Men’s reserves prevail in goal fest

The Wellington Phoenix reserves are on the board in the 2023 men’s National League Championship.

The Phoenix reserves have posted their first win of this year’s competition in style, beating Manurewa AFC 6-4 at Manurewa War Memorial Park in Auckland, after leading 3-0 at halftime.

The academy’s latest first team graduate Luke Supyk scored a brace on his return to the reserves, as did Josh Rudland, while Charlie Beale and substitute Josh Tollervey also found the back of the net.

Head coach Chris Greenacre made four changes to the XI which started the second round defeat to Christchurch United, with Supyk, Rudland, Fergus Gillion and captain Dan McKay returning from first team duty to replace Ben Wallace, Ryan Watson, Hayden Thomas and Marco Lorenz. Tollervey and Kaelin Nguyen also returned via the bench.

Beale opened the scoring in the 18th minute when he expertly picked out the far corner of Manurewa’s goal after getting on the end of a well-weighted through ball from Rudland.

Supyk blasted home the reserves’ second midway through the first half after the hosts failed to deal with a threatening right-wing cross from Beale.

The Phoenix reserves went three goals up half an hour into the match, with Rudland punishing the Manurewa defence which wasn’t able to clear another right-wing cross, this time from Supyk.

The hosts had their goal scoring opportunities in the first half but were unable to find a way past Alby Kelly-Heald, who made a great reflex save in the 34th minute.

Halftime substitute Hayat Ali Tobita pulled a goal back for Manurewa five minutes into the second half, moments before Rudland restored the reserves’ three goal cushion with a well-placed strike from the edge of the area.

Supyk made it 5-1 in the 55th minute, with a composed finish after being picked out by New Zealand U-17 teammate Gabriel Sloane-Rodrigues.

The hard-working Monty Patterson scored the hosts’ second goal from the penalty spot shortly after, and defender Dylan Morris gave them hope of a comeback when he cut the deficit to two with a second-time strike midway through the second half.

Tollervey restored the Phoenix reserves’ three goal advantage with a stunning right wing strike in the 74th minute, with fellow substitute Boon Ozawa completing the scoring for Manurewa eight minutes from fulltime

After back-to-back matches on the road the Wellington Phoenix reserves will return to Fraser Park on Saturday night to host Central League rivals Napier City Rovers.

Wellington Phoenix reserves:
1.Alby KELLY-HEALD (gk), 2. Xuan LOKE, 3. Lewis PARTRIDGE, 4. Seth KARUNARATNE (22. Jayden SMITH 75th), 5. Anaru CASSIDY (15. Hayden THOMAS 61st), 6. Fergus GILLION, 8. Dan MCKAY, 10. Charlie BEALE (18. Ben WALLACE 61st), 11. Josh RUDLAND (9. Josh TOLLERVEY 61st), 19. Luke SUPYK, 25. Gabriel SLOANE-RODRIGUES (12. Kaelin NGUYEN 75th).

Manurewa AFC:  1. Regan DIVER (gk), 3. Aidan PRICE (16. Boon OZAWA 46th), 5. Sammy KHAN, 6. Agustin Nicolas CONTRATTI (c), 7. James HOYT (8. Mohammed MUZAKKIR-NABEEL 65th), 9. Eric KOSTANDINI ZIU (19. Hayat Ali TOBITA 46th), 10. Monty PATTERSON, 13. Ronaldo MUNOZ, 14. Dylan MORRIS, 17. Connor PROBERT, 18. Nicolas BOBADILLA
Unused substitutes: 2. Caleb PRASAD, 23. Keen MANDIZVIDZA.

10. Charlie BEALE (Wellington Phoenix reserves) – 18th
19. Luke SUPYK (Wellington Phoenix reserves) – 25th & 55th
11. Josh RUDLAND (Wellington Phoenix reserves) – 30th & 52nd
19. Hayat Ali TOBITA (Manurewa AFC) – 50th
10. Monty PATTERSON (Manurewa AFC) – 57th pen
14. Dylan MORRIS (Manurewa AFC) – 67th
9. Josh TOLLERVEY (Wellington Phoenix reserves) – 74th
16. Boon OZAWA (Manurewa AFC) – 82nd

11. Josh RUDLAND (Wellington Phoenix reserves) – yellow – 58th
15. Hayden THOMAS (Wellington Phoenix reserves) – yellow – 65th
13. Ronaldo MUNOZ (Manurewa AFC) – yellow – 67th
1.Alby KELLY-HEALD (Wellington Phoenix reserves) – yellow – 67th

Photo: Cam McIntosh/Photomac