26 Apr 2021

Phoenix rise into playoff contention

7:21 am on 26 April 2021

The Wellington Phoenix are in the A-League's top six courtesy of a stoppage time penalty from striker Tomer Hemed.

Tomer Hemed of the Phoenix celebrates after scoring the winning goal during the A-League match against Adelaide United at WIN Stadium, Sunday 25th April 2021.

Tomer Hemed celebrates scoring the game-winning penalty against Adelaide United. Photo: Photosport Ltd 2021

Hemed has converted from the spot with almost the final kick of the game to secure the Phoenix a 2-1 win over high-flying Adelaide United in Wollongong.

Wellington have risen three places to sixth on the ladder, ahead of the Western Sydney Wanderers on goal difference, while Adelaide remain third, having missed a chance to go to the top of the table.

"Hemed stepped up tonight and was very composed to put it into the back of the net and win us the game - so I am very pleased for Tomer and hopefully he can build on that as well," Phoenix coach Ufuk Talay said.

"For us this is a very valuable three points tonight [against] very good opposition.

"That's four games with three we've won and one we've drawn - so it's very important for us at this back end of the season to pick up these points."

Adelaide United opened the scoring, with their captain Stefan Mauk finding the back of the net in the 51st minute after a scoreless first half.

Ben Waine of the Phoenix celebrates after scoring during the A-League match against Adelaide United at WIN Stadium, Sunday 25th April 2021.

Ben Waine celebrates scoring in his fourth straight game for the Wellington Phoenix. Photo: Photosport Ltd 2021

Wellington levelled seven minutes later with 19-year-old Ben Waine scoring for the fourth straight game.

Waine joins captain Ulises Davila, former All White Jeremy Brockie and the club's record goalscorer Roy Krishna as the only four Phoenix players to achieve that feat.

"And that's why he [Waine] is out there and that's what his job is - to score goals - so it's pleasing for us, it's pleasing for Waino," Talay said.

"And it's not just the goals that he scores; it's the work that he does off-ball for the team and when we're pressing and covering spaces, holding up the ball - I think he's growing in stature."

The Phoenix will next travel to Brisbane to face the Roar on Saturday.

The Roar are ninth on the ladder with two fewer points than the Phoenix, but have four games in hand.