Saturday, October 2, 2010

Gold Coast United 3-1 Wellington Phoenix: Gold Coast win for the first time against Wellington

Gold Coast United moved into second spot on the A-League ladder with a 3-1 win at home at Skilled Park against 6th-placed Wellington Phoenix before a poor crowd of 2,943 fans last night.

Bruce Djite put the home side ahead in the 5th minute. Tahj Minniecon attacked down the left and played the ball into the edge of the box, where Djite jinked his way past Jade North before beating Danny Vukovic with a low drive inside the far right-hand corner of the net.

Wellington should have been level two minutes later, but referee Matthew Gillett, in charge of an A-League match for only the third time, disallowed the effort because of the off-side flag. Paul Ifill sent over a left-footed curling shot from the left and it sneaked past both team-mate Chris Greenacre and United goalkeeper Glen Moss and into the net, but Greenacre was wrongly adjudged to be off-side.

Nevertheless, in the 9th minute, the visitors did draw level when Kristian Rees unnecessarily handled the ball and conceded a penalty, which was easily converted by Barbados international Ifill [6 goals in 10 games for Barbados], who placed his spot-kick into the left-hand side of the net as Moss dived the opposite way.

Gold Coast had two more chances to regain the lead in the first half but squandered them.

In the 35th minute, Jason Culina’s pass found Minniecon, but his shot on the turn was tame.

Four minutes later, Culina broke down the right and played a perfect ball inside to Djite, who lifted his shot over the bar.

Djite restored Gold Coast’s lead in the 70th minute with a cheeky flick with his right heel. James Brown had skilfully eluded two tight-marking defenders in Troy Hearfield and Nick Ward near the right corner flag and passed inside for Steve Pantelidis to drive the ball at goal and Djite did the rest from the edge of the 6-yard box.

Eight minutes from the end, a free-kick from deep on the left by Culina was knocked on with his shoulder by Djite and Brown nodded the ball past Vukovic to make it 3-1.

This was Gold Coast United’s first-ever win over Wellington in five meetings.

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