In a matchup that brought former Phoenix head coach Ricki Herbert against his former assistant Chris Greenacre, Wellington Phoenix Reserves won 3-1 putting 8 points between them and the bottom-placed Hamilton side.
After a cagey first half, the encounter burst to life in the second when, right after the break, Hamilton opened the scoring through Tommy Semmy, but the Nix showed determination and confidence to draw level, then go ahead through Luke Tongue, James McGarry, and Ollie Whyte.
Tommy Semmy (Hamilton 46th minute) A solid interception from Tommy Semmy allowed him to break through the Phoenix’s defence, and slot it past Oliver Sail.
Luke Tongue (Nix, 53rd minute) Tongue navigated his way through a maze of shirts, before somehow finding space from distance to fire a belter past Hamilton goalie Matthew Oliver.
James McGarry (Nix, 82nd minute) Sam Phillip got into the box before being taken down from behind – resulting in a penalty. James McGarry took the spot kick and made it look so easy with a simple strike into the bottom left corner.
Ollie Whyte (Nix, 88th minute) Whyte picked up the ball at the edge of the area and let loose a fantastic curled shot that went past Matthew Oliver.
The “Oh so close!”
With the scores locked at 1-1, Hamilton had everyone at the edge of their seat when Patrick Aisa burst into the area and let off a low shot which slid past Oliver Sail. Everyone thought Hamilton was going to be 2-1 up, but the ball rolled past the post by centimetres.
James McGarry: Was everywhere for the Nix. Made several good shots, passed well, and was the heart of a team that was lacking professional youngsters like Sarpreet Singh and Logan Rogerson.
Willem Ebbinge: Was the creator of multiple opportunities. Made several key runs into the box, his passing was great, and he enjoyed long spells of possession.
Luke Tongue, Nix midfielder: "We were going for the clean sheet, but that didn’t happen today. It felt good to get a goal, but it was always going to be a hard battle against Hamilton."
The bad boys:
Yellow cards: Phoenix - Luke Tongue, Liberato Cacace; Hamilton - none
Red cards: none
The Reserves are back in action on 7 January, against Team Wellington, 2pm, David Farrington Park.