Phoenix stun Sydney

Bottom of the table Wellington Phoenix shocked Sydney FC with a stirring 2-1 victory at the SFS on Friday night.

Bottom of the table Wellington Phoenix shocked Sydney FC with a stirring 2-1 victory at the SFS on Friday night.

An 89th-minute penalty to new Gold Coast recruit Shane Smeltz won it for Wellington maintaining a hoodoo which has seen Wellington win against Sydney in its last two matches and on this ground last season.

Stuart Musialik's long-range shot appeared to have rescued a point in the 77th minute after it cancelled out Leo Bertos' excellent first half header for the visitors. But it wasn't to be for the home side who looked out of sorts all night.

A committed Phoenix won the tactical battle in midfield with Tim Brown having the measure of Terry McFlynn. Wellington wing wizard Leo Bertos was a constant danger running from deep at the Sydney defence.

In a half half of few clear cut chances, Wellington took their chance with aplomb in the 33rd minute to deservedly take the lead.

Brown with a superb curling cross from just outside the box met by Leo Bertos who ghosted into the box and powered home his header from six yards.

And despite some defensive mix-ups, Phoenix were good value for its lead.

Sydney though should've gone ahead earlier in the half after an awful mix up between Ben Sigmund and keeper Mark Paston allowed Alex Brosque in, but he failed to properly connect and the ball squirted wide.

And after a Phoenix corner was cleared, Steve Corica's brilliance found Brosque wide left but his cross was scrambled clear by a desperate Phoenix rearguard.

Sydney had chances to young defender Beau Busch with a header while a set piece from Shannon Cole was blasted over.

Despite the brilliant Corica promptings from midfield, Sydney were unable to fashion any clear chances in the first 45.

Phoenix began the second half the way they finished the first with the New Zealanders looking hungrier. A long range effort from Brown and a brilliant volley from Michael Ferrante in the first five minutes evidence that Wellington had not taken its foot off the accelerator.

Smeltz had a good chance in the 53rd mintue to extend Phoenix's lead but he dwelled on the ball too long and Sydney's defence did enough to put him off his shot on the edge of the box.

And minutes later Phoenix's flowing move had Sydney all at sea at the back. Bertos wide found Tony Lochhead on the overlap who cut inside but his shot only found the side-netting.

Bertos again just a minute later found the side-netting after he was set up by Smeltz who wriggled free to find space in the box.

The rain came down but that didn't change Sydney's fortunes as Iain Fyfe came on for Shannon Cole after 61 minutes.

With 22 minutes to go, the excellent Corica won a free kick against Manny Muscat 25m out straight in front. Mark Bridge had the fans on their feet with what looked like a goal from but the ball had gone around around the post.

This signalled a final 20-minute onslaught by the home side. Two corners in a row kept the pressure on but Sydney just couldn't find a way through the Phoenix defensive lines with desperate defending.

John Aloisi came on after 72 minutes for Alex Brosque and he sparked some life into the sky blues.

McFlynn with a glorious opportunity after good work from Mark Bridge wide saw the Irishman's shot screw low and wide of Paston's right post but it was the Phoenix keeper who blundered in the 77th minute.

Musialik's strike from outside the box slipping under the Kiwi's body to give the home support something to cheer about and hope at 1-1.

Late on and Corica broke free and appeared to have his shirt tugged but the home side could not profit from the play. It was made to pay for this.

Bertos could have won it in the shadows of the final whistle with a glorious run outpacing the FC defence but he shot wide. Not heeding this warning, Smeltz just a minute later broke free and his cross hit Tony Popovic's hand.

The referee pointed to the spot and he calmly slotted home with a minute of normal time left. Phoenix held on to continue their hoodoo over Sydney.

Sydney FC 1 (Musialik 77) Wellington Phoenix 2 (Bertos 33, Smeltz (pen) 88) @ Sydney Football Stadium. Crowd: 12,856