Phoenix end Victory hot streak

Melbourne Victory’s unbeaten A-League streak has come to an end following a 2-0 away defeat to Wellington Phoenix on Wednesday night.

Melbourne Victory’s unbeaten A-League streak has come to an end following a 2-0 away defeat to Wellington Phoenix on Wednesday night.

Second-half goals from Dylan Macallister and Marco Rojas earned the Phoenix a thoroughly deserved three points at Westpac Stadium.

Victory, missing influential skipper Kevin Muscat, were outgunned by a red-hot Wellington side, who at times were simply irrepressible.

Such was Wellington’s dominance, the Victory created only two clear cut chances, the first coming to Carlos Hernandez after just 13 minutes.

His shot was saved by Phoenix goalkeeper Danny Vukovic, who also prevented an attempt by Brazilian import Ricardinho just seven minutes from time.

Vukovic’s opposite number, Melbourne no.1 Michael Petkovic was busier than a one-arm bricklayer and if wasn’t for his heroics throughout a hectic 90 minutes, Victory’s losing margin may well have been greater.

The former Socceroo custodian was at his shot-stopping best, pulling off a string of top-draw saves to deny a wave of Phoenix attacks.

He blunted attempts Macallister, Rojas, Ben Sigmund and former Victory man Nicky Ward before his goal was breached in the 67th minute.

Teenage left-winger Rojas, who illustrated why he is touted one of New Zealand’s brightest ever prospects, found Macallister at the far post.

Having had his first attempt denied by Petkovic, Macallister tucked away his fourth goal in six Hyundai A-League appearances at his second, much to the relief of the home fans who must have wondered whether the goal would ever come.

Both attackers were central in the Phoenix’s second just five minutes later, with Rojas showing poise beyond his 19 years to slide the ball past Petkovic.

The loss stops Victory’s unbeaten run at seven matches and their winning streak at four, but they remain in fifth spot on 32 points from 23 matches.

It was a night of few positives for Ernie Merrick, but the return of Danny Allsopp would have pleased the Victory coach.

Allsopp, in the first game of his second spell with Victory, played more than 50 minutes after coming on as a first-half substitute for Marvin Angulo.

Fellow striker Ricardinho offered glimpses of class, but struggled to get any consistent service, while midfielder Grant Brebner worked his socks off.

Next on the agenda for Victory is Sunday’s blockbuster clash against fierce rivals Adelaide United at AAMI Park.

Victory have beaten Adelaide in their past 10 matches and the clash before that was a draw.
Wellington Phoenix 2 (Dylan Macallister 67, Marco Rojas 72)
Melbourne Victory 0