The crowd in Ballarat may as well have been watching from actual Mars, such was the distance from the stands to the pitch at Mars Stadium. I use the term crowd very loosely here as I’m pretty sure you could count the number of people at the ground on a couple of hands. That being said, of the crowd that was there, there was a decent Kiwi contingent rarking the place up.
No time to settle into this one it seems as not even two minutes in a Western United player skips past the Nix defenders and goes close to taking the lead.
14 minutes in United are forced to make a substitution after Brendan Hamill goes down with a pretty ugly looking knee injury (yip, just watched the replay again, it’s not good). No one likes to see that happen so hopefully he recovers quickly and is back in action soon.
With the Phoenix dominance rising, in the 18th minute Piscopo fires one from outside the box and sends Kurto scrambling with the shot that narrowly misses the post.
Much like an Instagram influencer, it seems like the VAR just wants some attention and they don’t seem fussed if it’s for good or for evil. Already this weekend there’s been controversy with a player seemingly deserving of a red card and not getting anything. The same happens here in the 22nd minute with Skotadis appearing to clothesline David Ball. We wait patiently for the VAR to send him for an early shower but nothing comes of it. Play on says the ref.
With 5 minutes to go in the first half, Cammy Devlin (or Scrappy Doo as I’ve taken to calling him) wins the ball from traitor ex-Nix player Max Burgess. Devlin passes it off to the Mexican maestro, Uli Davila, who drives directly for the box. Andrew Durante has no idea what’s going on as Davila gives the ball off to…well, Ball who nets it. Nix lead!!!
Very early in the second half, hearts are in mouths as Scott McDonald forces Marinovic to make an excellent save to deny the equaliser.
Callum McCowatt scores his first A-League goal in the 55th minute, after receiving the ball inside the box from Piscopo who has made a decent run forward. I much prefer seeing the young fella score goals here than against my National League team, that’s for sure.
I don’t know any, but I imagine the Western United fans were well and truly over it when in the 80th minute, Uli Davila makes a sneaky run down the side and hits a cheeky left footed strike to get the Nix third goal of the evening.
Just when the Nix fans think they can get away with a clean sheet, things get messy in the box and Stevie T reaches out his hands to try and block a shot. Diamanti lines up the penalty, and calmly slots it to give United a consolation goal.
In the 90-somethingth minute Super Hooper rushes towards Kurto, like a shopper to the Boxing Day sales. He wins the ball with his head and it spectacularly goes in the back of the net. Absolute scenes. Nix fans are going fricken mental in the stands, and in the pub where I am but another VARcical decision says he is offside and the goal is disallowed/overturned.
Whilst the extra goal would have really sealed the deal, a 3-1 result over “those guys” is pretty choice eh?