Brockie, Wellington wind lift Phoenix to win
The Phoenix are climbing the A-League ladder yet their fans are deserting them as a season-low crowd of 5405 watched a 1-0 win over Western Sydney in Wellington today.
Wellington got one helping hand from referee Matt Gillett and another from their 12th man - the wind - as Jeremy Brockie's goal glut continued at Westpac Stadium.
As predicted the Wanderers were competitive and difficult to break down as an Ante Covic goalkeeping howler proved the decisive moment of an uninspiring match.
Brockie - who now has six goals from his last five matches - swung in a hopeful cross in the 22nd minute which caught a wicked gust to befuddle Covic.
One of the best keepers in the league, the 37-year-old lost his footing and could only watch on in horror as the ball hit the back of the net unimpeded.
It brought back memories of Justin Pasfield's howler in 2010, when, in swirling winds, the North Queensland keeper botched a clearance to gift Chris Greenacre a goal.
Earlier, Western Sydney had a good penalty shout turned down by Gillett after Andrew Durante thrust his arm out in the box to block a Jerome Polenz cross.
The Phoenix were rarely troubled throughout the 90 minutes as Wanderers striker Dino Kresinger proved an ineffective target and the visitors badly missed Aaron Mooy.
Covic partially gained redemption with a couple of good saves - tipping Alex Smith's free kick over the bar and also denying Brockie a brace.
Coach Ricki Herbert threw youngsters Louis Fenton and Tyler Boyd on in a bid to kill the contest but, despite a few anxious late moments, Brockie's strike proved enough.
With a third of the season played, the Phoenix are now fifth of 10 teams with a three win, three draw and three loss record.
Next up is another home game against strugglers Sydney FC on Sunday and the club owners will be banking on some overdue sun and Alessandro Del Piero to drag a few more through the gate.
On this evidence, the Phoenix will be hard to beat playing their 4-3-3 system but it is also hard to see them troubling the likes of Central Coast or Melbourne Victory.
Wellington Phoenix 1 (Jeremy Brockie) Western Sydney Wanderers 0. HT: 1-0