1 Dec 2014

Phoenix thump City

10:16 am on 1 December 2014

A hat-trick from Nathan Burns has propelled the Wellington Phoenix to a 5-1 win over Melbourne City in their A-League football clash in Wellington.

Nathan Burns

Nathan Burns Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The result was sweet revenge for the Phoenix who were trounced 5-nil last time they played City, then playing as Melbourne Heart, nine months ago.

That demolition became a distant memory after a resurgent Phoenix, who are 5th on the table, thumped home four goals in a golden 20-minute spell either side of halftime.

An 85th minute penalty wrapped up the win in front of a 7 thousand-strong crowd, giving Nathan Burns his hat-trick and the Phoenix their first in the A-League.

Coming off back-to-back 2-1 away losses to Adelaide United and Perth Glory, Wellington struggled to contain City for much of the first half.

But in stark contrast to their previous games, they made the most of their chances with late goals to Burns and Roly Bonevacia to take a 2-nil lead into the break.

The onslaught continued after the restart, Burns belting home his second after barely a minute, and Roy Krishna making it four just as 50 minutes ticked over.

City hauled one back after 68 minutes, David Williams converting from the spot after Bonevacia's trailing leg brought down James Brown.

But with only one win from eight starts, a 3-1 victory over Brisbane Roar three weeks ago, City looked bereft of ideas after making most of the early running, and Wellington's well-organised defence was never really stretched.

The coach Ernie Merrick says their structure was strong once they opened up. "When we did that and started playing through McGlinchey who I thought was outstanding, he provided the service to Nathan and Roy [Krishna] up front and all of a sudden it all started clicking together and it seemed to get better and better the longer the game went."

The win, the Phoenix's fourth from eight games, consolidates fifth place on the A-League ladder, four points behind fourth-placed Sydney FC.

Burns' spot kick wrapped up his hat-trick and gave him seven goals from eight games this season, putting him two goals clear of Melbourne Victory's Berisha in second place on the golden boot rankings.