A contentious penalty has decided the Wellington Phoenix reserves’ fourth round men’s National League Championship match against Napier City Rovers.
Rovers have beaten the Phoenix reserves 1-0 at Fraser Park in Lower Hutt, courtesy of a 49th minute spot kick converted by Deri Corfe.
After a close-fought first half, centre back Isaac Hughes was deemed to have committed a handball in the reserves’ box shortly after halftime, much to the dismay of the young Nix players and coaches.
The Phoenix reserves searched for an equaliser for the remaining 40 minutes but were unable to find a way past Oscar Mason in the Napier goal.
Head coach Chris Greenacre made four changes to the side that started last week’s win over Manurewa AFC, with Hughes, Jackson Manuel, Hayden Thomas and Ben Wallace coming into the XI, replacing Seth Karunaratne, Lewis Partridge, Anaru Cassidy and Luke Supyk.
Fergus Gillion had the best chance of the first half for the reserves, but unfortunately skied his shot over the bar.
Wallace came closest to equalising for the young Nix in the second half, rattling the woodwork with a late free-kick.
The result leaves the Wellington Phoenix reserves sixth on the competition ladder, level on points with Napier City Rovers, who have jumped up to seventh.
The Phoenix reserves will visit fifth-placed Cashmere Technical next Saturday.
Wellington Phoenix reserves: 1.Alby KELLY-HEALD (gk), 2. Xuan LOKE, 5. Isaac HUGHES (c), 6. Fergus GILLION, 8. Dan MCKAY, 10. Charlie BEALE, 11. Josh RUDLAND (29. Daniel MAKOWEM 70th), 14. Jackson MANUEL (3. Lewis PARTRIDGE 62nd), 15. Hayden THOMAS (7. Ryan WATSON 62nd), 18. Ben WALLACE 25. Gabriel SLOANE-RODRIGUES (9. Josh TOLLERVEY 62nd).
Unused substitutes: 4. Seth KARUNARATNE.
Napier City Rovers: 1. Oscar MASON (gk), 2, George ANDREW, 3. Liam SCHOFIELD, 4. Kaeden ATKINS (8. Sam LACK 57th), 5. Jack ALBERTINI, 6. Ry MCLEOD, 7. Ta Eh DOE, 10. Deri CORFE, 12. Alex MORT (13. Harry MASON 65th), 15. James HOYLE (c), 20. Christian LEOPARD.
Unused substitutes: 21. Kyle BAXTER (gk), 18. Harry HUXFORD.
10. Deri CORFE (Napier City Rovers) – 49th pen
5. Isaac HUGHES (Wellington Phoenix reserves) – yellow – 49th
15. James HOYLE (Napier City Rovers) – yellow – 49th
6. Ry MCLEOD (Napier City Rovers) – yellow – 90th
10. Charlie BEALE (Wellington Phoenix reserves) – yellow – 90th