Waine scores late winner in Wellington's thrilling win over United
Wellington Phoenix teenager Ben Waine scored the decisive goal in the 90th minute of his side's 3-2 win over Western United at WIN Stadium on Sunday night.
Wellington Academy products Sam Sutton and Waine combined to finish off the move which won their side the game, with the former crossing for the latter to score with a well-placed header.
Momentum swung at WIN Stadium as United pulled ahead through a Besart Berisha finish from the penalty spot just after the half-hour mark, only for Ulises Dávila to equalise with a penalty of his own as the clock ticked toward half-time.
Wellington went ahead early in the second 45 through Jaushua Sotirio before Iker Guarrotxena headed the visitors back level at 2-2 with little more than half an hour to play.
The home side peppered the opposition's goal late, and United finally succumbed to a Waine finish in the 90th minute which was originally chalked off for an offside call on the field. But VAR intervened, finding United defender Brendan Hamill keeping Waine onside.
The three points took Wellington above Perth Glory into ninth spot on the A-League table, within two points of their Sunday-night rivals. But with two games in hand on the Phoenix Mark Rudan's United outfit will not yet be sweating on the close proximity between the two sides, as the top six remains in sight.
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The first half featured a penalty to each side which both Berisha and Dávila converted for the United and Phoenix respectively.
First it was the United frontman getting on the scoresheet - Lachlan Wales won the spot kick when Tim Payne came in from behind to send his opponent to the ground.
Berisha shot to his left, and Oliver Sail went in the other direction as United went a goal ahead on the half-hour mark.
United were pegged back by the Phoenix in similar circumstances when Andrew Durante handled the ball in the box from a corner swung in by Wellington's Clayton Lewis.
Durante allowed the ball to bounce once at the near post, and his outstretched arm prevented the cross from dropping into Cameron Devlin's path.
Dávila showed similar nerves of steel to what Berisha displayed down the other end, sending Ryan Scott the wrong way and burying his shot into the bottom right corner.
Wellington came into this clash with United having won the last two meetings between the sides, and after falling behind in the first half took the lead early in the second when Sotirio helped a Dávila strike on its way past Scott and into the back of the net.
The goal came in the 46th minute, following a pair of early chances to Ben Waine and David Ball before Sotirio provided the cutting edge.
Dávila struck on the volley as the ball dropped into his path on the left-hand side of the box. The strike was travelling toward the right-hand side of goal before Sotirio diverted it back toward the left, leaving Scott no chance of keeping out the deflected attempt.
But Wellington's lead lasted just seven minutes. Guarrotxena provided the quick reply for the visitors from a corner routine; Dylan Pierias headed into Durante's path in the box and the defender touched the ball down before cannoning a shot off the crossbar.
Guarrotxena leapt toward the loose ball and sent his header over the line. Ball provided an athletic clearance, but the shot was adjudged to have travelled over the goal line before the Phoenix forward got a foot on the ball.
The chances continued to fly in at either end after Guarrotxena's equalising goal. Tomislav Uskok thundered a shot from outside the box at Sail, calling the Phoenix keeper into a strong save to deny the defender an unlikely goal of serious quality.
Dávila continued his unrelenting pursuit of goals from midfield with a driving run to the tip of the box, but the Mexican's left-footed shot curled just wide of the right-hand goalpost.
Ball and Waine both flashed shots wide as Phoenix ramped up the pressure on United's goal, but as the clock ticked toward added time the home side found their way through one last time to go 3-2 ahead.
Waine was the finisher of a move started by Dávila with a curling ball into Sam Sutton's path, as the left-back burst into the box. Sutton floated a cross toward the six-yard box, and Waine rose to meet the ball with his head to bury the chance home and spark manic scenes of celebration.
The offside flag was raised in the aftermath, but VAR reviewed the play and found United defender Hamill keeping Waine on, as the decision was reversed to award Phoenix all three points at WIN Stadium.
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