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Media Release

Sunday, 30 November, 2014

For immediate release

The Wellington Phoenix moved into fourth place in the ASB Premiership after a see-saw 4-3 victory over Southern United at Rugby Park in Invercargill on Sunday.

All Whites striker Joel Stevens was in the thick of the action, involved in all four goals and scoring three himself - Two of which came from the penalty spot.

The visitors opened the scoring in the ninth minute when Nathaniel Hailemariam headed home Stevens' cross but that lead lasted just 10 minutes as Southern's Tom Jackson pounced on a scramble after a corner to fire home.

The home side then took a 35th minute lead when Nicholas Hindson struck after good lead up work from Jackson but Mike Fridge's side only enjoyed the lead briefly before halftime before Stevens struck the first of two penalties after a Southern handball.

After the break, Stevens put the visitors back in front with a 59th minute effort and the U-20 international completed his hat-trick from the spot with 10 minutes to go to make it 4-2.

Jackson was able to pull a goal back with an 88th minute header but the home side couldn't find a leveller in stoppage time.

Wellington Phoenix coach Andy Hedge was pleased his side earned the three points from what was a challenging trip south.

"It was an interesting game", Hedge said, "we were much better when we moved the ball. Every time our players dwelled on it and dribbled with it we got caught out and Southern counter attacked really quickly and really well.   Overall it was a great game for the spectators. It was end to end with lots of chances so we're happy with the three points".

Hedge said his side were able to deliver largely on their plans which had the team prepared to face Southern's style of play.

"We knew Southern would hit us with counter attacks so we were conscious of over-committing players forward. It's good for these guys to play against that style of football".

Fridge was left frustrated by missed opportunities and defensive lapses.

"We're very disappointed", Fridge said, "if you score three goals at home you'd like to think you'd win the game. But to concede four was very disappointing".

"We had two or three great chances in the first 15 minutes and we've been punished for not taking chances".

Fridge said that while the work rate of his team remained high, there was room for improvement in applying pressure quicker to their opponents.

"These guys are a tremendous bunch and they'll give 100 percent but there were patches where I don't think we were closing down and pressing as well as we can do. If you give teams too much time on the ball, they can hurt you".

ASB Premiership 2014-15 - Round 5
Sunday 30 November

Southern United 3-4 Wellington Phoenix (Half: 2-2)
SU: Tom Jackson 19', 90', Nicholas Hindson 35'
WP: Nathaniel Hailemariam 9', Joel Stevens 42' (Pen), 59', 80' (Pen)

Southern United:
1. Tom Batty (GK), 2. Ross Howard, 3. Craig Ferguson, 4. Campbell Attwood, 6. George Milne, 7. Eder Franchini (17. Joshua Stewart 77'), 8. Andrew Ridden (16. David Hayman 66'), 9. Tom Jackson, 10. Victor Da Costa, 11. Tim McLennan, 21. Nicholas Hindson (15. Thomas Connor 60')

Substitutes not used:
14. Taylor McCormack, 19. Alistair Rickerby

Coach:
Mike Fridge

Wellington Phoenix:  
30. Oliver Sail (GK), 14. Alex Rufer, 28. Xavier Pratt (39. Joe Bell 85'), 29. Joel Stevens, 31. Andrew Blake, 32. Tamupiwa Dimario, 33. James McGarry (6. Merlin Luke-Miny 90'), 35. Sam Wilson, 36. Cherbel Khouchaba, (23. Gianni Bouzoukis 88'), 37. Nathaniel Hailemariam 38. Justin Gulley

Substitute not used: 
40. Marcel Kampman

Coach:
Andy Hedge

ENDS

For further information contact New Zealand Football Communications Manager Steven Upfold on the details below.

STEVEN UPFOLD | COMMUNICATIONS & MEDIA MANAGER | NEW ZEALAND FOOTBALL

+64 9 414 0184 | M +64 21 918 149
www.nzfootball.co.nz