Phoenix run ends

Sydney FC ended the Wellington Phoenix's impressive run of undefeated home games to win 1-0 in their Hyundai A-League clash on a windy evening at FMG Stadium in Palmerston North.

Sydney FC ended the Wellington Phoenix's impressive run of undefeated home games to win 1-0 in their Hyundai A-League clash on a windy evening at FMG Stadium in Palmerston North.

The Phoenix couldn't muster enough to earn their 15th unbeaten game on home soil, although they were playing their first ever home game away from their fortress of Westpac Stadium in Wellington.

Instead it was Sky Blues skipper Steve Corica who secured the points for the visitors after sending home an early penalty that allowed his side lead for the entire match.

The win puts Sydney on top of the Hyundai A-League table, where it will remain unless Melbourne Victory earns a win to reclaim its lead in Saturday night's big clash with the Mariners.

The heavy Manawatu wind was having a big effect on the game early, testing the players' anticipation of big kicks and their ability to play against a strong, cold breeze.

Sydney had the first decent shot on target through striker Alex Brosque, testing replacement keeper Reece Crowther, although the 21-year-old was up to the occasion however and deflected the ball allowing it to be cleared.

The shot pushed the Phoenix into another gear however with midfielder Adrian Caceres finding his way through the defence to set up striker Daniel, who was denied by Sky Blues keeper Clint Bolton.

Sydney took the lead in the 15th minute when Brosque fell in the box and was awarded a penalty kick, much to the displeasure of the Yellow Fever fans who dominated that end of the stadium. Skipper Corica took the shot and nailed the ball into the upper right hand corner of the net.

The goal inspired the Phoenix to amp up the attack and they had Syndey back-peddling as the pressure mounted.

Phoenix Forward Leo Bertos was becoming more and more involved in the game and was having the better of his opposite numbers. The Sydney defenders stayed true at the crucial times however, with Shannon Cole and Sung Hwan Byun doing well to keep the score in their favour.

Striker Paul Ifill had one more chance for the Phoenix but failed to get the ball past Bolton, allowing Sydney to take a 1-0 lead into the break and the satisfaction of knowing it wouldn't have to run against the win in the second half.

The Phoenix started the second half well, earning an early corner that was expertly guided into the box by Bertos. Daniel did well to jump and head solidly, only for Bolton to get his fingertips to the ball to deflect the attempt.

A controversial foul on Corica allowed Sydney to put some heat on the Phoenix, and the visitors went extremely close when Brosque's blasting shot was narrowly palmed over by Crowther.

Wellington had few opportunities in the half but never made them stick as the Phoenix saw their formidable record on home soil slip from their grasp.

A twist of fortune saw the Syndey side reduced to 10 men when Simon Colosimo was straight red-carded for lifting his boots high in a tackle on Vince Lia.

The Phoenix then threw everything into the final minutes of the game but were unable to get past a gritty Sydney defence as the Sky Blues held on to claim a difficult and well-earned victory.

Wellington Phoenix 0 Sydney FC 1 (Corica 15) Crowd 6459 at Palmerston North-s FMG Stadium.