22 Dec 2013

Phoenix score first win of season

9:37 pm on 22 December 2013

The Wellington Phoenix have beaten Sydney FC 1-0 to break their A-League duck but look set to be without injured forward Paul Ifill for some time.

A 1-0 defeat of Sydney FC in Wellington on Sunday broke coach Ernie Merrick's winless record at the A-League club but was soured by an apparently serious injury to classy forward Paul Ifill.

The 34-year-old crumpled in a heap for no obvious reason just after halftime and was stretchered off in considerable pain. If he has damaged his achilles tendon, it is probably a season-ending blow.

There was still plenty of reason to smile for a side and 6313 supporters at Westpac Stadium who have endured a season of near-misses.

Their run of bad luck appeared set to continue when they spurned a number of early chances.

But in the 33rd minute, striker Stein Huysegems breezed around goalkeeper Vedran Janjetovic and slotted into an empty net after a through ball from Carlos Hernandez.

Before that, Huysegems and Ifill produced some madcap moments up front while Sydney FC also went close a handful of times in a hectic opening half hour.

The Phoenix remain ninth in the 11th round but adding a win to their four draws and six losses should boost sagging confidence levels.

It ended a three-match losing run against Sydney FC and was their first win at Westpac Stadium in the calendar year, having suffered five losses and three draws in 2013.