After a pre-season where the emphasis has been on defence, front-third combinations finally came to fore as Phoenix boasted seven different goalscorers against Team Wellington at Westpac Stadium on Saturday.
As the sun peaked over Westpac Stadium hundreds took advantage of the Home and Garden Show and Wellington Phoenix pre-season match two-for-one as the Phoenix put on a goalscoring clinic – running out 8-1 winners over Premiership side Team Wellington.
It was an action-packed start to the game with both sides almost going ahead inside the first few minutes. Captain for the day, Roy Krishna was enjoying plenty of space down the flanks and his pace and cross almost saw Adam Parkhouse in for a tap in off the far flank.
But it was Team Wellington that took the lead – a slightly mistimed challenged from young ‘keeper Keegan Smith saw the Premiership side handed a penalty in the third minute and goal-machine Angus Kilkolly duly dispatched it for 1-0.
If the Phoenix were startled they didn’t show it, Krishna’s pace down the right again the instigator as a fine cross in the eighth minute was well read by Gui Finkler who got in ahead of the Team Welly custodian to direct home and level the ledger.
Both sides were finding joy on the fast break and Nathaniel Hailemariam and former Nix flyer Joel Stevens looked to unsettle the Phoenix backline, but Smith redeemed his early blushes in the 21st minute with a brilliant one-on-one save at the feet of Stevens.
It was a pivotal moment as inside a minute there was goalmouth drama at the other end – Parkhouse proving too quick for Taylor Schrijvers who felled the winger for a penalty and Kaludjerovic finished from the spot with aplomb.
The Serbian sharp shooter then had a second inside five minutes as again Krishna proved the catalyst down the wing, and a clever run from AK9 saw another tap in to make the score 3-1.
In the second half there was just the one change as Matt Ridenton came on for Alex Rufer and the young All White was instantly into the action – a terrific tackle winning possession about 30m out, then a fine interchange with Finkler and Kaludjerovic before a loose ball broke kindly for the midfielder to lash home from 20m out.
It set the tone as the floodgates threatened to open and Team Wellington’s back three looked increasingly under pressure.
A freakish moment finally gave Krishna the goal he deserved, in the 54th minute a driven cross from Kaludjerovic ricochetted off the Fijian’s head for a looping far post header, before Parkhouse also got in on the action after a fine ball out from Finkler. A well-struck finish from Parkhouse to make it 6-1 inside the hour.
Darije Kalezić then rang the changes giving vital match minutes and youngsters like Logan Rogerson took full advantage. Michael McGlinchey came on and started directing traffic from midfield, his ball found Hamish Watson who layed off for Rogerson to tap home in the 79th.
A minute later it was Dario Vidosic opening his Phoenix goalscoring account after a shot from Sarpreet Singh was parried into his path, and the Socceroo calmly finished.
A good day for those who made it down as Phoenix continue to build towards their opening A-League match on Sunday 8 October, 5pm v Adelaide United.
Wellington Phoenix 8-1 Team Wellington (Kaludjerovic 23′, 28′, Finkler 8′, Ridenton 45′, Krishna 53′, Parkhouse 56′, Rogerson 79′, Vidosic 80′; Kilkolly 3′)
Phoenix: Smith; Galloway (Durante 59′) Mullen, Rossi (Fox 74′), Abbas (Doyle 67′); Rufer (Ridenton 45′), Paracki (McGlinchey 74′), Parkhouse (Vidosic 59′), Krishna (Rogerson 74′), Finkler (Singh 74′), Kaludjerovic (Watson 74′)