Wellington Phoenix’s grip on an A-League home final berth has loosened after Melbourne Victory celebrated their last home game of a poor season with an emphatic 3-0 win.

In perhaps his last match in front of Victory’s fans, out-of-contract Costa Rican star Carlos Hernandez scored a sensational long-range goal in the 11th minute.

Substitute Isaka Cernak doubled the lead in the second half, before a thunderbolt from teenage midfielder Jimmy Jeggo close to fulltime capped the win.

They were far from the only opportunities for Melbourne, who dominated the disappointing visitors.

A heap of those fell to Archie Thompson, but the veteran striker could not break his scoring drought, which extended to 10 matches.

A Thompson header from a Hernandez free kick two minutes after the Costa Rican’s goal forced a sharp save from Wellington goalkeeper Mark Paston.

But Thompson’s closest effort came in the 32nd minute, when he found a way through two Phoenix defenders inside the penalty area, then ricocheted a right-footer off the inside of the right post across goal.

He frittered another golden opportunity 11 minutes into the second half, when Hernandez set him up virtually on the penalty spot.

But Thompson performed much better as provider two minutes later, his well-timed cross to the goal-mouth allowing a charging Cernak to lunge in and slot it home.

He also set up Jeggo for his maiden A-League goal, a blistering long-range strike in the 89th minute.

Wellington’s best opportunities fell to Tim Brown, who sprayed good close-range chances with his head in each half.

While Victory are out of finals contention, they at least delivered interim coach Jim Magilton the second win of his 11-match reign, which is expected to stretch into next season.

The loss could be costly for the Phoenix.

Even a draw would have all-but guaranteed them a home final.

Now, either or both of Melbourne Heart (fifth) and Newcastle Jets (sixth) can close to within two points of fourth-placed Wellington with a round to play, if they win their respective Saturday night matches.

Victory coach Jim Magilton could not explain why his side suddenly hit form once their finals chances were shot, saying their preparation and instructions had been no different from previously.

But he said it was a good sign.

“When you win 3-0 against a good side it’s encouraging,” Magilton said.

“It’s probably come a little bit too late. Well, it has come too late, but they are encouraging signs.

“Belief grows, hopefully the young players will take it on board.

“And I thought Harry (Kewell), Carlos (Hernandez) and Archie (Thompson) were very good tonight.

“That probably hasn’t happened consistently enough over the course of the season.”

Wellington coach Ricki Herbert left without attending his scheduled press conference.

© AAP 2018
The Socceroos' hopes of qualifying from the group stage at the World Cup are hanging by a thread after a 1-1 draw against Denmark. See how the match unfolded with our Australia vs Denmark match report, highlights and result.

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The Crowd Says (18)

  • March 17th 2012 @ 7:43am
    pete4 said | March 17th 2012 @ 7:43am | ! Report

    3 goals from the top drawer from MV. Where has this type of performance been this season is the question…

  • March 17th 2012 @ 8:09am
    Titus said | March 17th 2012 @ 8:09am | ! Report

    Hard to believe that was the team I saw in Sydney just last week, they were truely terrible then, but quite a turn around.

  • Roar Guru

    March 17th 2012 @ 8:33am
    Fussball ist unser leben said | March 17th 2012 @ 8:33am | ! Report

    The biggest change from last night to previous home games was the way our DMs won the 50/50 balls, pressed high up the park & were creative in their play. Every player did his job reasonably well & some – like Diogo, Jeggo, Carlos, Fabio – were exceptional. Only Foschini remained true to his form last night and played like a donkey – he can’t pass, can’t tackle, is never in the right spot, cannot cross the ball when he moves forward & his opponent gets in behind too easily.

    So much to excite the crowd last night: of course everyone will remember Carlos’s bullet &, even if Carlos leaves, he’s given me more fantastic moments over 5 years at MVFC than most players will provide in a lifetime.

    Anyway, who needs Carlos when you have Jeggo!!

    But, the thing that most excited me last night occurred in the 80′ when a 17 year old kid, Julius Doe Davies took the pitch. Every time Julius touched the ball something happened. I know we put young kids up on pedestals too early but this kid has it all: technique, creative vision, strength on the ball & pace to burn and, given his background and what he’s endured in his childhood, there will be no question about the kid’s mental toughness.

    For those, who haven’t heard the name Julius Doe Davies, I urge you to read this story and I guarantee you’ll be hearing a lot more of this name over the next 15 years.
    Ref: http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/julius-davies-the-boy-with-no-country/story-fn6bmf6t-1225943944046

    • March 17th 2012 @ 11:36am
      Western Park Posse said | March 17th 2012 @ 11:36am | ! Report

      I too was on the couch on the Gold Coast waiting for him to come on, so much hype and so much of a story not to be excited about this moment. AND to come on at the expense of Harry it must have been a special moment for a lot of people.

      Boy we do have a lot of guys with potential coming through, even if only 20% make it we will still have a great socceroos squad in the next 10-15 years. Rogic, Davies and Tombides (get well soon), and Williams (Ryan) would make an awesome front attacking 4. Compund this with Antonis and Luongo as DM, boy oh boy, in 5 years we could be the envy of even Japan!

