Football: Wellington Phoenix women celebrate rare victory over A-League tabletoppers Sydney FC

Wellington Phoenix women are determined to raise themselves off the bottom of the A-League ladder, as they celebrate a rare victory over competition leaders Sydney FC across the Tasman.

Centreback Kate Taylor provided the only goal in the 1-0 result over the three-time champions, pouncing on a loose ball from a corner-kick to volley home with the left foot in the 32nd minute.

The Phoenix held a statistical edge on their highly fancied opponents, who have reached the last five league finals, with just the one success in that period.

Emma Rolston challenges the Sydney FC goalkeeper
Emma Rolston challenges the Sydney FC goalkeeper. Photo credit: Getty Images

While Wellington have won before - twice in their maiden campaign and once before this season - this is a result that vindicates coach Natalie Lawrence's faith in the process and has her adjusting her sights for the rest of their schedule. 

"It's pretty amazing, to be honest," she said. "I feel so proud and happy for the girls, who have worked so hard and have kept the belief.

"We've had the message all season that this team would do good things. This result was coming, we knew we would win more games, and beating top of the league makes it that little bit more special and gives us even more belief.

"There's a brand of football we've been trying to play all season and we're starting to reap the rewards from it."

Defeat broke a five-game winning streak for Sydney, including a 1-0 victory over the Phoenix at North Harbour Stadium two weeks ago.

"The performances since the start of the season, but especially over the last 3-4 weeks, have shown we can compete," said Lawrence, who missed the team's build-up, as she works towards her pro license. 

"Coming away with a result today was a big, big thing for us."

Football Fern Taylor - Phoenix Player of the Year in their debut season - put aside a frustrating 2022/23 campaign to stamp her mark on the contest.

"We forget how young she is, with all the pressure put on her shoulders," said Lawrence. "Today was a proper Kate Taylor performance and she deserved her goal."

The Phoenix now line up Perth Glory next Saturday.

"We want to win, we want more points," said Lawrence. "We've got the feeling and the feeling's good.

"We want to continue that, but we have to keep to our process."

Wellington Phoenix 1 (Taylor) Sydney FC 0