The Wellington Phoenix reserves have picked up their first point of the inaugural National League Championship.
The Phoenix reserves have drawn 2-2 with Auckland United in their second round match at Sky Stadium in Wellington.
Auckland United came back from 2-0 down to earn a share of the spoils, after Charlie Beale and Riley Bidois scored inside the opening half an hour to put the reserves up by two goals.
After a relatively uneventful opening quarter of an hour, Beale brought the game to life in the 20th minute.
He broke free from midfield and unleashed a strong right-footed shot from the edge of the area that bulged the back of the Auckland United net.
Bidois doubled the reserves’ lead 10 minutes later when he calmly slotted a shot past Mack Waite in United’s goal.
Reserves ‘keeper Alby Kelly-Heald was called into action moments after their second goal, producing a sharp save to deny the visitors their first.
But there was nothing Kelly-Heald could do to prevent Regont Murati pulling a goal back for Auckland United in the 34th minute, when he blasted a shot in from a narrow angle.
The visitors started the second-half the better of the two sides and were rewarded for their endeavour in the 67th minute when substitute Hiroshi Kamata equalised for Auckland United shortly after he came off the bench.
The Northern League side were reduced to 10 men shortly after, with captain Ross Haviland sent off after receiving a second yellow card.
Auckland United held on to claim a well-earned point and remain unbeaten two rounds into the season.
The Wellington Phoenix reserves are back at Sky Stadium next Sunday to host another Northern League club, Melville United.
Wellington Phoenix reserves: 1. Alby KELLY-HEALD (gk), 3. Adam SUPYK, 4. Lukas KELLY-HEALD, 5. Isaac HUGHES (c), 6. Dan MCKAY, 7. Noah KARUNARATNE (18. Ben WALLACE 90th), 9. Riley BIDOIS, 10. Charlie BEALE (17. Sebastian BARTON-GINGER 87th), 13. Matthew SHERIDAN (2. Joseph CHIARI 71st), 14. Joshua TOLLERVEY (11. Kaelin NGUYEN 71st), 16. Fin CONCHIE
Unused substitutes: 20. Callum KENNETT (gk)
Auckland United: 1. Mack WAITE (gk), 4. Ross HAVILAND (c), 6. William STEPHEN (19. Hiroyoshi KAMATA , 9. Joshua REDFEARN (18. Nicolas ZAMBRANO 61st), 10. Oliver FAY (7. Andrew BLAKE 74th), 14. Regont MURATI, 15. Harshae RANIGA, 20. Kurtis MOGG, 22. Ignacio MACHUCA (5. Billy JONES 74th), 24. Will MENDOZA, 25. Michael DEN HEIJER
Unused substitutes: 17. Guy-Frank ESSOME PENDA
10. Charlie BEALE (Wellington Phoenix) – 20th
9. Riley BIDOIS (Wellington Phoenix) – 30th
14. Regont MURATI (Auckland United) – 35th
19. Hiroyoshi KAMATA (Auckland United) – 67th
3. Adam SUPYK (Wellington Phoenix) – yellow – 17th
22. Ignacio MACHUCA (Auckland United) – yellow – 23rd
4. Ross HAVILAND (Auckland United) – yellow – 29th & yellow/red – 72nd
5. Isaac HUGHES (Wellington Phoenix) – yellow – 51st
25. Michael DEN HEIJER (Auckland United) – yellow – 76th