United prevail in Wellington derby

Wellington United have come from two goals down at halftime to beat the Wellington Phoenix reserves 3-2 in round five of the women’s National League Championship.

Jemma Catherwood scored the match-winner for United in second half stoppage time to complete the dramatic comeback.

It was harsh on the Phoenix reserves, who had dominated the first half and deservedly led 2-0 at halftime, thanks to an Ella McCann brace.

Head coach Katie Barrott was again able to call on four Phoenix first team players, with Alyssa Whinham joining Michaela Robertson, Zoe McMeeken and Daisy Brazendale in being released to play for the reserves.

Whinham’s inclusion was one of three changes to Barrott’s starting XI, with McCann and Phoebe Hawes also returning to the side in place of Kelli Brown, Alyssa Eglinton and Georgie Furnell.

The young Nix spent almost all of the first 45 minutes in Wellington United’s half and took less than quarter of an hour to take the lead, with McCann volleying home a deflected cross from Rebekah Trewhitt.

She doubled their advantage shortly before halftime when she finished off a well-worked Phoenix reserves attack, featuring one-touch passes from Grace Bartlett and Robertson.

Wellington United were much improved in the second half and substitute Natalie Olson pulled a goal back shortly before the hour mark with a long-range strike.

United’s top scorer Pepi Olliver-Bell scored the equaliser 11 minutes from fulltime and both teams had opportunities to win the match before the final whistle blew.

Molly Simons made a great save to deny Trewhitt from the penalty spot before Catherwood made the most of her chance to score the visitors’ third and ultimately win the match for Wellington United.

The result leaves the Wellington Phoenix reserves eighth on the competition ladder, level on points with the seventh-placed Canterbury United Pride, who they will visit next weekend.

Wellington Phoenix reserves:
22. Charlotte EAGLE (gk), 2. Rebekah TREWHITT, 4. Marie GREEN (24. Libby MCMILLAN 90th), 5. Zoe MCMEEKEN, 8. Alyssa WHINHAM (26. Ellie JOHNSON 75th), 9. ELLA MCCANN, 12. Ella MCMILLAN (c), 13. Grace BARTLETT (21. Emily HUMPHREY 75th), 16. Daisy BRAZENDALE, 18. Michaela ROBERTSON (25. Mackenzie GREENE 75th), 31. Phoebe HAWES (14. Alyssa EGLINTON 63rd).

Wellington United:
1. Molly SIMONS (gk), 3. Hope GILCHRIST (c), 4. Zoe BARROTT, 5. Caelin PATTERSON, 8. Sammi PREVAL (13. Liv DEANE 80th), 9. Cara CHUNG, 11. Jemma CATHERWOOD, 15. Pepi OLLIVER-BELL, 16. Danielle OHLSSON (7. Natalie OLSON 42nd), 17. Lillian DAVIES, 19. Ellie KABAYAMA.
Unused substitutes: 2. Sophie DIJKSTRA, 10. Olive LYNCH-GERRARD, 23. Caitlin CUMMINGS.

9. ELLA MCCANN (Wellington Phoenix reserves) – 13th & 44th
7. Natalie OLSON (Wellington United) – 58th
15. Pepi OLLIVER-BELL (Wellington United) – 79th
11. Jemma CATHERWOOD (Wellington United) – 90th

Photo: Cam McIntosh/Photomac.