Sydney FC's winless start to the A-League Men season ended with a morale-boosting 2-1 victory over Wellington Phoenix at Kogarah Jubilee Stadium.
Off-season recruit Elvis Kamsoba netted midway through the first half, and Adam Le Fondre added a second goal after the break for a Sunday night win that was more comfortable than the scoreline indicated.
Sydney FC started with star playmaker Milos Ninkovic on the bench after his injury last weekend, while teenager Patrick Yazbek made his starting debut. Socceroos full-back Rhyan Grant was also left out of the starting side following his return this week from a COVID-19 infection.
The home side made the first breakthrough on 19 minutes with Kamsoba allowed far too much latitude to bury his shot from close-range after picking up Harry Van Der Saag's cross-goal header.
Phoenix soon suffered another blow with regular goalkeeper Oliver Sail withdrawn due to injury on the half-hour mark, allowing Alex Paulsen to make his A-League debut. The 19-year-old fumbled his first attempted save within moments of entering the fray but then showed composure to make strong saves from Kamsoba and Yazbek respectively.
The Phoenix rarely troubled their opponents in the first half but came out with renewed spirit after the interval, only to be undone by a lightning-quick counter-attack 12 minutes into the second half. Le Fondre converted with trademark coolness after profiting from Anthony Caceres' driving run and pass.
Caceres could have then scored a goal of his own, firing over the crossbar after creating space with a sublime piece of skill.
The Phoenix troubles were far from over as Sydney FC brought on an all-star trio in the form of Ninkovic, Grant and prolific goalscorer Bobo for the final half-hour.
Ben Waine was unlucky not to pull a goal back for the Phoenix but his glancing header was athletically pawed away by goalkeeper Andrew Redmayne. Waine, however, got his reward with five minutes remaining with his goal awarded by VAR after initially being ruled offside.
The result lifts Sydney FC into a congested mid-table, eight points shy of leaders Macarthur.