On his return to the side after an injury layoff Michael McGlinchey scored in the opening 10 minutes to seal Wellington Phoenix a 1-0 win over Central Coast Mariners at Westpac Stadium on Saturday night.
The home side began the match brightly and duly took the lead 10 minutes in when McGlinchey beat the goalkeeper at the near post with a fierce drive.
Wellington continued to attack and were unfortunate not to add to their lead, particularly in the first half, but in the end the solitary strike proved enough to give the hosts the three points and put them within touching distance of the top six.
Phoenix made an excellent start to the contest and the pressure paid off in the 10th minute when the returning McGlinchey cut inside from the edge of the box and fired past Paul Izzo at the near post to make it 1-0.
Wellington were in complete control of the match after going in front, passing the ball around comfortably and creating a number of good scoring opportunities.
Despite troubling Izzo on a few occasions, the hosts were unable to apply the finishing touch and went into the break with a one-goal lead despite their play deserving more.
Phoenix begun the second period much as the ended the first with Kosta Barbarouses going close before the hour as he stung the palms of the Mariners goalkeeper from a tight angle.
With 10 minutes remaining Wellington had a golden chance to kill of the contest when Hamish Watson was played through on goal. While he was unable to outpace the last defender, the ball fell invitingly for fellow substitute Adam Parkhouse inside the box, but his well-struck shot was saed by Izzo before again stopping the Phoenix winger.
There was still time before the final whistle for Wellington to add to their lead when Parkhouse was brilliantly released by Watson, yet this time the winger’s shot when just over the crossbar after chipping the goalkeeper.
In the end McGlinchey’s goal proved enough to secure the three points for Phoenix and move them to within one point of the top six.
“I thought we deserved the win, I thought we played some really good football, especially in the first half. We should have been more up than we were. But like I said, we managed to come away with three points and that’s what today was really about,” Buckingham said.
“That’s the third clean sheet we’ve got against the Mariners – it’s the fifth clean sheet of the season – that’s more I think than we’ve had in the last couple of years, so we’re pleased that the defensive set up has helped us get another win.
“We’ve got Victory on Tuesday night, we’ve got Roy Krishna to come back into the squad, and he’ll give us that extra firepower, he’s our leading goalscorer and the guy with the most assists and we’ll welcome him back into the squad.”