The Wellington Phoenix reserves have slumped to their third straight defeat in the men’s National League Championship, despite being able to call on a couple of first team squad members and a number of fringe A-League players.
The Phoenix reserves have been beaten 5-3 by Eastern Suburbs at Fraser Park in Lower Hutt, after trailing 4-1 at halftime.Isaac Hughes and Fergus Gillion started for the reserves less than 24 hours after making their A-Leagues debuts as second half substitutes against Perth Glory.
Charlie Beale and Josh Rudland also returned to the XI after travelling to Sydney for the Phoenix’s season opener last weekend, while Matt Sheridan and Kaelin Nguyen were reinstated to the side after coming off the bench in last week’s defeat to Cashmere Technical and first team forward Oskar van Hattum was named amongst the substitutes.
The young Nix made a fast start with Nguyen finding the back of the net little over 60 seconds into the match.
The lead was short-lived however with Suburbs equalising through Ryan Verney less than five minutes later.
Eastern Suburbs forward Kingsley Sinclair also grabbed a first half brace either side of a goal from former reserves captain Luis Toomey to put the visitors in command at halftime.
Josh Tollervey pulled a goal back early in the second half and van Hattum converted a penalty shortly after coming off the bench to give the Phoenix reserves hope of a comeback.
That hope was all but quelled when Toomey scored a spot kick of his own 12 minutes from fulltime.
The result leaves the Wellington Phoenix reserves second to bottom in the 10-team competition, with three rounds to play.
They will visit Suburbs’ Northern League rivals Auckland United next Sunday.
Wellington Phoenix reserves: 1.Alby KELLY-HEALD (gk), 5. Isaac HUGHES (c), 6. Fergus GILLION, 8. Dan MCKAY, 9. Josh TOLLERVEY (25. Gabriel SLOANE-RODRIGUES 65th), 10. Charlie BEALE, 11. Josh RUDLAND (7. Noah KARUNARATNE 65th), 12. Kaelin NGUYEN (24. Oskar VAN HATTUM 65th), 13. Matthew SHERIDAN (2. Xuan LOKE 65th), 14. Jackson MANUEL, 18. Ben WALLACE (15. Jayden SMITH 79th).
Eastern Suburbs: 1. Joseph KNOWLES (gk), 2. Adam THOMAS (c), 4. Kelvin KALUA, 5. Aaryan RAJ, 11. Kingsley SINCLAIR, 12. Campbell STRONG (2. Tyler LISSETTE 63rd), 21. Ryan VERNEY (19. Ralph RUTHERFORD 63rd), 22. Riley DALZIELL (29. Malcolm YOUNG 25th), 23. Jirayu TWIGG (14. Jayden SCOTT 80th), 24. Luis TOOMEY, 31. Jackson JARVIE (15. Francis DE VRIES 80th).
12. Kaelin NGUYEN (Wellington Phoenix reserves) – 2nd
21. Ryan VERNEY (Eastern Suburbs) – 6th
11. Kingsley SINCLAIR (Eastern Suburbs) – 17th & 43rd
24. Luis TOOMEY (Eastern Suburbs) – 22nd & 78th pen
9. Josh TOLLERVEY (Wellington Phoenix reserves) – 49th
24. Oskar VAN HATTUM (Wellington Phoenix reserves) – 68th pen
12. Campbell STRONG (Eastern Suburbs) – yellow – 39th
11. Josh RUDLAND (Wellington Phoenix reserves) – yellow – 45th
23. Jirayu TWIGG (Eastern Suburbs) – yellow – 66th
8. Dan MCKAY (Wellington Phoenix reserves) – yellow – 77th