A-League: Wellington Phoenix move up to third with win over Western United

David Ball.
David Ball. Photo credit: Image: Photosport

Western United's inaugural A-League campaign has descended to a new low following a 2-0 loss to Wellington that sends the Phoenix soaring to a share of second place.

Liberato Cacace and David Ball scored the goals on Friday in a contest spoiled by wet, blustery conditions, with the outcome keeping the two teams heading in opposite directions.

A fifth straight home win for Wellington lifts them level on points with second- placed Melbourne City while the visitors are still beached in seventh place and in danger of losing touch with the top six.

Mark Rudan's team have won once in their past eight games and they never looked like emerging from that slump against a Phoenix team who completely dominated the first half and did enough in a more even second spell.

Wellington rattled off 14 shots to two before halftime, setting the scene inside the first minute when Ulises Davila struck the inside of the upright with a curling shot.

Former Phoenix goalkeeper Filip Kurto was excellent for the visitors until the 29th minute when he should have done better to stop an angled volley from teenage fullback Cacace, who met Davila's cross first time to record his second goal of the season.

The visitors looked sharper when Max Burgess replaced Panagiotis Kone after the Greek forward suffered what looked to be a serious arm injury.

They couldn't convert a handful of half chances in the second spell, meaning they haven't registered a goal in their last three games.

Their pain intensified in the 90th minute when striker Ball pounced on a defensive blunder, lobbing Kurto when through one-on-one.

Eyebrows were raised before kickoff when midfielder Steven Lustica was named to start for Western United, just minutes after his signing was announced by the club.

The 28-year-old, a four-club A-League veteran, has plied his trade in Uzbekistan and Croatia in the two years since representing Western Sydney Wanderers.

He has signed an 18-month contract.