The Wellington Phoenix reserves have claimed their second win of the 2023 men’s National League Championship.
The Phoenix reserves have beaten Auckland United 4-3 at Keith Hay Park in Auckland, with substitute Daniel Makowem scoring the match-winner six minutes from fulltime.
The young Nix had led 2-1 at halftime courtesy of first half goals from Josh Rudland and Josh Tollervey, but found themselves 3-2 down midway through the second half.
Kaelin Nguyen drew the reserves level in the 79th minute before Makowem claimed all three points when he found the back of the net five minutes later.
It is the Phoenix reserves’ second successful trip to Auckland, having beaten Manurewa 6-4 in round three.Head coach Chris Greenacre made just one change to the XI which started last Sunday’s home defeat to Eastern Suburbs with first team squad member Oskar van Hattum replacing Ben Wallce.
On the bench Seth Karunaratne and Ryan Watson replaced Jayden Smith and Gabriel Sloane-Rodrigues. Watson remained in Wellington, where he led the Wellington Phoenix U-17 team to the boys’ youth national league title, beating Fencibles United 3-1 in the final at NZCIS, while Sloane Rodrigues is in Indonesia preparing to represent New Zealand at the FIFA U-17 Men’s World Cup.
Rudland put the reserves in front midway through the first half.
Auckland United drew level in the 42nd minute, but Tollervey restored the young Nix’s lead mere seconds later to give them a 2-1 halftime lead.
A Joshua Redfearn goal and a second from Nicolas Zambrano put the hosts in front 21 minutes into the second half and it remained that way until the final quarter of an hour.
Nguyen scored the Phoenix reserves’ equaliser in the 79th minute and Makowem scored what was ultimately the match winner in the 84th.
The Wellington Phoenix reserves are now eighth in the 10-team competition with two rounds to play.
They will return to Fraser Park next Sunday afternoon to host Lower Hutt rivals Petone.
Wellington Phoenix reserves: 1.Alby KELLY-HEALD (gk), 3. Jackson MANUEL, 5. Isaac HUGHES (c), 6. Fergus GILLION, 8. Dan MCKAY, 9. Josh TOLLERVEY (18. Ryan WATSON 71st), 10. Charlie BEALE (4. Seth KARUNARATNE 77th), 11. Josh RUDLAND (15. Daniel MAKOWEM 77th), 12. Kaelin NGUYEN, 13. Matthew SHERIDAN (2. Xuan LOKE 77th), 24. Oskar VAN HATTUM (7. Noah KARUNARATNE 46th).
Auckland United: 1. Mack WAITE (gk), 4. Ross HAVILAND (c), 9. Joshua REDFEARN (6. Noah BILLINGSLEY 90th), 13. Codey PHOENIX, 14. William STEPHEN (7. Fumiya ITO 77th), 17. Xavier GREEN, 18. Nicolas ZAMBRANO, 19. Oliver MIDDLETON, 20. Semi NABENU, 24. Daniel ATKINSON (15. Benji MCCARTHY 77th), 25. Hideto TAKAHASHI.
Unused substitutes: 5. Kurtis MOGG, 10. Zachary CHUNG,
11. Josh RUDLAND (Wellington Phoenix reserves) – 26th
18. Nicolas ZAMBRANO (Auckland United) – 42nd & 66th
9. Josh TOLLERVEY (Wellington Phoenix reserves) – 43rd
9. Joshua REDFEARN (Auckland United) – 61st
12. Kaelin NGUYEN (Wellington Phoenix reserves) – 79th
15. Daniel MAKOWEM (Wellington Phoenix reserves) – 84th
6. Fergus GILLION (Wellington Phoenix reserves) – yellow – 70th
11. Josh RUDLAND (Wellington Phoenix reserves) – yellow – 76th
4. Ross HAVILAND (Auckland United) – yellow – 86th