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Wellington Phoenix clinch shock win over Melbourne Victory

If the FFA wants a measure of the "metrics" required for the Wellington Phoenix to remain in the A-League, it should have been in the stands to hear the roars at North Harbour Stadium in Auckland on Saturday night.

The "home side", whose future is up in the air after their appeal for a 10-year license was declined by the FFA, made a statement by beating defending champions Melbourne Victory 2-0 in front of their rowdy fans in their first-ever fixture in Albany.   

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Phoenix rise to stun Victory

Melbourne victory have blown a chance to move clear at the top of the A-League ladder after falling to a brilliant performance from Wellington that saw the Phoenix win 2-0 in Auckland.

A total of 10,852 fans attended the physical and scrappy contest that was entertaining from start to finish. 

The Phoenix owners were hoping for a crowd in excess of 13,000, as they strived to fulfil some of the off-field criteria required for an A-League licence extension.

Wellington Phoenix fans at Saturday's game against Melbourne Victory.
99 problems: Wellington Phoenix fans make their feelings known at Saturday's game against Melbourne Victory. Photo: Getty Images

The FFA is evaluating the role of the Wellington franchise in terms of game development, player pathway, commercial factors, broadcast rights and the long-term strategic outlook and at the moment they do not meet the fundamental requirements. 

Try telling that to the Yellow Army, who supported the Wellington-based side with fervour, chanting "10 more years, 10 more years" and the customary "shirts off" in the final 10 minutes. 

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The 'Nix, in their alternate grey strip, put on a special performance to make goalkeeper Glen Moss' 100th cap for the club a night to remember and earn only their fifth win over the Victory from 26 fixtures in the A-League.   

The Ernie Merrick-side got off to a dominant start and their perseverance was rewarded after 18 minutes when Roy Krishna – one of the dominant players in the game – netted his fourth goal of the season from the most acute of angles.

Wellington's Rolieny Bonevacia celebrates with his team after scoring.
Wellington's Rolieny Bonevacia celebrates with his team after scoring. Photo: Hannah Peters

The striker took a deflection on the second touch and looked to be running out of space before he delivered a shot that just crossed the goal line to beat Rashid Mahazi's attempt.  

The Victory came back hard at the 'Nix and the physical exchanges led to referee Alan Milliner presenting three yellow cards – Besart Berisha, Andrew Durante and Alex Rodriguez – within four minutes. 

Even if it was slightly over-zealous refereeing, order was restored and the Phoenix should have doubled their advantage in the 36th minute. 

Roly Bonevacia worked his way into the area and had a clear shot on goal, only to be blocked by keeper Daniel Vukovic, who produced a quality save. 

Bonevacia made amends shortly after. Krishna ran from deep in the midfield to the edge of the box, connected with Michael McGlinchey and Bonevacia was on hand for a tap-in finish. 

After the break, the Victory fired back into the game and Berisha found the back of the net in the 65th minute, but he was ruled to be offside and the goal did not stand. 

Berisha, who had scored five times in his past three A-League games and has netted six times in the past eight meetings with the Phoenix, was not given the freedom he enjoys and was frustrated by the constant attention.

Berisha and All White Kosta Barbarouses, who terrorised the Phoenix in the recent 3-0 drubbing at the Etihad, were kept quiet all night as the 'Nix scrapped for every loose ball.  

Meanwhile Moss, the the 10th player to register 100 games for the Phoenix, had a sound night in goal. The All Whites keeper was under the pump for a 15-minute period during the middle of the second half and time and time again he came up with the goods.

In the 26 times the two sides have met, the Victory have been kept scoreless on just four occasions, which was a fitting way to mark his milestone. 

Whether the FFA extend the Phoenix's licence is yet to be seen, but in the meantime the side is delivering on the pitch and needs to see its Yellow Army grow with each performance.