PRE-SEASON | Phoenix beaten by Wests despite Powell’s first goal

When the Wellington Phoenix’ new striker Blake Powell was at Sydney FC he earned the nickname of “Tap in”...

When the Wellington Phoenix’ new striker Blake Powell was at Sydney FC he earned the nickname of “Tap in” with the three A-League goals he scored for the club all being from close range.

Powell continued in that vein when the Phoenix were beaten 3-2 by Wests at Ole Football Academy on Tuesday night.

After an open and entertaining scoreless first half it was Powell who broke the deadlock 10 minutes into the second half when one of several halftime Phoenix substitutions, Joel Stevens, squared the ball for Powell to knock it over the line from less than a metre.

It might have only been a pre-season friendly but Powell was delighted to get off the mark with his new club.

“I’ll take it. They all count,” a smiling Powell said.

“I scored three goals for Sydney FC and they were all like that. I didn’t mind people calling me ‘tap in’ because I love scoring goals whatever they look like.”

Ben Sippola equalised for Wests four minutes later from the penalty spot after Phoenix substitute keeper Oliver Sail had brilliantly saved the first attempt only for the referee to rule he had moved off his line.

Noah Billingsley made it 2-1 to Wests with a nice glancing header and Owen Parker-Price added a third when the Phoenix defence gave the ball away playing out from the back.

James McGarry scored a late goal for the Phoenix but they wasted two good chances to force a draw with Logan Rogerson and Sapreet Singh shooting over and wide respectively.

It was another good work out for the A-League side with head coach Ernie Merrick giving his first choice players a run in the first half before making several pre-planned changes at halftime and introducing a number of Phoenix Academy players.