Soccer: Boyd buoyed by first goal

By Daniel Richardson

Teenage striker finally gets on score sheet after playing 30 games in Phoenix colours

Tyler Boyd finally broke his drought as the Phoenix celebrated their win at Parramatta. Photo / Getty Images
Tyler Boyd finally broke his drought as the Phoenix celebrated their win at Parramatta. Photo / Getty Images

While plenty of the chatter around the Wellington Phoenix has been about Jeremy Brockie's lack of goals lately, another striker broke a pretty lengthy drought on Wednesday night.

When Tyler Boyd found the back of the net in the 68th minute against the Western Sydney Wanderers at Pirtek Stadium in Parramatta during their A-League soccer clash, it marked the first time the 19-year-old had scored for the Phoenix - it just took him 30 games.

Granted, 23 of those appearances were as a substitute.

The goal won't be featured on any highlight reels but his tap-in from a Stein Huysegems pass set up the Phoenix to come from behind and register an unlikely 3-1 win over the second-placed Wanderers.

Wellington's victory was their third in a row and provided concrete evidence this side has turned a corner under the guidance of new coach Ernie Merrick.

After making 24 appearances for the Phoenix last summer - his maiden season with the club - Boyd has fallen in and out of favour under Merrick.

"I haven't been in the squad as much as I wanted to this year but I guess I just have to take my opportunity when I get one and it feels good to contribute to the team," Boyd said on arrival back in Wellington yesterday.

The season-ending injury to Paul Ifill has given Boyd a chance in the past two games and he has looked lively coming off the bench and also provided the assist for Huysegems' winning goal against the Melbourne Heart last Friday. That combination proved crucial again on Wednesday as Boyd later turned provider for Huysegems in the 78th minute before the former Belgian international iced the result with a neat solo effort.

"Me and Stein room together so we've got a good connection and it might show out on the field," Boyd said.

Playing as a super-sub may be Boyd's niche in the coming rounds as he continues to find his feet as a full-time professional.

"I do love running at players and using my pace so if they're a bit tired and I'm fresh, that's just a bonus."

After playing four games in 14 days during the Christmas and New Year period, Wellington don't return to action until January 12 when they host the Central Coast Mariners in Wellington.

After meeting the Mariners, the Phoenix play Melbourne Victory at the Cake Tin on January 18 and the comforts of home will be appealing after playing three of their past four games on the road.

"We are on our way now," Huysegems said. "We had a difficult start to the season but I think we are doing good now and hopefully we can do the same in the next two home games."

Merrick has an injury concern around right back Louis Fenton, who took another knock to his troublesome right shoulder during the win over the Wanderers, but more will be known once he has visited a specialist in the coming days.

Michael Boxall played at right back when Fenton left the field in Parramatta and didn't look out of place.

- APNZ

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on red akl_n4 at 23 Aug 2014 01:09:54 Processing Time: 702ms