Sport Wellington Phoenix closes in on second spot in the A-League after overcoming Perth

Wellington Phoenix closes in on second spot in the A-League after overcoming Perth

Wellington's Callum McCowatt is floored by the tackle of Perth's Osama Malik in Sydney on Wednesday. Photo: AAP
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Wellington Phoenix has moved closer to second spot in the A-League after withstanding a late surge to beat Perth Glory 2-1 at Sydney’s Bankwest Stadium on Wednesday night.

Goals to imports Gary Hooper and Ulises Davila moved the third-placed Nix to within one point of second-placed Melbourne City, which has played a game more.

The result also meant Wellington remained the only team with a mathematical chance of pipping leaders Sydney for the Premiers Plate, though the Sky Blues need just a point from its remaining four games.

Perth pulled back a goal through Dane Ingham just after the hour and laid siege to the Phoenix goal in the latter stages, but Wellington held on to secure the win.

Neither team produced a decent opportunity in a dull first half hour, but the game perked up after Phoenix hit the front.

Wellington looked dangerous on the counter-attack in the first half and executed one in perfect fashion to open the scoring in the 32nd minute.

Impressive youngster Callum McCowatt lofted a ball over the top and Englishman Hooper brushed off Alex Grant and slotted the ball past an onrushing Liam Reddy for his seventh goal of the campaign.

Perth had the majority of first-half possession but struggled to create chances apart from a fierce drive by Bruno Fornaroli, palmed away by Nix goalkeeper Stefan Marinovic.

Phoenix doubled its advantage in the 48th minute when Davila notched his 12th goal of the season after half-time substitute Jacob Tratt fouled David Ball in the penalty area.

Davila’s spot kick was too precise and powerful for Reddy, who went in the right direction but couldn’t prevent the Mexican from making it five from five this season.

Fornaroli, who had scored nine times in 10 previous games against Wellington, had two chances to equalise.

He curled one shot straight at Marinovic and had another attempt deflected over the bar.

Perth remains in fifth spot.

-AAP