With a possible wooden spoon looming, Wellington Phoenix needed to win and emerged triumphant over Melbourne City in a 2-1 win in Auckland on Saturday.
It’s time for the Nix need to start choosing a new coach, new players and figuring out a way to stay in the A-League next season.
Sarpreet Singh was the hero for the hosts, with a lovely turn and finish drawing Wellington level in the first half and then taking them clear with a deflected strike after the break. It had looked ominous for the Phoenix after an early Bruno Fornaroli finish, as his curled strike was unstoppable for goalkeeper Oli Sail.
Roy Krishna missed a close-range chance and Dario Vidosic hit the post late on against his old employers, as the Phoenix hung on for a rare three points.
City miss chance to gain finals momentum
In a game against the bottom team, Warren Joyce’s men did not cover themselves in glory. City sat deep, wary of the threat of Krishna and Nathan Burns brought in behind. However, this gave Singh space to work and capitalise on.
With third place already sewn up, the Melbourne players seemed to lack any motivation to put in a fully committed performance.
Phoenix salvage some pride
After a dreadful season of player issues, coach departures and losses from winning positions, the Phoenix finally had something to cheer with a performance full of passion and pride.
Their one shining light in a wretched season has been the emergence of young players such as Singh, Liberato Cacace, Dylan Fox and Matthew Ridenton.