Wellington collect first three points of A-League Men season in style

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For the third home game this season, Wellington was once again able to put on a cracker of a day as Wellington Phoenix welcomed Macarthur to New Zealand for the first time. 

Both teams walked out to a warm 6,135 fans cheering the home side. There was one difference, Wellington Phoenix weren’t wearing yellow.  

The Nix unveiled their one-off shirt for Sunday’s match, a striking pink shirt matched with their away blue shorts and socks. Partnering with Gumboot Friday and I am Hope, both focusing on mental health. 

The Phoenix laced up their boots to a thriving 4-1 win over a disappointing Macarthur side who had their fair share of chances.  

The game started off evenly. Macarthur created the first goal-scoring chance after two-and a-half minutes. Anthony Carter striking his one-on-one shot into the palms of Phoenix keeper Oli Sail. 

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Carter six minutes later should have scored the opening goal of the contest. Receiving the ball in the box with only Sail in his path, Carter placed his shot just past the left post. 

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Daniel Arzani looked strong for the visitors. His first chance coming in the 20th minute, beating two defenders from the left wing to only have his shot saved by Sail. 

Wellington also created chances of their own, most of them didn’t trouble Macarthur keeper Filip Kurto. The Poland international only having to make a couple of saves. 

Despite not having as many chances as Macarthur, the Nix scored the first goal of the game on half time. Callan Elliot whipping in a delicious cross from the right side of the pitch which met Ben Old’s head, gliding past Kurto as it hit the bottom left post and crawled into the back of the net. 

The Nix started the second half as they did the first, creating the first goal-scoring chance of the half five minutes in. Sam Sutton making a great run with the ball down the middle to force Kurto to make a low save to his bottom left post. 

Macarthur coach Dwight Yorke introduced attacker Lachlan Rose 14 minutes into the second half and it proved to be a good decision. Rose receiving a well-timed through ball to place his one on-one shot calmly past Oli Sail to level the contest, Rose’s first touch of the match just seconds after coming on. 

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It took five minutes for the Nix to respond, Clayton Lewis executing a perfect free kick which flew straight past Kurto hitting the top of the left bar and bouncing into the back of the net to put the hosts back in front.  

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And it was a third for the Phoenix two minutes later when substitute Ben Waine tapped in a low driven cross just outside the box, making its way into the bottom right corner. A goal well set up by the hosts to give them a bit of breathing space.

The Phoenix were in cruise control as they scored their fourth eight minutes after their third. Bozhidar Kraev getting onto the end of a pass from David Ball to tap the ball into an empty net, it was the Bulgaria international’s second goal for the club.  

On the upside for the visitors, Rose impressed off the bench. In the 79th minute, he created yet another chance. His shot was saved by a strong Sail. 

Wellington could have had five with two minutes to go in regular time. Waine having his shot saved by a flying Flip Kurto after the Nix attacker was left unmarked at the back post. 

Next week is the final round of the A-League Men season before the World Cup break. Wellington Phoenix will host the defending league champions Western United next Sunday, while Macarthur travel to Gosford to face Central Coast Mariners on the same day.  

Wellington Phoenix 4 (Ben Old 45’+3, Clayton Lewis 65’, Benjamin Waine 67’, Bozhidar Kraev 75’) 

Macarthur 1 (Lachlan Rose 59’) 

Sky Stadium 

Referee: Casey Reibelt  

Assistant Referees: David Walsh and Issac Trevis 

Fourth Official: Anna-Marie Keighley 

Wellington Phoenix: Oliver SAIL (GK), Scott WOOTON, Steven UGARKOVIC, Kosta BARBAROUSES, Benjamin OLD (David BALL 61’), Oskar ZAWADA (Benjamin WAINE 61’), Bozhidar KRAEV (Yan SASSE 90’+3), Callan ELLIOT, Sam SUTTON, Joshua LAWS (Timothy PAYNE 89’), Clayton LEWIS

Unused subs: Alexander PAULSEN (GK), Lucas MAURAGIS, Nicholas PENNINGTON 

Macarthur: Filip KURTO (GK), Jake MCGING, Tomislav USKOK, Daniel DESILVA, Kearyn BACCUS (Jerry SKOTADIS 72’), Ivan VUJICA, Craig NOONE, Charles M’MOMBWA (Al Hassan TOURE 72’), Matthew MILLAR, Anthony CARTER (Lachlan ROSE 59’), Daniel ARZANI (Jed DREW 81’)

Unused subs: Nicholas SUMAN (GK), Moudi NAJJAR, Oliver JONES  

Featured image credit: Photomac

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Nick Jensen
Nick Jensen
Journalism Student at Massey University Wellington and a passionate Football Fan, covering the Wellington Phoenix Men and Women for the 2022/23 season.

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