Wellington Phoenix travelled to the Capital of Sport and Coffee in attempt to grab their first 3 points of the season. Melbourne City rocked up to AAMI Park Maclareness. Where will the goals come from, many muttered “From the youth” I could hear in the distance, from journalist to every single football publication in Australia, Joey Lynch.
The game was lively from the get go. The teams only needed several minutes to figure each other out until Piscopo, Noone and Griffiths all tried to open the scoring.
The Nix had confidence on their side with star signing, Gary Hooper, starting his first A-League match and Reno Piscopo had confidence from his big Italian family who used up nearly the entire Wellington Phoenix’s allocated seating provided to the team. Bless.
Gary Hooper opened the scoring thanks to a ball in from Ball. Hooper was teasing the area for some time until he finally scored with his head in the box. Nix fans everywhere rejoiced as they have put all their eggs in the basket that is Super Hooper saving their season.
As the Piscopo family had to watch the massacre that was City players sliding in on Reno, the ref finally cracked the shits and Najjar got yellow fever within the half hour. Later in the match Noone was also given a yellow for a challenge on Reno. To be honest, I’d find any excuse to fall on top of him too.
Barely a minute later, Metcalfe finds a goal like a needle in a haystack amongst the heavy load of Nix defenders around him. Noone sent it an impressive ball and Connor was in the right place at the right time who much like Gaz, used his head to give City fans what they want.
Only 4 minutes later, Scott Galloway played on his desire to be on top by coming in deep, outside the box for a screamer. Must admit, he doesn’t come around often but when he does, he makes it matter. City are now 2-1 up and proving that they can in fact, score without Jamie Maclaren.
By the time we approach half time, City have 3 goals, 2 yellows and 1 heart. The Nix, well they have some work to do.
Wellington Phoenix make a statement at half time, subbing Gary Hooper for Jaush Sotirio. I think the statement was ‘we have no one else’ as Hoops would’ve been pretty exhausted while he is still getting used to the fact he has to travel overseas once a fortnight. Piscopo also called it a day after about 35 hacks to his legs and I think Papa Pisco was eager to get the good seats at Brunetti’s.
As I say every week, kudos to Marinovic between the sticks. Not only is he easy on the eye, but he keeps the Nix in the game more than most of us realise. Now that Najjar didn’t have Piscopo to hack the living shit out of, he also decided to call it a day with the Luna eclipse taking his place.
In the 62nd minute, much to Speedy and Harps’ disgust, a penalty was called as the ball hit Fenton’s arm or chest. If you ask the ref, it hit the arm. If you ask Fenton, it “didn’t touch my f*cking arm”. If you ask me, I would say to check with Robbie Slater. To be honest, I don’t think we’ve been given the best angle and I think that’s what KGJ was saying when he backed the ref up in the VAR room. One angle it looked to be chest but another angle was so blurry, it can be argued. As a ref I wouldn’t have called a pen but I do not have the endurance to chase 22 men for 90 minutes, anymore.
Craig Noone steps up and converts the penalty while the entirety of Sokkah Twitter gather an angry mob to head to VAR HQ. City are 3-1 up and Nix fans feel more hard done by than some fans when we write about how shit their team is.
The Phoenix spend the remainder of the game pushing shit up hill until the final minutes when Ben Waine gets a late goal for the Nix with a tap in. Unfortunately for the Nix this would be it and they head home with a 3-2 loss and no points.
City will be happy with their performance and especially the performance of their youth. Colakovski, who was subbed on in the final 15, was exciting and hungrier than me after a salad. As has been the story with City for sometime now, their youth are definitely the ones to watch.
The entertainment didn’t end within the 90 though, Archie grabbed Fenton post-game to ask about the penalty and Fenton gave us the most honest interview we’ve seen in a long time, F bangers and all. Assuming there will be repercussions and fines involved on his end but honestly, he gave the fans exactly what they wanted.
By Rose Valente