Phoenix sink Mariners in ALM in Wellington

The least probable and the most likely goalscorer both found the net for Wellington Phoenix as they claimed a 2-1 A League Mens' home win over Central Coast Mariners.

Captain Alex Rufer notched his first ALM goal in his 107th appearance in opening the scoring after 32 minutes.

Oskar Zawada netted his club-leading sixth goal of the campaign - and fifth In his last six games - eight minutes later.

It was Phoenix's third straight win but the Mariners fought hard in the second half.

A stoppage time goal from Beni Nkololo, a subsequent header onto the roof of the net from Nectarios Triantis and a shot on target from Brain Kaltack made for some worrying late moments for the home supporters.

"I thought the boys, especially in the first half, played some really good football and broke Central Coast down," Phoenix coach Ufuk Talay said.

"The second half we probably didn't create as much opportunities as we would have liked, they started to come."

The win ensured Phoenix finished the round in the top four.

Several players were involved in a large post-match scuffle, with Wellington goalkeeper Oliver Sail emerging with a torn shirt, reportedly after an altercation with Triantis.

The second-placed Mariners had won their last three matches and six of their last seven, but created little in the first half and were without leading scorer Jason Cummings, who didn't travel because of illness.

"He wasn't well and I spoke to him this morning and he's still not well, so we made the right decision," Mariners coach Nick Montgomery said.

Central Coast showed more urgency in the second half, firing in a number of shots.

Debutant Christian Theoharous had one attempt hit the bar and another one blocked on the line before Nkololo struck.

Phoenix was the more consistently dangerous side in the first half and Kosta Barbarouses rattled the crossbar with a second minute shot.

Rufer tapped in from close range after Josh Laws headed a Clayton Lewis cross into his path.

"The result is always the most important but really happy to come back from injury and now playing again and to get off the mark I'm really happy," Rufer said.

Zawada doubled their advantage when he steered in a cross from Callan Elliot.

Referee Casey Reibelt awarded Wellington a 13th minute penalty after Lucas Mauragis was tripped by Storm Roux.

However, Reibelt overturned her decision after viewing replays off the incident, which showed initial contact was outside the area.

Talay was waiting for an update on the condition of Lewis, who struggled on till the 50th minute after what initially looked like a knee injury midway through the first half.

The Mariners didn't seriously threaten until Michael Ruhs had a shot pushed away by Sail In first-half added time.

Montgomery felt a Mariner had been fouled in the lead-up to each of Wellington's goals but said his players showed great character in the second half and felt a draw would have been a fair result.

"We found ourselves where we deserved to be at halftime and that was 2-0 down, but I thought the second half we were far superior," Montgomery said.