The mood in the pub before the match was gloomy. Nix fans unsure what to expect from the game, some even predicting a loss. It’s dark times when your team is on an unbeaten streak but you can’t shake the niggling doubt that lingers after you’ve been disappointed too many times before (kinda like my dating life).
It was the Phoenix’s 150th match at Sky Stadium (formerly Westpac Stadium), though it should be noted that not all of these have been A-League matches. Traditionally these “milestone matches” don’t work out too good for the Nix. Combine the curse with the lack of David Ball and Reno Piscopo and you can see how the doubts creep in.
Anyway, the match:
In the second minute the crowd in the stands erupted thinking the ball had hit the back of the net and we’d just taken the lead. The ball DID hit the back of the net but it was on the outside. No goal. Rein in your enthusiasm team.
Yeboah looked to be about to give the visitors a leg up on the scoreboard in the 6th minute but Libby “ain’t nothing but a left back” Cacace muscles him out.
Ulises Davila ensured the crowd had something to cheer about in the 15th minute, scoring in the bottom left after being fed by Super Hooper (give me a minute while I think about Hooper feeding me…*heart eyes emoji*) at the edge of the box. The maestro has now scored 9 goals in his Phoenix tenure and is definitely providing the fans with some excitement.
Ten minutes prior to half time, Hooper and Georgievski had a few words after the latter took down Sotorio. Now, as a Nix fan I don’t know if I’m allowed to say this, but I quite like Georgievski. He’s the niggly player that as an opposition you hate but when he’s on your side, you worship the ground he walks on. Having said that, LEAVE MY BOYS ALONE, Danny!
Mitchell Duke sent a couple of shots Stefan Marinovic’s way in the final ten of the first half, but the only one on target was straight in to the arms of the Kiwi keeper.
HALF TIME: 1-0
Early doors in the second half the Hoopster dances past the Wanderer’s defence and hits the ball at the post. He’s called offside though and the crowd deflates a little.
In the 58th minute the Wanderers have a penalty shout after Yeboah is seemingly bought down in the box. The referee signals play on but we all know that pesky VAR is reviewing it so nerves are fraught for a few minutes. Or maybe longer than a few minutes because I don’t actually know how long VAR takes to make a decision, so despite the possible chances the Nix are running on to, it feels like there’s still a possibility a penalty is in the works.
Wanderers had a decent spell of good play in the second half, and the Nix dropped off a little, but they were unable to capitalise on their chances. I’ve read an interview with Mitchell Duke and he was not too happy with the way his team played. It kind of makes me feel sorry for them, but at the same time…I’m fine with it.
Cacace doubled the Nix lead in the 88th minute after bounding up the left flank and pushing one past Lopar whose finger tips couldn’t quite push the ball off course.
To top off an already rubbish night for the man, the Yellow Fever farewelled Markus Babbel from the pitch with a rousing chorus of “you’re getting sacked in the morning”. I’m sure he was stoked!
That result gives the Nix their 9th consecutive unbeaten match and they’ll be looking to keep up that run against Brisbane next week. We’re gonna win the league!
By Tracey Hodge