Adelaide United extended its unbeaten run to four matches with a 3-0 win over Wellington Phoenix at Coopers Stadium on Saturday.
The Reds found the net courtesy of an own goal just before halftime and added two more in the final 20 minutes following the send-off of Wellington midfielder Albert Riera on 57 minutes.
11,655 rolled up to the Boxing Day clash with the Reds looking to continue its revival while Phoenix were without a victory in their last two starts.
The visitors were well set-up by Ernie Merrick and had United camped in their own half early in the opening 45 minutes.
Roli Bonevacia was busy early and tried his luck from long range but his effort flew just past the upright of Reds keeper Eugene Galekovic.
Wellington continued to attack and almost broke the deadlock on 20 minutes when Manny Muscat connected with a Roy Krishna corner, forcing Galekovic into a reflex save to tip the volley over the bar.
United carved out its first real chance two minutes later when Sergio Cirio’s cross was headed clear by Riera, right into the path of Jimmy Jeggo who blasted wide from the edge of the area.
Jeggo did better with his next effort just before the half hour, calling Phoenix keeper Glen Moss into action with a shot from similar distance after a neat one-two with Bruce Djite.
The Reds nearly took the lead from the resulting corner when Jordan Elsey turned Jeggo’s cross goal-bound but it was cleared on the line by Bonevacia.
United did eventually find the net in the 42nd minute after a well-worked short corner with Marcelo Carrusca releasing Craig Goodwin whose powerful low cross was put into the net by Phoenix defender Muscat.
Wellington attacked at the restart and had claims for a penalty in the 48th minute when Elsey appeared to impede Riera but referee Chris Beath waved play-on.
Only desperate defending denied the visitors an equaliser minutes later when Galekovic’s punched clearance fell perfectly for Krishna.
Krishna’s strike had Galekovic beaten but was cleared off the line by Dylan McGowan.
On 55 minutes Wellington’s chance of equalising was dealt a massive blow when Riera was shown a second yellow card for a sliding challenge on Jeggo.
Goodwin inflicted further pain on the visitors when he doubled United’s lead in the 74th minute with a hard drive from the edge of the area, which Moss remarkably misjudged and let fly past his hands.
Two minutes later and Michael Marrone made it 3-0 scoring his first A-League goal in game 131, tapping in from close range.
Goodwin was involved again, his shot rebounding back off the upright before substitute Pablo Sanchez hit the other post with the follow up leaving Marrone to knock the ball into the unguarded net.
Krishna came close late for Phoenix but his shot hit the base of the upright from an acute angle.