empty.

Wellington stepped up the intensity after its goal, while the Mariners made wholesale changes in a desperate bid to even the ledger.

Matthew Lewis came on for Andrew Clark in the 63rd minute, with Dylan Macallister following in the 65th for Simon. New senior squad member Panny Nikas made his debut when he came on for Nicky Travis two minutes later.

But the Phoenix didn't let up and sealed the match with a second goal to Ifill in the 80th minute, after some strong lead-up work from former Mariner Adrian Caceres.

While the second half left home fans frustrated, the Mariners started the match well.

Central Coast goalkeeper Andrew Redmayne was able to shake off any second-start nerves early on, with a crisp save of a Troy Hearfield shot in the fourth minute.

Brad Porter rolled his ankle in the match warm-up but he didn't show any signs of problems in the first half, where he was the Mariners energetic best.

Porter put in a great cross from the wide right in the 10th minute finding Michael McGlinchey, whose header was well taken by a stretching Liam Reddy.

The Wellington goalkeeper was tested again just minutes later, when a free kick from Nik Mrdja deflected off the wall and went just wide of the posts.

Mrdja received another free kick in an almost identical position eight minutes later but this time the ball went across the face of goal.

Wellington took the momentum in the middle part of the first half, which saw Paul Ifill take the ball across Pedj Bojic and take a low and hard shot, which went to the right of the posts.

Porter also came to the fore in the 37th minute, with some great defending of a cross from Wellington's Tim Brown.

There was end-to-end action late in the first half but both sides came up empty due to some desperate defence.

Wellington 2 (Ifill 47, 80) Central Coast 0 Crowd: 11,137 at Bluetongue Stadium, Gosford.