Football: Ben Old fires Wellington Phoenix past Adelaide United, clear at top of men's A-League

Wellington Phoenix have asserted their lead at the top of the men's A-League, as a Ben Old double paved the way for a 3-2 victory over Adelaide United at Sky Stadium.  

The 21-year-old scored in each half – including a cracking finish for his second – to give the Phoenix a 3-1 lead, even as Adelaide threatened to snatch a draw with a late strike of their own.  

And to cap off Old's efforts, the Phoenix's second goal was also his making, after providing an assist for teammate Oskar van Hattum.   

Victory, their 11th of the season, takes the Phoenix to the top of the league, courtesy of a three-point gap over second-place Central Coast Mariners.  

After a scoreless opening 30 minutes, a ball from Tim Payne saw Old beat the offside trap, and gave the Phoenix midfielder a one-on-one opportunity with goalkeeper James Delianov.  

And despite Delianov getting a hand to the ball, and a video assistant referee check, the goal was confirmed, and Old's strike meant a 1-0 lead for the hosts at the break.  

But despite holding their lead until the hour, a clumsy challenge inside the penalty area from captain Alex Rufer on Harry van der Saag gave teen sensation Luka Jovanovic the chance to equalise from the penalty spot.

Despite Phoenix goalkeeper Alex Paulsen's incredible record saving penalties this season, even a hand on the ball couldn't deny Jovanovic.  

However, another surging run from Kosta Barbarouses saw a cross fired to the back post, where Old was waiting.  

And even as his shot was parried, unlikely hero Oskar van Hattum was on hand to stab the ball home for his first goal for the Phoenix.

In the 78th minute, and with time ticking away, Old sealed the three points, as a driven left-footed shot left Delianov clutching at thin air, finding the back of the net to put the home side 3-1 up.  

In an extended period of injury time, Adelaide pulled a goal back, as striker Hiroshi Ibusuki fired home following a scramble inside the area, and threatened the Phoenix's lead.  

But it was little more than a consolation for Adelaide, as the Phoenix took another step towards securing the minor premiership. 

Wellington Phoenix 3 (Old 2, van Hattum)  

Adelaide United 2 (Jovanovic [pen], Ibusuki)