Melbourne Victory have fought back from a two-goal deficit to down the Phoenix 3-2 in an entertaining, if sometimes shambolic, A-League clash in Wellington.
Eighth on the ladder going into Sunday’s match, the Victory trailed 0-2 at half-time after two Andrija Kaludjerovic headers but battled back in a gritty second-half performance to seal their second win of the season.
Besart Berisha’s 54th-minute tap-in and an own goal three minutes later off Goran Paracki set up a tense final half-hour which was broken by James Troisi’s 86th minute winner.
The win shunts Melbourne up the table to sit equal with fifth-placed Perth on 10 points.
The visitors looked to have broken an early deadlock after 17 minutes in a move started by former Nix favourite Kosta Barbarouses.
His through-ball found Berisha for a powerful finish into the top left corner, only for the video assistant referee to rule offside and disallow the goal.
Melbourne’s inability to finish chances was cruelly punished after 29 minutes.
Scott Galloway sent in the perfect cross and Kaludjerovic’s powerful header left Victory goalkeeper Lawrence Thomas no chance.
Barely two minutes later, the 30-year-old Serbian striker doubled the scoreline, this time nodding home from Tom Doyle’s well-weighted cross.
Melbourne’s fortunes did not look to be improving from the restart.
It took barely three minutes for the visitors to fashion their first chance, Leroy George bursting through to confront Nix keeper Lewis Italiano one-on-one before spraying his shot wide
But after 54 minutes the visitors hauled a goal back, set up after a strong strike from Barbarouses was parried and fell kindly for Berisha to tap home.
The equaliser came three minutes later from a corner, an own-goal ricocheting in off Paracki.
There were still plenty more chances for Melbourne to squander, Berisha’s radar well off in firing high after Troisi’s superb work along the baseline left him with a sitter.
But Berisha redeemed himself with an 86th minute through-ball for Troisi to guide home for the winner.