28 Aug 2015

Phoenix thumped by Melbourne City

1:01 pm on 28 August 2015

The Wellington Phoenix coach Ernie Merrick shrugged off his side's 5-1 thrashing by Melbourne City in the FFA Cup Round of 16.

Merrick said it was an inevitable consequence of his team's demanding pre-season schedule.

Ernie Merrick is yet to discuss with skipper Andrew Durante the side's disappointing playoff performance.

Ernie Merrick is yet to discuss with skipper Andrew Durante the side's disappointing playoff performance. Photo: Photosport

"We had a few injuries and we had five 19-year-olds on the field tonight and it showed," he said after the game in Melbourne on Wednesday night.

"I think it was fatigue and (in)experience. But that's part of pre-season. I'm not concerned by it in the slightest."

"I saw a few things that I wanted to see from our youngsters who are amateur players. Some of them really stood up. If anything a couple of the senior players let us down a little bit."

For City, a suspected hamstring strain suffered by star forward Harry Novillo was the only blemish for the hosts.

Penalties from Aaron Mooy and Bruno Fornaroli, together with goals from Novillo, Robert Koren and Wade Dekker sealed a berth in the FFA Cup quarter-finals for the home team, who completely outclassed their A-League rivals from New Zealand.

Roy Krishna scored for the Phoenix in the 34th minute.

The Phoenix were also knocked out of last season's A-League finals by Melbourne City in Wellington in May.

FFA Cup holders Adelaide United maintained their hopes of back-to-back titles with a dramatic extra-time win over Sydney FC.

Last season's runners-up Perth Glory narrowly avoided an upset with a late victory over Lions FC.

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