Gold Coast v Phoenix

A-League report by Adrian Demack
Gold Coast United v Wellington Phoenix

A 'Djite Djouble' has given Gold Coast United a win against Wellington Phoenix, who were again dominated away from home.

The Gold Coast didn't have the game sealed until the 82nd minute, but always looked the team more likely to win, especially after the first of Bruce's brace came after just 6 minutes.

United made a great start to the game when in the 5th minute Tahj Minniecon, returning from international duty, nicked the loose ball from midfield, cut it inside his defender and played it to Bruce Djite in the middle. Djite, after getting his first for Gold Coast last week, stepped straight past Jade North and banged the ball past Pasfield into the net.

But the advantage was almost taken away instantly, with Paul Ifill putting in a great ball for his compatriot Greenacre to flick the ball with his heel into the back of the net – only to be adjudged offside. Replays showed the call was very close, but that the official was correct.

But the complaints won't be too fast from the Phoenix. Leo Bertos jostled with Kristian Rees in the box for a long ball. Despite the ball heading out, and the likelihood of Bertos turning it into a scoring opportunity slipping towards the sideline, Rees under pressure handled the bouncing ball and referee Matthew Gilette did not hesitate to point to the spot.

Phoenix hero Paul Ifill sent the keeper the wrong way and didn't skip a beat in putting away his fourth goal of the season.

The game then fizzled substantially after that, after such an electric opening anything less does seem a little slow, but neither team really formed any chances in the first half except a great chance for the home side to nab the lead.

In the 39th minute, after the usual midfield scuffle that the game had sunk into, Thwaite spotted the run of Culina from midfield and slid a brilliant ball through the back line for the captain to run onto. Culina was able to cross along the ground for Djite to bury it home, but Jade North, who had stuck to Djite like glue all game, slid in and forced enough pressure to put the shot over the bar.

The second half started much as the first finished, with both teams refusing to maintain possession and opting instead to scrappily fight for it in midfield. The immenent substitutions from both managers would prove to be the difference though, with the two young Gold Coast replacements making telling contributions in the winning goals.

In the 70th minute the quick Chris Harold, was being entertained by two defenders in the right hand corners. Managing to avoid their lunging challenges he slipped the ball between the two to trickle towards the box.

Pantelidis was the quickest to react from deeper and whipped a low ball into the centre. Djite lead to the near post and flicked the ball with a hell through Vukovic's legs to give United the advantage.

Bruce Djite had had a slow start to his United career, not scoring in his first three appearances for the side, but now having scored three times in two games, his stats of three in five make him look like a scoring machine.

From there you expected the Phoenix to try to chase for the point, but it didn't seem like they wanted it. United were in control from that point and the Nix couldn't help but concede another thanks to some more great play from Djite and the young subs.

In the 82nd Culina was brought down by a tough aerial challenge from Phoenix sub Pavlovic, who was booked for the challenge. Jason managed to dust himself off to take the free from the left wing 30 out. The cross came in, with Djite able to rise above the pack to nod it for an unmarked James Brown to head the ball into the back of the net.

This is the biggest win for the Gold Coast this season and sees them rise two second on the ladder, if not for tonight only. The result is right on form for the Phoenix, whose unfortunate woes away from home will prove very costly if not resolved. But tonight was Djite and Gold Coast's night, with their newest signing hoping this can go some way to moving out of the shadow of the man he was signed to replace Shane Smeltz.