Wellington Phoenix celebrated its 100th Hyundai A-League game in style on Saturday night by beating Adelaide 1-0 at Hindmarsh Stadium and no one was happier than striker Chris Greenacre.
Greenacre-s 34th minute strike with a diving header was enough to secure three vital points and keep the Phoenix in the box seat in the dog fight for playoff places.
It was Greenacre-s 13th goal for the Phoenix but, surprisingly, was the first time he had scored the winning goal for his club.
“It-s always nice to score, and I know every goal is important but there is nothing better for a striker than to get the winner,” Greenacre said.
“It was a great cross from Marco (Rojas). As soon as he got the ball I was desperate to get into the box because his crosses are quality and this one was inch perfect.
“Marco has been outstanding since he came into the side. He has won us games with his crosses and scored a couple himself.
“It was a fantastic performance by our lads. We created some good chances and the fact we only scored one was down to the brilliance of Eugene Galekovic.
“He is rated the best keeper in the league and he showed it. One save in particular, from Nicky Ward, was amazing.”
It wasn-t only the Phoenix creating chances though and its defence was under sustained pressure at times in the second half, but the back four of Troy Hearfield, Jade North, Andrew Durante and Tony Lochhead, along with goalkeeper Danny Vukovic held firm.
The most frightening moment for the Phoenix, fighting desperately for only its second away win of the season and its first ever in Adelaide, came late in the piece when Jade North miscued a clearance and thundered the ball against his own crossbar.
“When the ball came back off the bar I knew we were going to win,” Greenacre said.
Greenacre could have opened the scoring as early but his shot was scrambled off the goal line by defender Nigel Boogaard.
Phoenix coach Ricki Herbert signalled his intentions of going for a win by playing two up front with Dylan Macallister partnering Greenacre.
The move paid off and while they had their anxious moments at the back there were also periods when they peppered the Adelaide goal.
The only down side for the Phoenix was having captain Durante shown a yellow card for deliberate handball.
It was Durante-s eighth caution of the season and means he will be suspended for Wednesday-s game against Sydney FC and the final regular season match against North Queensland Fury on Sunday.
With Ben Sigmund and Manny Muscat already suspended for the Sydney encounter, along with Vinnie Lia being ruled out with a hamstring injury sustained on Saturday, Herbert has selection problems.