      Having said this, let us just enjoy the fact that we have a national league as options for these guys to play and develop (I know Luongo, Williams and Tombides ahve not played in the H-AL).

    • March 17th 2012 @ 10:27pm
      Axelv said | March 17th 2012 @ 10:27pm | ! Report

      Fuss, Victory in midfield were extremely good at winning back the ball, I was very impressed at how easy they made it look.

  • March 17th 2012 @ 10:35am
    Swampy said | March 17th 2012 @ 10:35am | ! Report

    As a neutral fan Carlos Hernandez will be sorely missed if he goes.

    Carlos may not have been fit, fast, good at defending or always concentrating on the task at hand but I will long remember the name ‘Carlos Hernandez’ over the countless journeymen dotted throughout the midfield’s of every A League club.

    I certainly hope the A League doesn’t go the way of the NBL where the coaches gained full control of squads and started employing import players that fit their ‘system’ and filled a specific role rather than some showman that put bums on seats. There are such signs already…

    I watch every MVFC game because of H, Archie & Carlos – 3 players capable of the special moment. For exactly the opposite reason I find it very difficult to get interested in Sydney, Central Coast, Adelaide and Perth matches.

    Thank you Carlos for the memories.

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    • Roar Guru

      March 19th 2012 @ 12:38pm
      The Cattery said | March 19th 2012 @ 12:38pm | ! Report

      The amount of space the Nix allowed Carlos for that opening goal was huge, more space than Carlos has seen for years, he had something like 12 metres of space to line it up and smack it.

      • Roar Guru

        March 19th 2012 @ 12:55pm
        Fussball ist unser leben said | March 19th 2012 @ 12:55pm | ! Report

        Finding space is what tactically smart players do – it’s what separates them from the lesser players. In the Europa League on Friday morning, whilst everyone else was jostling as a corner was about to be taken, little Sergio Agüero quietly, and without fuss, just took a few steps backwards and created 3-4m space between himself & the Sporting Lisbon defenders …. and, there he was – standing alone in the 6 yard box to put Man City 3-2 up!

        • Roar Guru

          March 19th 2012 @ 2:05pm
          The Cattery said | March 19th 2012 @ 2:05pm | ! Report

          It’s a long, long time since I’ve seen Carlos given 12m of space to line up a shot at goal with no opposition player within coo-ee of him, either someone failed to follow instructions, or the manager had set up the back four far too deeply (or a bit of both, perhaps the holding mid was caught out of position as well, but the amount of space allowed was quite stark)

          If someone had been given the job of marking him, he’s really not that difficult mark, he’s very slow, and can’t raise a gallop without losing his breath.

          • Roar Guru

            March 19th 2012 @ 2:20pm
            Fussball ist unser leben said | March 19th 2012 @ 2:20pm | ! Report

            I guess you don’t watch enough MVFC live at the stadium to see that Carlos creates space for himself numerous times every game. You’ll never pick this up on TV.

            I don’t think I’ve seen “man-marking” used as a tactic in the past 20 years (last i remember was Paul Wade chopping at Maradonna’s ankles in 1993) – other than at set-pieces.

            • Roar Guru

              March 19th 2012 @ 2:32pm
              The Cattery said | March 19th 2012 @ 2:32pm | ! Report

              That’s because the tactic of man-marking is far more sophisticated than what it was 20 years ago.

              These days you are expected to both mark space, and watch out for different opponents in different positions, i.e. a singl player doesn’t necessarily take responsibility for one player for the whole 90 minutes, but he does take responsibility for a certain player within certain scenarios – and I can promise you, one of those scenarios would be Carlos collecting the ball 5m outside the D – and I can also promise you that that never happens with him having 12 m of space in front of him – so there has been a definite failing somewhere with the NIx – but if you honestly believe that’s a normal occrurrence (Carlos having so much space in sight of goal), well, what can I say – good luck to you.

            • Roar Guru

              March 19th 2012 @ 2:42pm
              Fussball ist unser leben said | March 19th 2012 @ 2:42pm | ! Report

              The Cattery

              There is a reason for the adage “seeing is believing”.

              I would be willing to say that every week I’ve seen Carlos Hernandez playing in Melbourne for the past 4 years (his 1st year wasn’t the best) he has created space for himself as he did against Nix and taken a shot from outside the box – as he did against the Nix.

              It’s not always 12m of space – as you have estimated – perhaps, it’s 9m or 8m. But, with the swivel of his hips he can wrong-foot the nearest opponent and set himself up for the bullet shot.

              It happens at least once every week that I’ve watched Carlos playing for MVFC.

  • March 17th 2012 @ 1:47pm
    Midfielder said | March 17th 2012 @ 1:47pm | ! Report

    As I posted last night awesome display by MV… glad we don’t have to face them in the finals …. the best I have seen MV in a long long time …. left the best to last ….

  • Roar Guru

    March 19th 2012 @ 12:39pm
    The Cattery said | March 19th 2012 @ 12:39pm | ! Report

    Adam Griffiths training with the Victory in hope of securing a contract for next season.

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