Match Review: Reserves snatch a draw against table-topping Olympic

The Wellington Phoenix reserves are just the second team to take points off Wellington Olympic in the 2022 National League Championship.

The Phoenix reserves have drawn 1-1 with the Central League champions, thanks to a stoppage time penalty from substitute Joshua Tollervey.

Jesse Randall opened the scoring for Olympic midway through the first half and both sides had a number of opportunities to find the back of the net in normal time.

Lukas Kelly-Heald earned the young Nix a penalty in the 89th minute and after a long delay Tollervey stepped up to send Scott Basalaj the wrong way from the spot and earn the reserves a share of the spoils.

The result means Wellington Olympic and Auckland City are tied atop the National League Championship table with two rounds remaining, while the Wellington Phoenix reserves remain seventh on the ladder.

Head coach Chris Greenacre made four changes to the XI which started the 2-0 defeat to Auckland City last week. Alby Kelly-Heald replaced Callum Kennett in goal, while Isaac Hughes, Dan McKay and Ben Wallace came in for Joseph Chiari, Josh Rudland and the injured Finn Surman.

Kelly-Heald and Baslaj were both called into action in the opening half an hour, producing sharp saves to deny Gianni Bouzoukis and Kaelin Nguyen respectively.

Bouzoukis caught Kelly-Heald out in the 28th minute, with Randall tapping his chip into the back of the net from a yard out.

Basalaj was the busier of the ‘keepers at the start of the second-half and denied Nguyen for a second time in the 52nd minute.

The young Nix continued to push for an equaliser and they thought they had won a penalty when Ben Wallace appeared to be fouled in the box seven minutes from fulltime.

Their appeals weren’t waved away a second time a handful of minutes later after Kelly-Heald went down in a heap in the Olympic box.

Tollervey, who came on as a substitute midway through the second-half, took charge of the penalty and delivered to secure the Wellington Phoenix reserves their third draw of the season.

The reserves head to Christchurch next Sunday to face Cashmere Technical in their penultimate round match.

Wellington Phoenix reserves
: 1. Alby KELLY-HEALD (gk), 5. Isaac HUGHES (c), 6. Dan MCKAY, Noah KARUNARATNE, 10. Charlie BEALE, 11. Kaelin NGUYEN (9. Joshua TOLLERVEY 68th), 12. Lucas MAURAGIS, 13. Matthew SHERIDAN, 15. Lukas KELLY-HEALD, 17. Fin CONCHIE (17. Riley MANUEL 73rd), 18. Ben WALLACE.
Unused substitutes: 20. Eamonn MCCARRON (gk) 3. Adam SUPYK, , 14. Daniel MAKOWEM,.

Wellington Olympic: 1. Scott BASALAJ (gk), 4. Alex PALEZEVIC, 5. Justin GULLEY, 6. Tor DAVENPORT PETERSON (19. Samuel MITRAKAS 63rd), 9. Kailan GOULD, 10. Gianni BOUZOUKIS, 11. Nathanael HAILEMARIAM, 15. Ben MATA (c), 30. Connor GAUL (20. Tamupiwa DIMARIO 63rd), 32. Jonty ROUBOS, 34. Jesse RANDALL.
Unused substitutes: 41. Reed COLLINGWOOD (gk), 18. Theo ETTEMA, 22. Lukas HALIKIAS.

34. Jesse RANDALL (Wellington Olympic) – 28th
9. Joshua TOLLERVEY (Wellington Phoenix reserves) – 90+1

11. Kaelin NGUYEN (Wellington Phoenix reserves) – yellow – 45+111. Nathanael HAILEMARIAM (Wellington Olympic) – yellow – 79th