Football: Classy Wellington Phoenix demolish A-League strugglers Melbourne Victory

The Wellington Phoenix have heaped more misery on the A-League's bottom placed side, Melbourne Victory, with a crushing 4-1 victory in Wollongong on Wednesday.

Three days after a Video Assistant Referee (VAR) decision denied the Phoenix a clear penalty against Brisbane Roar, the Kiwis this time appeared to benefit from a contentious call.

After Israeli striker Tomer Hemed fired the Phoenix into the lead in the 11th minute, David Ball was on hand to lash the ball into the back of the net in the 36th minute to double the lead before halftime. 

But replays showed the ball had in fact come off the arm of Alex Rufer, before a goalmouth scramble resulted in Ball firing home for a 2-0 lead. Despite protests from the Victory players though, the goal stood.

Second half strikes to Ulises Davila in the 62nd minute, and a final effort from Clayton Lewis - his first A-League goal -  in the 68th minute put the Phoenix 4-0 up, before Elvis Kamsoba scored a consolation effort for the Victory.

The 4-1 victory is the biggest victory of coach Ufuk Talay's managerial tenure with the Phoenix, with the only negative of the evening coming when Reno Piscopo was forced to limp from the field with what appeared to be a calf injury.

The win also marked the return of defender and former captain Steven Taylor, who earlier this month re-signed with the club after a stint in the Indian Super League with Odisha.

"Taylor is a very experienced player for us," Talay say of the veteran centre back. 

"He gives us that boost in the backline. He's come out of quarantine and had four sessions before the game so for me he's done a fantastic job in his first game playing 90 minutes."

The win moved the Phoenix into eighth place on the A-League ladder, one point ahead of ninth placed Western United, albeit having played two games more. 

The Victory meanwhile remain rooted to the bottom of the table, sitting with just one win from their first 12 matches.

The Phoenix are next in action against fifth placed Macarthur FC on Sunday NZT.