Sydney FC 1 Wellington Phoenix 2

Adam Casey’s first-ever Hyundai A-League goal was the highlight of Sydney FC’s 2-1 loss to Wellington Phoenix at Sydney Football Stadium.

Adam Casey’s first-ever Hyundai A-League goal was the highlight of Sydney FC’s 2-1 loss to Wellington Phoenix at Sydney Football Stadium.

Playing his tenth Hyundai A-League game, the first eight of which were in the colours of Wellington Phoenix’s Auckland-based predecessor, Casey pounced on an error by Tony Lochhead to fire Sydney FC in front inside six minutes.

Sydney FC midfielder Ufuk Talay hit forward what appeared to be a harmless ball but, when it spun off the turf, Casey outmuscled Wellington Phoenix left back Lochhead and zeroed in on goal. Casey kept his nerve to strike the ball past Glen Moss, his first Hyundai A-League goal reward for his work ethic.

But, exactly as had happened in Sydney FC’s previous Hyundai A-League 2007/08 home match, Branko Culina’s team let down its guard within a matter of minutes of taking the lead. Wellington Phoenix midfielder Felipe received the ball from a quickly taken free kick, got away from Mark Milligan and, before Tony Popovic could close down the space, unleashed a swirling shot that moved away from Clint Bolton and ended up in the bottom corner.

Sydney FC regained its composure to control possession for the next 15 minutes before disaster struck. Another of Wellington Phoenix’s Brazilian imports, Daniel, went down under Ruben Zadkovich’s challenge and referee Matthew Breeze pointed to the penalty spot. Breeze disallowed Daniel’s first kick for enroachment but he had no issue with the South American’s second.

The second half was played out at a frantic pace as Sydney FC, hungry for an equaliser, pushed forward in numbers and Wellington Phoenix tried to catch Culina’s side on the break. No-one came closer than Alex Brosque to hauling the home team level. On his return from Qantas Socceroos duty, Brosque hit the woodwork in the 61st minute after substitute Robbie Middleby’s cross from the left wing had caused panic within the away side’s defensive ranks.

With ten minutes remaining Middleby, who replaced Casey on the hour mark, thought he had unlocked Wellington Phoenix’s defence but Moss raced off his line to block his goal-bound shot bravely with his face. Another Sydney FC substitute, David Zdrilic, had a last-gasp effort to level the scores but Ricki Herbert’s side held on to register its maiden Hyundai A-League victory.

Sydney FC 1 (Adam Casey 6′)
Wellington Phoenix 2 (Felipe 9′, Daniel 29′ (pen))
Date: Friday, September 14, 2007
Venue: Sydney Football Stadium, Sydney
Referee: Matthew Breeze
Crowd: 11,491

Sydney FC: 1. Clint BOLTON (gk), 2. Iain FYFE, 4. Mark RUDAN (9. David ZDRILIC 75′), 6. Tony POPOVIC (captain), 8. Ruben ZADKOVICH, 10. Steve CORICA, 12. PATRICK, (11. Brendon SANTALAB 59′), 14. Alex BROSQUE, 16. Mark MILLIGAN, 18. Adam CASEY (7. Robbie MIDDLEBY 59′), 23. Ufuk TALAY.

Substitutes not used: 30. Matthew NASH (gk).

Yellow cards: Mark Rudan 56′, Brendon Santalab 64′, Ruben Zadkovich 86′, David Zdrilic 89′.

Wellington Phoenix: 20. Glen MOSS (gk), 2. Jeremy CHRISTIE, 3. Tony LOCHHEAD (13. Steven OLD 82′), 5. Karl DODD, 7. Ross ALOISI (captain), 9. Shane SMELTZ, 10. Michael FERRANTE, 11. DANIEL, 12. Richard JOHNSON, 14. Steven O’DOR, 21. FELIPE (9. Vaughan COVENY 62′).

Substitutes not used: 1. Mark PASTON (gk), 15. George PALADINI.

Yellow cards: Daniel 30′, Ross Aloisi 85′, Glen Moss 86′.