Stein Huysegems and Tyler Boyd have combined to sink Western Sydney Wanderers’ undefeated home record and continue Wellington Phoenix’s remarkable A-League mid-season resurgence.
The Phoenix scored a 3-1 come-from-behind win over the Wanderers at Pirtek Stadium on Wednesday with Huysegems scoring two goals and Boyd one.
The Phoenix duo put on an attacking clinic after the home side had gone up 1-0 in the 62nd minute through Mark Bridge after great lead-up work from Shinji Ono and Youssouf Hersi.
But Boyd struck back in the 68th minute before Huysegems’ brace came in the 78th and 83rd minutes, the second coming with a stunning backheel.
The win is the third straight for the Phoenix after previously enduring a winless start to the season.
The loss was the Wanderers’ first at home since January 6 last year.
With Ono and Tomi Yuric back and Michael Beauchamp wearing the captain’s armband the Wanderers controlled much of the contest until after their first goal.
The hosts had the better of the play in the first half and probably should have gone into the break ahead.
A Juric header flew over the bar in the 14th minute after he was incorrectly ruled offside, before a powerful shot from Aaron Mooy was deflected wide by Phoenix goalkeeper Glenn Moss.
Then, in the final minute of time in the opening half, an Ono header hit the bar.
With Hersi constantly threatening the Phoenix defence after the break, the Wanderers always looked likely to score and it was a well deserved lead when they went 1-0 up.
But then the game turned on its head as Boyd and Huysgems dominated to secure the upset win for the Phoenix to give Wanderers coach Tony Popovic plenty to ponder in the New Year.
The win has lifted the Phoenix to eighth on the A-League ladder, while the Wanderers remain second, four points behind Brisbane and four points ahead of Melbourne Victory who both have a game in hand.
Phoenix coach Ernie Merrick said he was always confident his side could turn their season around.
“We have been playing some good football and we can score goals … we showed that tonight,” he said.
“I felt this turnaround coming. The boys have never lost faith.
“The law of averages says it has to come good.”
Wanderers’ boss Tony Popovic said the Phoenix made his side pay for their mistakes late in the game.
“They scored a good equaliser but I was comfortable at 1-1,” he said.
“But after that I felt we tried too hard to push the issue and they punished us for our mistakes and credit goes to them for that.”