ANDREW VORCE - Sunday, November 18, 2012
Alex Smith went the distance for Wellington Phoenix in central midfield and helped the New Zealand club overcome their slump with an impressive performance at Hunter Stadium.
Smith had the first clear chance at goal as Wellington started their onslaught of the Jets goal. The initial shot was cleared out to the right flank to Leo Bertos picked out the American striker. Smith leapt the highest but his glancing header was sent just wide of Mark Birighitt's net.
The breakthrough came just before the midway interval from a similar interchange. This time Paul Ifill was the provider with Jeremy Brockie on the receiving end. The former Jet's midfielder's intelligent run sent him through with plenty of time to collect the cross, take a touch, before slotting it past Birighitt.
The Jet's keeper was forced into a substitution in the 69th minute after a collision in the box, meaning back up keeper Matthew Nash was brought into the fray. The Jet's had little in the way of attacking options, and Brockie finished off the Jet's in the 80th minute.
Brockie, who spent two years in a Jet's uniform, showed great composure as his new employers continued their attacks. Nash missed his punch and was unable to beat Brockie to the follow up attempt as the midfielder headed his shot from a tight angle over the keeper at to the back post.
The game was wrapped up in the 85th minute when Josh Mitchell was fortunate to receive only a yellow card after tripping down Benjamin Totori in the box. Ifill stepped up to take the ensuing penalty kick to cap the game off.
Totori nearly added a fourth after weaving his way through the entire Jets line up and rounding Nash but was unable to convert from the tight angle into the wide open net. Only two cards were issued in the game, one to Brockie with the other going to Louis Fenton.
Up next for Smith and company, a trip to Perth Glory to nib Stadium.