Melbourne City have overcome an early scare from Wellington to snare a 3-2 victory at AAMI Park and catapult to the top of the A-League table.
Despite missing Jamie Maclaren through injury and the suspended Harrison Delbridge, City pushed through an early goal deficit and took all three points in front of 6440 fans, jumping ahead of Western Sydney only on 'goals for.'
"Today, I think it's an important win. Why? Because we had some players injured, we started this game with a lot of young players and they showed that they have also the quality to do this, to play well in our style," City coach Erick Mombaerts said.
"So, I want to congratulate my team and all the players because we scored three goals and also we created a lot of opportunities to score but also ... because we conceded the first goal on a corner kick and I liked the good reaction after this."
Wellington took the lead in the 24th minute when Gary Hooper capitalised on a City defensive lapse.
David Ball jumped above Scott Galloway at a corner to flick the ball to the back post, where an unmarked Hooper headed home his first A-League goal.
City equalised in the 30th minute through Connor Metcalfe and took the lead four minutes later via Galloway.
Denis Genreau released Craig Noone, who turned his defender inside out and whipped a curling ball towards the back post, which Metcalfe met with aplomb, sending a powerful header past Stefan Marinovic.
Galloway cut inside from full-back and delivered a scintillating strike, which powered in off the inside of the post to hand City the lead in the 34th minute.
City doubled their lead via a somewhat fortuitous second-half penalty.
Noone cut inside to beat Louis Fenton - who tracked back - and nudged the ball to Genreau, who powered down the left sideline and attempted to cross.
The ball hit Fenton on the chest and bounced up onto his arm, with referee Benjamin Abraham calling for a penalty in the 61st minute.
The penalty was upheld by the VAR and Noone buried his spot-kick in the top corner to make it 3-1 in the 63rd minute.
"I thought it came off his body first and, if it's hit his arm after that and in the new laws, they state that if it hits your body first then it hits your arm, it's accidental so it's play on," Wellington coach Ufuk Talay said.
"But the decision was made and that changed the game."
After full-time Fenton reacted furiously to the penalty decision – which cost Phoenix a share of the points – telling Archie Thompson on Fox Sports: "I thought 100 percent no pen. It didn't f*cking hit my hand. It's f*cked."
Wellington snared a consolation goal in the 93rd minute when Ball slid the ball through the City defensive ranks, with youngster Benjamin Waine tapping home.