Mata header secures Phoenix U-20 a point against Tasman


A second-half header from Max Mata sealed a 1-1 draw for Wellington Phoenix U-20 against Tasman United at Westpac Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

While Phoenox dominated the early stages, it was Tasman that went in front through Alex Ridsdale just after the half hour.

The home side continued to push for an equaliser and finally got the goal their play deserved when Mata headed in a Joe Bell free kick to secure the 1-1 draw.

Phoenix began the game brightly and Logan Rogerson had a good chance in the first minute when he was played through on goal, but pulled his effort wide.

The home side was well in control of the contest and should have taken the lead on the quarter hour when a good move down the right led to Rogerson squaring the ball for Mata, who skewed his effort wide of the post from close range.

Rogerson had another good chance on 20 minutes, but this time he was thwarted by Tasman goalkeeper Coey Turipa.

It didn’t take long for the hosts to create another opportunity with Ben Liftin this time having his fierce shot saved by Turipa.

Despite dominating the first half hour, Phoenix went behind on 32 minutes when a mixup in defence allowed Ridsdale to open the scoring for Tasman.

Wellington began the second half just as strongly as they started the first, with Mata having a good effort on goal in the 49th minute.

Tasman did look danerous on the counter attack however and it was only a brilliant save from Lewis Italiano and a diving header from Jack-Henry Sinclair that prevented the away side from going further ahead.

Phoenix pressure finally paid off in the 66th minute when a Bell free kick was headed in to the far top corner by Mata to make it 1-1.

There was a scare for the hosts at the other end when the wind caught Italiano out from a corner, but the defence managed to scramble the ball away.

In the latter stages there were chances for both teams, but neither side could find the winner.