Sky Blues show class

Sydney FC has maintained its grip on top spot of the ladder with an entertaining 3-1 win over Wellington Phoenix at the Sydney Football Stadium on Sunday.

Sydney FC has maintained its grip on top spot of the ladder with an entertaining 3-1 win over Wellington Phoenix at the Sydney Football Stadium on Sunday.

Three goals in a 20-minute first-half burst blew away the visitors with Mark Bridge's double and a Steve Corica strike doing the damage.

The Phoenix managed a late goal with 10 minutes left through young substitute Costa Barbarouses to give the visitors a consolation goal.

A second-half penalty save by Sydney FC glovesman Clint Bolton off a retaken spot-kick by Daniel further compounded Phoenix's misery.

Man of the match was Alex Brosque who racked up a hat-trick of assists and his pace was a constant thorn in the side of the Phoenix defence.

In front of 10,653 fans on a sunny day, it was a difficult start to the game for Phoenix. After just 60 seconds, livewire striker Daniel popped his shoulder and was in considerable pain on the sidelines before returning to the action minutes later.

Then Ricki Herbert's men lost All White keeper Mark Paston to injury after just seven minutes with gangly Reece Crowther his replacement.

The pain continued for Phoenix shortly after when conceding three goals before the 35 minute mark.

Bridge's inch-perfect one-two on the edge of the box with Brosque created enough room for the 23-year-old former Jet to smash home on the quarter-hour mark.

It was 2-0 on the half-hour mark when Brosque wriggled clear in the box and his low shot from wide on the left was palmed by Crowther into the path of Corica who calmly slotted home.

There was a moment of magic just minutes later when Brosque put on the afterburners to out-run Ben Sigmund in a searing 40m burst. The Sky Blue man zeroed in on goal and his accurate low cross from near the six yard box was expertly drilled home by Bridge to make it a hat-trick of assists for Brosque.

Three-nil up and Sydney was cruising. And it should have been four right on half-time had Terry McFlynn not spurned a good opportunity inside the box.

John Aloisi came on for Bridge early in the second half but it was the visitors who made the most of the early exchanges as they desperately tried to regain some momentum.

And Phoenix got a reward with Paul Ifill adjudged to have been impeded in the box on the hour mark.

Daniel stepped up to calmly convert but referee Gerard Parsons called for a retake and Bolton made a smart save to his left.

From the resulting play, it could have been 4-0. Sydney broke with speed courtesy of Brosque on the right but his inch-perfect cross was just missed by Aloisi in the six-yard box.

Sydney's marquee man was unlucky not to have scored minutes later when a bursting Brendan Gan run found the striker with a low cross but his shot cannoned off the post and back into Crowther's grip.

On 81 minutes, a strong Ifill run down and cross found substitute Barbarouses whose volley into the ground went over the dive of Bolton to drag Phoenix back into the game.

With Phoenix pressing, the game really opened up in the final 10 minutes. Ifill continued to cause problems down the right but to no avail for the visitors.

And in the final few minutes, Brosque had a golden opportunity to score a well-deserved goal but the in-form striker's point-blank shot was saved brilliantly by Crowther.

Sydney FC 3(Bridge 14,34, Corica 31) Wellington Phoenix 1 (Barbarouses 81) @ SFS Crowd: 10,653