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Dominant Victory climb top of the pile

Defending champions Melbourne Victory regained their place at the top of the A-League following a dominant 4-0 win over Wellington Phoenix at Etihad Stadium on Tuesday.

An own goal from Tim Brown put the Victory ahead before strikes from Archie Thompson, Carlos Hernandez and Matthew Kemp completed the win which sends Ernie Merrick's side two points clear with three matches remaining.

The hosts had won their previous two home games and looked confident from the start and were only denied by the woodwork in the 11th minute when Roddy Vargas' effort rattled the crossbar.

But they took the lead just six minutes later when Hernandez curled a free-kick goalwards and Brown jumped to head away but succeeded only in guiding the ball into his own net.

That goal brought Phoenix to life and they almost levelled shortly before the break when Eugene Dadi fed a pass for Brown but the midfielder was denied by a fine reflex save from goalkeeper Mitch Langerak.

Wellington's hopes of battling back, however, were dealt a blow when Melbourne grabbed a second five minutes into the second half when Marvin Angulo played a delightful pass to Thompson, who side-footed a shot beyond Liam Reddy.

The game was over as a contest in the 66th minute when Kevin Muscat sent Robbie Kruse through and the striker then found Hernandez, who fired home for Melbourne's third.

Substitute Kemp then wrapped up the win three minutes from time when he latched onto a clever pass from Nick Ward before lifting a shot into the net.

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