Sydney leaves it late

Teenage Sydney FC striker Kofi Danning has sunk 10-man Wellington with a late goal to leave the New Zealand side's hopes of a first-ever Hyundai A-League finals appearance in tatters.

Teenage Sydney FC striker Kofi Danning has sunk 10-man Wellington with a late goal to leave the New Zealand side's hopes of a first-ever Hyundai A-League finals appearance in tatters.

Danning, who came to Australia from Ghana when he was seven, combined beautifully with Steve Corica and Alex Brosque before stabbing home a low shot inside Glen Moss' right-hand post.

His first goal in the Hyundai A-League threatens to be Wellington's finals death knell, with the Kiwis still three points shy of fourth-placed Central Coast and battling a vastly inferior goal difference two rounds from home.

The Phoenix played a man down for the last 26 minutes after midfielder Troy Hearfield was needlessly sent off for head-butting Brosque.

Danning came on after 63 minutes and immediately caused problems with his pace, running at the heart of a tiring Wellington defence.

The game started on a tepid note with no indication of the drama to come.

Tim Brown found himself in space 14 minutes in but couldn't get make a meaningful connection from inside box, his weak strike on the turn meandering through to Sydney goalkeeper Ivan Necevski.

Necevski immediately sent the ball up the other end where Mark Bridge ended up on the ground after clashing with Moss.

There was a faint appeal for a penalty but Williams rightly waved play on.

Hearfield surged past Iain Fyfe to worth his way into the Sydney box on 20 minutes but his near post shot collected nothing but side netting.

Deadball specialist Shannon Cole forced Moss to palm his free kick around the post just after the half hour as the home side began to push forward with confidence.

Adam Biddle threaded a ball across goal that just eluded Brosque and striker Mark Bridge pulled the trigger but was off target twice in two minutes as Sydney ended the half on a positive, albeit barren, note.

But in a quiet opening to the second half, neither goalkeeper was tested as the prospect of a stalemate loomed large.

Hearfield had a glimpse of goal at the 58-minute mark but his wild strike almost took out the left corner flag.

Sixty seconds later McFlynn attempted to match his wastefulness, blasting a shot high into the stands.

Sydney coach John Kosmina's decision to bring the rookie (Danning) and veteran (Corica) on in the final quarter proved decisive in a result that gives Sydney reason to believe for at least another week.

The Sky Blues are five points outside the four but remain alive - at least mathematically - for a fourth consecutive finals appearance.

Sydney 1 (Danning 87') Wellington 0