10 Mar 2019

Phoenix regain A-league momentum in record-breaking style

2:27 pm on 10 March 2019

The Wellington Phoenix coach Mark Rudan says he is proud of the ruthless effort shown by his side to beat the Central Coast Mariners 8-2 last night.

Wellington striker Roy Krishna scoring goal

Wellington striker Roy Krishna scoring goal Photo: © Copyright Andrew Cornaga / www.photosport.nz Photosport Ltd 2019

The win was the highest scoring game for the Phoenix as well as equalling the highest scoring A-League football game of all time and has led to the sacking of Central Coast Mariners coach Mike Mulvey.

The result left the rock-bottom Mariners with just seven points from 21 games. Mulvey joined the Mariners ahead of the 2018/19 season but with just one win, the club has decided to act.

The Phoenix went into the contest, having won just one of their last seven matches and in danger of ceding their spot in the top-six.

Goals were aplenty as Rudan's side knew that a certain scoreline would promote them to fourth spot and the potential of an A-league football home final, come the end of the season.

Rudan said a number of players had stepped up including the evergreen Roy Krishna.

"He was one of the first that I gave a big hug when I came to the club and I told him [Krishna] just how important he was going to be and we were going to work hard to really get the best out of him and the best he's ever had and right now that's where he's heading towards but there's more to come."

Rudan said he challenged Krishna and a few others during the past two weeks about what the remainder of the season meant for them.

Rudan believed they had gained a lot of neutral fans who enjoyed watching their dynamic brand of football.

"You only have to look to the 23,000 [strong crowd on the 15 February] in Auckland to talk about has the country got behind us and I think that told you that's the case."

He said they worked extremely hard, and they would love to see fans come out in big numbers for the remaining three home games in Wellington.

He said they spoke about creating history at the start of the season but it was down to the players.

"It doesn't matter what I want, it's what those boys want, and they're hungry, they're desperate, they don't want to just be playing finals football, they want more than that."

Match report

Missing players due to suspension and disciplinary reasons, a hugely inexperienced Mariners side were carved apart by the likes of two-goal Phoenix striker Roy Krishna and his attacking cohorts.

The Fijian flyer entered the box after a good pass from Sarpreet Singh. The former attempted a cross, only for his effort to deflect off of defender Samuel Graham to provide the away side with the opener.

Moments later and it was Krishna again making himself a nuisance to the Mariners backline. A searching ball in behind found the striker as he lobbed his audacious attempt over Ben Kennedy to double the advantage.

It wasn't long until another attacker was on the scoresheet as David Williams cut inside within the box and fired home to up the lead to three.

Despite Mariners threatening with attack down the wings, Phoenix scored again to make it 4-0, before the break.

Midfield starter Max Burgess delivered a special ball on a plate for Krishna. The Fijian made short work of it after evading several challenges, to then rifle home and provide a mouth-watering scoreline heading into half time.

Krishna's second of the night also put him equal top of the competition's goal-scoring list and 14th of the season.

It was more of the relentless attacking play from Rudan's men in the second half as they put the sword to the Mariners.

It was goals galore as the home side was 7-0 down by the 59th minute mark.

The Mariners found a bit of life within the game as they fought back with two goals through Jack Clisby and Stephen Mallon.

However, the scoreline proved too much of a climb for the home side. Moments before the final whistle, Singh bagged his second of the night and ensured Wellington Phoenix came away with all three points, complimented by the 8-2 scoreline.

Nathan Burns got injured in the warm-up.

Mark Rudan took the opportunity to provide youngsters Callan Elliot and Gianni Stensness their Hyundai A-League debut.