Wellington Phoenix have moved to within striking distance of the top six following a crucial 3-1 win over Perth Glory at HBF Park on Sunday night.
After an entertaining but goalless first-half, Phoenix showed their undoubted quality with a ruthless display after the break.
Ben Waine put the visitors in front not long into the second half, only for Glory to hit back just minutes later through a stunner from Joel Chianese.
But Phoenix regrouped to snatch a vital victory, as Louis Fenton and Jaushua Sotirio both found the net to silence the home crowd.
Having lost their last six matches in Perth, the win will instil huge confidence in Ufuk Talay’s squad for the remainder of the campaign.
Following a slow start to the season, Phoenix have now closed to within four points of sixth-placed Western Sydney Wanderers and have a game in hand.
Glory remain in 10th position, seven points outside the finals places and will need a major form turnaround to push for a top six place.
Fornaroli can’t beat Sail
While Glory were dominating possession and territory, it took until midway through the first half to create their first clear-cut chance.
Carlo Armiento was the architect, playing an incisive part through the heart of the Wellington defence to find Bruno Fornaroli in the box.
The Uruguayan had plenty of goal to aim at but fired straight at the body of keeper Oli Sail.
Waine with a worldie for Wellington
Phoenix were enjoying a good spell early in the second half and got their reward with the opening goal not long after the restart.
Sotirio strung the offside trap and chased a ball over the top, only for Reddy to come well outside his box to try and clear the ball to safety.
But Reddy’s interception fell into the path of Waine 35 yards from goal, with the Phoenix striker taking a shot first time which sailed over everyone into an open goal for his fourth goal of the season.
Chianese wows the home fans
Chianese came on at the break looking to inject some spark into Glory’s attack and he did just that a few minutes after Wellington’s opener.
Bruno Fornaroli wriggled free of a defender to tee up a chance for Chianese at the top of the box.
And the speedy attacker twisted onto his left before firing a vicious strike into the near top corner for his second goal in two games since rejoining the club.
Fenton scores vital goal for Phoenix
It was end-to-end stuff now with chances at both ends but it was Phoenix who got their noses back in front again.
Ulises Davila got a shot away from just inside the box which Reddy could only parry into the path of Louis Fenton, who calmly slotted it into the bottom corner.
Fenton’s goal was Wellington’s 500th in their A-League history.
Sotirio gives Wellington some breathing space
As Perth were trying to find an equaliser, Phoenix were able to hit on the counter to double their lead.
Skipper Davila was again involved, winning the ball in his own half before playing a delightful ball into Glory territory for Sotirio to chase.
And the pacy attacker got to the ball first, bore down on Reddy’s goal and then smashed high into the net.
Brisbane Roar v Perth Glory
Sunday, April 25, 2021
Moreton Daily Stadium
Kick-off: 2.05pm (AEST)
Western United FC v Wellington Phoenix
Thursday, April 22, 2021
Kick-off: 7.05pm (AEST)