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Wellington Phoenix dismantle Gold Coast United

Wellington Phoenix have produced the performance of the A-League season, demolishing Gold Coast United 6-0 at Westpac Stadium. The Phoenix could not put a foot wrong against United who were on top of the table going into round 11 and were led by British import Paul Ifill was electric, creating goals at will and managing to get on the scoresheet himself.

Wellington Phoenix: 6 (Daniel '27, '53, Tim Brown '48, Chris Greenacre '54, Paul Ifill '59, Troy Hearfield '82) Gold Coast United: 0

Venue: Westpac Stadium Crowd: 6,571

The home side made their intentions clear in the opening minutes when striker Paul Ifill's shot whistled past the post after United's Jason Culina made an error that presented the former Millwall, Sheffield United and Crystal Palace man with a clear chance.

The opening 20 minutes was very scrappy with both sides giving away plenty of free-kicks and trying to close each other down.

Wellington found themselves in front against the league leaders when Ifill made a run into the box in the 27th minute before cutting it back for Daniel who hit it at full speed to finish coolly past United keeper Jess Vanstrattan.

The Phoenix almost made it two when defender Ben Sigmund flew in for a header but the ball smashed against the crossbar and away to safety for Gold Coast who were under siege.

Wellington did get a second goal straight after the break when the vision and creativity of Ifill gave Tim Brown plenty of space and he was able to round advancing keeper Scott Higgins who had replaced the injured Vanstrattan for an easy tap-in.

Minutes later, Ifill was at it again when he made easy work of getting past United defender Michael Thwaite before taking the ball into the area and used his class to square it up with the outside of his left boot for Daniel who was on hand to knock it in to an open goal.

And then it was four to the Phoenix when Chris Greenacre pushed aside Thwaite on the edge of the area and found himself with space to get around Higgins who was enduring a horror ten minutes.

It got worse for United and better for the Phoenix on the hour-mark when Ifill finally got the reward for his blistering performance when he turned in the area and put his left-foot shot past Higgins.

The Phoenix were after a sixth and got it with eight minutes to spare when substitute Adrian Caceres sent a lofted ball into the path of Troy Hearfield who had enough time to set himself up and pick his spot to finish past a hapless Higgins who was probably ruing the injury to Vanstrattan.

It was the perfect end to a magnificent performance by the Phoenix who equalled the A-League record their six-goal winning margin.

Andrew Slevison
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Andrew Slevison

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