2020-21 Australian A League, Regular Season
  • Ulises Dávila (45'+1' PEN)
  • Jaushua Sotirio (53')
  • Ben Waine (90')
  • Besart Berisha (32' PEN)
  • Iker Guarrotxena (56')

Wellington Phoenix win five-goal thriller against Western United with late winner

Ben Waine's last-gasp winner has ignited Wellington Phoenix's finals hopes, helping the Kiwi A-League outfit to a 3-2 defeat of Western United.

A pair of first-half penalties had the sides 1-1 at the break, and quick thinking in both boxes made it 2-2 by the hour mark.

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The teams then looked destined to share the points after the Phoenix missed a spree of late chances.

As the clock ticked into injury time, two Wellington academy products combined for the winner, with Sam Sutton crossing for Waine to head past United 'keeper Ryan Scott.

The points lift Wellington, who may yet get to play games in New Zealand thanks to the trans-Tasman bubble, to ninth.

Western United, suffering their third straight loss to the Kiwi outfit, stay eighth.

Questions will be asked about their opener and Lachie Wales' involvement.

The talented forward suffered a heavy head knock 10 minutes into the game when Joshua Laws headed him and not the ball.

Wales took a heavy fall, but after assessment was allowed to play on, winning a penalty on the half-hour mark when he wedged himself between Tim Payne and the ball.

Complaining of concussion, he was taken off five minutes after Besart Berisha's centimetre-perfect penalty.

Andrew Durante, the A-League's all-time games record holder, handed his old employers a route into the game as half-time loomed by handling a clearance in the box under minimal pressure.

Ulises Davila dispatched the penalty just as expertly as Berisha, restoring parity at half-time.

Wellington resumed with purpose and had the lead on 53 minutes.

David Ball's run allowed their Mexican magician to strike on goal, with Jaushua Sotirio staying onside to deflect past a stranded Scott.

Western needed just three minutes to reply.

From a corner, Durante lashed a volley onto the crossbar, agonisingly close to just his sixth goal in 348 A-League matches.

Reacting quickest was Iker Guarrotxena, jumping between three defenders and gloveman Oliver Sail to head over the line despite an acrobatic clearance effort from Ball.

With Wellington's season on the line, their teenage striker leapt highest to win it at the death, beating a VAR check to celebrate with glee.