Photo: Reds captain Travis Dodd was unlucky to see red [PlessPix]
Wellington Phoenix 2-1 Adelaide United
Wellington Phoenix beat Adelaide United 2-1 at AMI Stadium in Christchurch this afternoon, but it took a very late goal to clinch the three points.
Ben Sigmund’s header from a corner in the 4th minute of stoppage time did the trick. Adelaide keeper Eugene Galekovic produced a superb save from Tim Brown to concede the corner, which ironically, proved fatal.
Sergio Van Dijk had headed the visitors into the lead in the 14th minute from Cassio’s free-kick from deep on the right.
Wellington drew level seconds after the resumption with an attack straight from the kick-off to the second half. Nick Ward sprayed the ball wide to the right, where the overlapping fullback Sigmund took the ball to the byline before cutting it back for Brown to hammer home from 6 metres. How many times have we seen such a move bear fruit this weekend? It remains one of the game’s most dangerous attacking ploys.
Adelaide missed a good opportunity in the 66th minute when Marcos Flores put Iain Ramsay clear on the right, but he blazed well over the target.
Two minutes later, substitute Marco Rojas, who was causing mayhem down the right flank after coming on in place of the Brazilian, Daniel, with his speed, ball control and willingness to take opponents on, crossed the ball low into the box. Iain Fyfe missed the ball, which carried through to Paul Ifill, who, incredibly, shot wide with the net beckoning.
Brown was unlucky when, in the 75th minute, his shot hit the underside of the bar and bounced down before being cleared.
Seven minutes from the end, the unfortunate Adelaide captain, Travis Dodd, was shown the red card my Mr O’Leary, for apparently kicking an opponent in the head as he lay on the ground. It was an accidental contact and Dodd merely clipped the player on the side of the head as he attempted to avoid him.
With a draw seemingly inevitable, Wellington stuck to their task and were rewarded with a goal with virtually the last touch of the match. Galekovic conceded a corner and Sigmund rose above everyone in the box to head home the winner.
The attendance of 14,108 was excellent for a game in Christchurch, a city which recently suffered a devastating earthquake. Hopefully, the game cheered up many of the inhabitants who attended.
The loss leaves Adelaide United in second spot with 34 points, 4 points ahead of 3rd-placed Gold Coast United and 7 points adrift of leaders Brisbane Roar.
Wellington are 5th with 22 points, one point in front of 6th-ranked Melbourne Heart and 7 points behind 4th-placed Central Coast Mariners.
Wellington Phoenix: Paston - Sigmund, North, Durante, Hearfield (Greenacre 81) - Lia, Muscat, Brown - Ward (MacAllister 88), Ifill, Daniel (Rojas 61) (Sub not used: Vukovic)
Booked: Durante, Greenacre, Ward
Goals: Brown 46, Sigmund 90+4
Adelaide United: Galekovic - Barbiero, Fyfe, Cornthwaite, Cassio - Reid (Mullen 86), Flores (Pantelis 79), Hughes - Dodd, Van Dijk, Ramsay (Watson 79) (Sub not used: Birighitti)
Booked: Flores, Cornthwaite
Sent off: Dodd
Goals: Van Dijk 14
Ref: P O’Leary