'Crucial' moments keep Phoeniix in the hunt

BEN STANLEY
Last updated 05:00 23/02/2014
Glen Moss
Getty Images

PHOENIX RISING: Wellington goalkeeper Glen Moss saved a second half penalty from Mile Sterjovski; a key moment in the Wellington’s 4-1 victory over the Central Coast Mariners.

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Wellington Phoenix midfielder Jeremy Brockie hailed the "crucial" contributions of Glen Moss and Carlos Hernandez in the side's 4-1 victory over the Central Coast Mariners on Friday, after the duo produced moments that may come to define Wellington's A-League season.

With the scores tied at 1-1, Moss saved a 54th minute penalty attempt from Mile Sterjovski - before Hernandez, a Costa Rican international likely to take part at this year's Fifa World Cup, scored the Phoenix's go-ahead goal 10 minutes later.

The two moments were undeniably the biggest of the match in Gosford, as the Phoenix beat the defending A-League champions for the first time since August 2010.

"When individuals do things like that - like Carlos' goal and Mossy's penalty save - it really lifts all the boys around you," Brockie told Sunday News.

"That's one of our strengths in this team. We ride on those things. We're a tight group and I thought we thoroughly deserved the win last night."

Brockie, whose goal late in the second half was his first in more than a month, said the way the Phoenix keep attacking after Hernandez's 64th minute effort showed how much the side has changed under coach Ernie Merrick.

"In previous years, once we got that second goal to go 2-1 up, we could have gone back into our shell - and tried to protect our lead," the 26-year-old said.

"Ernie has instilled that we go out there and get as many goals as we can - and keep going for the whole 90 minutes.

"That's what the boys did, and it's great to get these type of results on the road."

The Phoenix headed into the halftime sheds 1-0 down after Bernie Ibini's 20th minute strike, leading Merrick to tweak the midfield for the second stanza - which ignited Wellington.

Despite being winless for the first 10 games of the season, the Phoenix, who play Adelaide United next Thursday, now sit only one point off third on the A-League table and primed for a serious tilt at the league's playoffs in April.

Brockie said the team's mid-season turn around hints at the belief that has always emanated from the Phoenix changing rooms.

"If you look back the first 10 games, we didn't have a win," he said. "A lot of people - if not everyone but the boys in the changing room - were writing the top six hopes off.

"That's the nature of the A-League. If you put some top results together, you shoot up that ladder quite quickly. We're on a nice run at the moment.

"Obviously there's a lot of hard work to be done, but we want to carry on this momentum and try and cement that spot in the top six. From there, anything can happen."

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