United fall to wellington Phoenix

Wellington Phoenix kept their slim finals hopes alive with a comprehensive 4-0 win over Adelaide United at Porirua Park on Wednesday afternoon.

The ‘Nix wasted no time getting on top in the Round 16 catchup game, as Mariana Speckmaier opened the scoring with her seventh goal in seven games.

Alyssa Whinham hit the post after half-time before two goals in quick succession to Kate Taylor and Michaela Robertson put the ‘Nix out of sight.

The hosts were cruising to full-time before matchday captain Michaela Foster put the icing on the cake, thumping home her first goal of the season to extend Wellington’s lead to four goals and seal an emphatic win.

Wellington jumped from 10th to eighth after Wednesday’s triumph; Paul Temple’s side are now five points behind sixth-placed Western Sydney Wanderers with two games still to play for both teams.

Speckmaier put the hosts on the board after just 13 minutes with her seventh goal in as many league games; Macey Fraser stole the ball off Nanako Sasaki high up the pitch and Speckmaier made the Adelaide midfielder pay with a routine finish.

Rylee Foster produced a fingertip save to deny Isabel Hodgson from range just before the half-hour mark.

Isabel Cox threatened to make it 2-0 to the ‘Nix soon after but Maruschka Waldus made a block for the away side – but Speckmaier went even closer from the resulting corner, heading Michaela Foster’s delivery just wide of the post.

The Phoenix continued on the attack after half-time and the in-form Alyssa Whinham came closest to doubling the advantage.

Speckmaier turned creator on the right wing, cutting a cross back to find Whinham on the edge of the area who controlled and fired against the post.

Whinham’s strike off the woodwork was a warning to the Reds for what was to come, as the ‘Nix quickly stormed into a three-goal lead.

Taylor made it two from close range after repeat attempts on goal from the home side.

Robertson then put the ‘Nix out of sight, swooping in to tap Emma Main’s perfectly-weighted cross into the back of the net from inside the six-yard box.

Foster iced the result in the first minute of extra time, with her first goal of the campaign.

Robertson provided the assist for Wellington’s fourth at Porirua Park, sliding her cross past a number of bodies in the box to find Foster arriving all alone at the back post to drive home the home side’s fourth.