TAUPO is known for its fishing, and Wellington Phoenix striker Roy Krishna landed a big one as he netted a hat-trick to help his team beat a New Zealand Select XI 3-2 at Owen Delaney Park on Sunday.
In calm, sunny conditions the enthusiastic crowd were treated to an entertaining game that was anything but a friendly encounter. While there was nothing illegal, the tackles were flying in with players on both sides keen to impress coaches Ernie Merrick and Neil Emblem.
Merrick was delighted with the hit out his team got and also pleased that all five goals were scored by Phoenix players or, hopefully, soon to be a Phoenix player in the case of Michael McGlinchey.
Given the chance to play a lone strikers role, Krishna gave the Phoenix a perfect start in the fourth minute. Robbing Michael Boxall of the ball near the half way line, Krishna sped away and, seeing New Zealand goalkeeper Glen Moss off his line, found the back of the net from 25 metres.
Thirteen minutes later Krishna made it 2-0 with Hamish Watson and Alex Rufer combining to put him clear and he produced a superb finish with the outside of his right foot.
The New Zealand team got the chance to close the margin in the 28th minute when Josh Brindell-South was adjudged to have fouled Joel Stevens in the penalty area. Jeremy Brockie hit his penalty well but Lewis Italiano produced a stunning save to deny him.
Down 2-0 at halftime, the New Zealand side came out firing in the second spell and Brockie cut the deficit in the 57th minute by turning in a low cross from the left flank.
Thirteen minutes later McGlinchey, who is still waiting on a decision as to whether he can become a Phoenix player, scored from close in from a Louis Fenton cross.
Just when it looked as if McGlinchey had bit the hand he hoped would soon be feeding him, Krishna popped up with the winning goal from close range after good work by Nathan Burns and Tom Doyle two minutes into stoppage time.
“It was a really good outcome for us,” Merrick said.
“Most of our squad were involved on one side or the other and it was a competitive game.
“Roy (Krishna) showed what a good finisher he is.
“He hasn’t produced it just yet in the A-League but that will do his confidence a world of good.
“It was also satisfying that Phoenix players, if you include Mikey, scored all five goals.”