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Wanderers, Phoenix record big road wins

By Chris Pike
18 November 2012 09:01PM EST

A 10-MAN Western Sydney Wanderers defended brilliantly to beat Perth Glory 1-0 on Sunday with the Wellington Phoenix also recording a 3-0 win over the Newcastle Jets to finish Round 7 of the A-League.

Wellington beat Newcastle 3-0 at Hunter Stadium on the back of a brace from ex-Jet Jeremy Brockie who scored in either half, and then the Phoenix put the exclamation mark on their performance with a third goal to Paul Ifill in the dying minutes.

In Perth, Western Sydney got the fast start with a 15th minute goal to Iacopo La Rocca before losing Youssouf Hersie to a red card in the 38th minute.

The Glory peppered the goals incessantly in the second half, but Western Sydney goalkeeper Ante Covic was simply brilliant making save after save with his defenders Shannon Cole, Nikolai Topor-Stanley and Michael Beauchamp equally outstanding to ensure the Wanderers held on for the courageous win.

Not only was it a big win for Western Sydney in terms of character, but also takes the Wanderers into fifth position on the table while Wellington's win moved them from the bottom up to seventh.

Wellington's win was a tremendous confidence boost considering they were on the top of the table and that it was away against a Newcastle side that still does sit in third position on the table.

It continued the Phoenix's dominance over Newcastle as well now stretch to six straight matches. The Jets have not beaten Wellington since a 1-0 triumph in November 2010.

Brockie's goals came in the 44th and 81st minutes before Ifill made it 3-0 when he scored in the 87th from a penalty.

Newcastle's day got even worse when goalkeeper Mark Birighitti fractured his cheekbone in a second half clash with Brockie. Coach Gary van Egmond confirmed the injury after the match.

"It doesn’t look good for Mark," van Egmond said.

"He is off to hospital and he will be out for at least six to eight weeks with the fractured cheekbone."

Van Egmond will also look to make changes to his side next week against Melbourne Heart after the disappointing performance.

"We've had a lot more resolve this year than what we had last year and that was evident in all the games up until now," he said.

"Today we came up against a very desperate opponent which we knew we would be getting. They are not sitting in the position they are accustomed to and they are a real team of men.

"We'll see what we've got in terms of fit bodies for next week, but we need to change. People didn’t play with courage, they played with fear and if you do that, you never really look to control a football match.

Western Sydney did an outstanding job to beat Perth Glory at nib Stadium. They got the only goal of the match in the 34th minute thanks to Iacopo La Rocca, but then had to defend grimly after Hersi received a red card for kicking Perth's Michael Jamieson.

Defend was exactly what the Wanderers did much to the delight of coach Tony Popovic, but he wasn’t as happy with the performance of referee Kris Griffiths-Jones.

"It shows a lot. It shows the character that we have and I'm very proud of the players. Coming here is difficult and they have shown that with the great home record that they have and even with 11 players it's difficult," Popovic said.

"We felt that up until the sending off we totally dominated and probably should have been two-up, but the send off obviously changes things slightly. After that it was all about character, discipline and real team unity.

"In the end, I'm very pleased for the players because they thoroughly deserved that result. I thought that overall the referee had a poor game and it would have been an injustice in the end if we didn’t get the points because of some poor decisions. It would have been a shame if the players didn’t come away with the win."

Glory coach Ian Ferguson was left frustrated by his team's lack of ability to take advantage of the extra man and possession dominance in the second half with the absence of star striker Shane Smeltz due to a personal family issue proving costly.

"We never had the cutting edge today and we are very disappointed with the result. We had the bulk of play and they made it difficult for us. We had our chances, but just didn’t take them," Ferguson said.

"We kept the ball well but we struggled to find that little bit of cutting edge or X-factor that could split the defence open. Credit to them for coming here and getting the early goal, and then doggishly defending after getting a man sent off.

"They made it difficult for us, but there are no excuses and to me it was three points lost. We need to be more ruthless and need people to have that hunger and desire to go on attack. At this moment in time, I just don't see it."

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