Phoenix stun Reds to rise off AL floor

Lee Gagliardi
Englishman David Ball scored his first A-League goal with the opener against Adelaide United

Wellington Phoenix have stunned Adelaide United at Coopers Stadium, coming from a goal down to record a well-deserved 2-1 win.

The Reds took the lead just before the hour courtesy of a sublime volley from Nikola Mileusnic, before two goals in four minutes from the visitors helped them to a first win in Adelaide since 2014.

Gertjan Verbeek said the visitors were worthy winners, slamming his side's poor performance and blaming their mindset for the loss.

"If I have to give them a number, last week it was a nine and today it was a three or a four," he said.

"It's a big difference and it's too big and that's why you can't win this game - it's impossible.

"It had to do with the mindset. I warned them already on Friday because we were very disappointed about the Friday training.

"Wellington (was) too good an opponent and they deserved to win."

Conversely, Verbeek's opposite number, Ufuk Talay gave his troops a perfect mark.

"I give them 10 out of 10," he said.

"I'm very proud of the boys, the performance they put out tonight was exceptional.

"They stuck to the game plan, they nullified Adelaide from hurting us, because they're a very good team in transition as well.

Wellington put Adelaide on notice as early as the first minute when Reno Piscopo's header was palmed clear by Paul Izzo.

Adelaide's first chance came in the 13th minute when a Michael Maria header from a corner was scrambled clear.

The Phoenix were awarded a penalty by referee Adam Fielding on the half hour when Michael Jackobsen fouled Jaushua Sotirio, but it was correctly overruled and a free kick given on the edge of the area.

The visitors should have broken the deadlock on 38 minutes when Ulises Davila released Sotirio but with just Izzo to beat, the Reds keeper triumphed.

Wellington continued their dominance after the break but it was the hosts who opened the scoring against the run of play with a contender for goal of the season.

Mileusnic received a ball on the edge of the 18 yard box, controlled it with his chest before slicing a volley with his non-preferred foot into the top corner.

The Phoenix drew level 10 minute slater after David Ball turned in a Sotirio cross under the body of Izzo who got a hand to the shot but couldn't keep it out.

Wellington were awarded a second penalty three minutes later but this time, the VAR upheld the decision after George Blackwood was judged to have pulled back Liberato Caceace.

Davila stepped up and coolly converted the spot kick to put the visitors in front.

The result moves Wellington up to ninth with seven points while Adelaide remain in third on 12.

Last season's grand finalists Perth Glory drop to the bottom of the ladder with just one win and six points under their belt.