Football: Phoenix rise to beat Newcastle 3-0

Andrew Durante of the Phoenix on the ball against the Newcastle Jets.  (Photo by Tony Feder/Getty...
Andrew Durante of the Phoenix on the ball against the Newcastle Jets. (Photo by Tony Feder/Getty Images)
When a player turns out against one of their former teams they seem to have a funny knack of coming back to haunt their old side and that was the case this afternoon as two Jeremy Brockie goals inspired the Wellington Phoenix to a 3-0 win over Newcastle.

Playing across the Tasman has long been an issue for Ricki Herbert's Phoenix side but they snapped their three-game losing streak in fine fashion in Newcastle as a goal in each half from Brockie and a late penalty from Paul Ifill saw the Wellingtonians bank a valuable three points.

The Phoenix hadn't won since the opening game of the season when they looked so impressive in a 2-0 victory over Sydney FC, but the side had fallen on lean times recently as two draws and three losses had left them languishing near the foot of the A-League ladder.

Newcastle just seem to struggle against the Phoenix - today's win was Wellington's 12th in 17 games - and the match was punctuated with a few notable incidents but it was Brockie's day to savour.

The 25-year-old spent two seasons in the Hunter region playing for the Jets before he was deemed surplus to requirements at the end of last season and the Nelson-born forward decided to take his talents to Wellington on a three-year contract.

He enjoyed a prolific pre-season in front of goal but had struggled in the opening rounds of the season proper, but a goal in each half today marked his third and fourth strikes of the campaign after he also registered a double against the Melbourne Victory two weeks ago.

Brockie's first was an impressive finish after he beat the offside trap and put the ball past goalkeeper Mark Birighitti just before half-time, while his second sealed the points after he headed in from close range after a goalmouth scramble in the 80th minute.

Birighitti was also taken out of the game after he made a brilliant save to deny Brockie he inadvertently copped a knee to the face from Brockie and left the field with a fractured cheekbone.

With the result all but confirmed, Newcastle defender Josh Mitchell fouled Benjamin Totori in the box and the referee took little time to point to the spot.

Mitchell was lucky to only receive a yellow card given he was the last man, but it mattered little as Ifill calmly slotted the ball home and gave replacement goalkeeper Matthew Nash no chance.

Totori should have made it four in the dying stages of the seven minutes of extra-time that was played due to the length of time it took to get Birighitti off the field, but he butchered the opportunity to score after he rounded Nash and could only find the side of the net.

The result will have taken a considerable amount of pressure off Herbert and it was a nice way for skipper Andrew Durante to celebrate his 100th match for the club wearing the captain's armband.

Wellington will stay on across the ditch during the week to prepare for their next game against the Perth Glory in Western Australian on Saturday night.

Wellington Phoenix 3 (Jeremy Brockie 43, 80, Paul Ifill 86) Newcastle Jets 0 HT: 1-0

- Daniel Richardson of APNZ

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