BRIAN SCIARETTA - Monday, December 10, 2012
Despite entering the game on the heels of a string of positive results, Wellington Phoenix played their worst game of the season a loss at home to last place Sydney FC.
American midfielder Alex Smith started and played 54 minutes in the loss.
Entering into the game, few would have given Sydney FC much of a chance in the game. They have been mired in last place since the first week of the season and on Saturday played without star Alessandro Del Piero who was out with a pulled hamstring.
After a relatively even first half, Sydney FC struck in injury time right before the break when Sebastian Ryall headed home a cross sent in from the right side from Jairo Glaizer for a 1-0 lead.
In the 70th minute, the guests doubled their lead when Rhyan Grant snuck behind the Wellington defense after collecting a through ball from Terry McFlynn. Grant moved in alone against Wellington keeper Mark Paston who he easily beat for a 2-0 advantage.
In the 85th minute, Wellington went up a man when McFlynn was given a red card for his second bookable offense.
The Phoenix continued to press and the New Zealand-based club was awarded a penalty in stoppage time when Manny Muscat was brought down in the box by Sydney defender Adam Griffiths. On the ensuing kick, Jeremy Brockie made no mistake as he easily converted the penalty to narrow the deficit to 2-1.
Moments later, Brockie nearly equalized at the very end of the game but his shot was saved miraculously by Vedran Vanjetovic to help save the victory for Sydney.
With the loss, Wellington falls to sixth place in the A-League and they return to action next Sunday when they travel to Australia to face Adelaide United.