Wellington Phoenix continued their promising pre-season form with a 4-1 win over fellow Hyundai A-League side Melbourne City in Townsville on Sunday.
The Phoenix played some fine attacking football and defended well, but Head Coach Ernie Merrick wasn’t getting carried away with the win or the margin.
“You can’t afford to get carried away with pre-season results,” Merrick said.
“Of course you want to win games but to me the performance is more important than the result.
“Yesterday we gave the boys a tough work out in the afternoon sun after a hard day’s travelling on Friday and they showed no ill effects today, so I was very pleased with the performance.
“It is a tough long pre-season and we have ramped it up this week.
“We came to Townsville to get some training in the heat for the season ahead.
“Last season, we didn’t cope too well with the heat in places like Cairns and Perth, so hopefully this will stand us in good stead.”
The media build up to the game was, not surprisingly, about the return of Socceroos star Tim Cahill and the crowd were delighted when he opened the scoring with a trademark header for Melbourne City in the 15th minute, after the Phoenix had wasted two golden chances to go ahead.
The lead didn’t last long however, with Roy Krishna netting the equaliser within three minutes with a clever finish as he was falling to the ground.
Free-kick specialist Gui Finkler put the Phoenix ahead five minutes from the break and Krishna scored his second goal with an assured finish right on half time.
Eleven minutes into the second period, Finkler made it 4-1, again from a free-kick, low to goalkeeper Thomas Sorenson’s left.
On the hour, Merrick rang the changes to give everyone in the squad some game time and that kept the intensity high though there was no more scoring.