A-League: Wellington Phoenix claim third straight win after Alex Rufer's milestone goal against Central Coast Mariners

The Wellington Phoenix have climbed to third on the A-League ladder after toppling the Central Coast Mariners 2-1 to claim their third straight victory.

First-half strikes from captain Alex Rufer and Oskar Zawada proved the difference, as the visitors struggled to turn their possession and shots into goals.

Rufer and teammates celebrate his goal.
Rufer and teammates celebrate his goal. Photo credit: Getty Images

Despite only having 44 percent of the possession, and eight shots at goal to Central Coast's 18, Wellington took their opportunities when they were on offer.

The Phoenix took the lead through midfielder Rufer's first-ever A-League goal after a short corner caught the Mariners' defence unaware.

Clayton Lewis received the ball back from the corner, before whipping a delivery to the far post, with Joshua Laws heading the ball across the goal for Rufer to slot it past the keeper.

Polish striker Zawada doubled Wellington's lead shortly before halftime after a beautiful link-up play between Callan Elliot and Kosta Barbarouses.

Barbarouses found Elliot down the right wing before he delivered an inch-perfect cross to Zawada to volley it first time to give the Phoenix a 2-0 lead at the break.

Central Coast would score a consolation goal through French winger Béni Nkololo in the 92nd minute, but it was too little, too late for the visitors.

The Phoenix will next play the seventh-placed Perth Glory on Saturday.