Phoenix Shine in the Sun


The Wellington Phoenix got everything they wanted from the game as they beat a Central League Selection 4-1 in sunny, calm conditions at Raumati’s Weka Park on Sunday afternoon.

Coach Ernie Merrick took the opportunity with his New Zealand players being on international duty to give most of the rest of his squad a full 90 minutes of action.

The likes of Roly Bonevacia, Nathan Burns, Lewis Italiano and Roy Krishna seized the opportunity with both hands and feet to see off a competitive Central League selection.

It took only 110 seconds for Nathan Burns, who is looking sharper by the day, to open the scoring after Kenny Cunningham and Krishna combined well to give him the chance.

Sixteen minutes later Burns turned provider for Krishna to continue his rich pre-season vein of scoring form, and in the 31st minute Krishna bagged his second of the game after being put clear by a lovely ball from Jason Hicks.

The Phoenix weren’t quite as sharp going forward in the second half though they still added to their tally with Hicks scoring from close range.

In the last minute Nathaniel Hailemanian grabbed a consolation goal for the Central League side with a lovely volley from the edge of the penalty area.

Phoenix assistant coach Chris Greenacre said it had been a very satisfactory afternoon.

“It is always good up here and the weather was spot on today,” Greenacre said.

“Some of these players haven’t had a lot of game time lately.

“It was a good opportunity for them to get 90 minutes under their belt and it was a bonus that they turned in a good performance.

“The second half was a bit flat with the Central League side making a few changes. When that happens it becomes a bit disjointed.”