Wellington Phoenix dropped out of the A-League play-off spots after being annihilated 5-0 by Melbourne Heart at home on Sunday.
Needing a win to leapfrog sixth-placed Sydney following the Sky Blues’ victory over Perth on Saturday, the Phoenix turned in one of their worst performances of the season to fall out of the top six.
Heart striker David Williams bagged a hat-trick – the first ever by a Heart player – as the Melbourne side notched their first victory on New Zealand soil and broke a 22-away game winless streak.
Orlando Engelaar also scored for the visitors in the first half, while Phoenix keeper Glen Moss capped off a disappointing day when Robbie Wielaert’s 54th minute strike came off the bar and rebounded off his back into the goal.
The Phoenix, wearing special charity strips, looked flat from the start and were two goals down inside 19 minutes.
Engelaar’s fiercely struck opener on nine minutes was his first goal for the Heart and came after Mate Dugandzic’s initial strike came back off Phoenix skipper Andrew Durante.
Engelaar, back in the side after suspension, then turned provider 10 minutes later when his quickly taken free-kick found Williams who chipped Moss who for some reason had rushed right to the edge of his area.
The Phoenix battled hard for the remainder of the half looking for a breakthrough but all too-often the final pass was lacking under the constant pressure from the Heart defence.
Phoenix playmaker Carlos Hernandez was industrious throughout but couldn’t shake the attention of Patrick Gerhardt to really create anything.
Leading goal-scorer Stein Huysegems was also well-marshalled by Jason Hoffman, while Melbourne keeper Andrew Redmayne was equal to everything sent his way.
Phoenix coach Ernie Merrick brought on Matt Ridenton for Jason Hicks at the start of the second half but it didn’t stop the flow of goals.
The Heart doubled their 2-0 halftime lead when Williams slotted home his second six minutes into the second spell.
Wielaert made it four with some help from Moss three minutes later. Williams completed his hat-trick in the 63rd minute when he curled his long range shot past Moss and in off the post.
It was Williams’ fifth goal in three games. Heart substitute Stefan Mauk had a chance to make it six goals for the visitors in the dying minutes but Moss tipped his effort over the bar.