Wet and windy: Wellington’s win over Western

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Wellington fans had the rain and the wind and thanks to Liberato Cacace and David Ball, they had a 2-0 Phoenix win over Western United.

The game had an electric start, as just 50 seconds in, the post was vibrating. Ball set up Ulises Dávila nicely and while his shot could beat Filip Kurto, the post was a different matter. 

The opening portion of the game continued in a similar vein – the first twenty-five minutes saw chance after chance after chance for Wellington. Gary Hooper, Reno Piscopo, Ball and Dávila showed their teeth as only Kurto kept United in the game. 

Although drizzle fell from the sky, the heaviest rain was on Western’s goal as the Nix would not let up.   

While Wellington may have been on fire, so was Western’s goalie, but Kurto is not superman. At long last in the 29th minute the goal came from a surprising source.

Cacace ran down the left and cut into the goal, where Dávila’s cross floated in allowing him to stylishly side-foot it in. 

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Following the goal, the game slowed down slightly and in the 40th minute United finally had their first chance as Besart Berisha’s sliding shot forced a save from Stefan Marinovic. 

Hooper came close to deservedly doubling the Nix’s lead just inside stoppage time, but his rebound from Kurto’s shot was ruled offside and Wellington led 1-0 at the break.

Compared to the first half, the second started at a snail pace. It’s first chance would come in the 57th minute when Alessandro Diamanti broke through and had a great yet offside stab at goal.

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As the second half went on, the more opposite it became from the first. Western became the team creating chances, albeit with less frequency and success than Wellington had.

The Nix still had their fair share though, with Kurto keeping Callum McCowatt out following a beautiful passing move, as well as Gary Hooper doing Gary Hooper things. And from there, the pendulum swung back in favour of the Phoenix as they re-took control. The promise of another goal hung in the air. 

It was a promise fulfilled in the closing seconds of regulation time when Ball broke free of the defence and managed to send it over the top of a scrambling Kurto in a gut-punch for the visitors.

There was no coming back from that, and Wellington would emerge victorious over their rivals in torrid conditions.

Wellington Phoenix 2 (Liberato Cacace 29’ David Ball 90′) 

Western United 0

Sky Stadium

Attendance: 7281

Referee: Shaun Evans 

Assistant Refs: Scott Edeling, Sarah Jones 

Fourth Offical: Ben Abraham 

VAR: Nick Waldron 

Wellington Phoenix: Stefan MARINOVIC (GK), Luke DEVERE, Matti STEINMANN, Tim PAYNE, Reno PISCOPO (Callum MCCOWATT 60’), Cameron DEVLIN (Alex RUFER 67’), David BALL, Ulises DÁVILA, Liberato CACACE, Steven TAYLOR (C), Gary HOOPER (Jaushua SOTIRIO 80′)

Unused subs: Oliver SAIL (GK), Te Atawhai HUDSON-WIHONGI, Brandon WILSON, Sam SUTTON 

Western United: Filip KURTO (GK), Andrew DURANTE, Tomoki IMAI, Panagiotis KONE (Max BURGESS 30’), Steven LUSTICA, Connor PAIN, Dario JERTEC (Jerry SKOTADIS 67’), Besart BERISHA, Josh RISDON, Alessandro DIAMANTI (C) (Dylan PIERIAS 82′), Oskar DILLON 

Unused subs: Ryan SCOTT (GK), Kuach YUEL, Joshua CAVALLO, Tomislav USKOK

Featured image credit: Cameron McIntosh

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Dan Moskovitz
The Football Sack's resident teen kiwi football nut. Loves everything football except defeats.