Derby days are always a big event, even if it is the manufactured #DistanceDerby. It’s even more special when you’re in attendance. I was at HBF Park last night to watch Perth Glory take on my Wellington Phoenix.
Pre-match activities are at the heart of a derby watch and while fights were breaking out in Melbourne (probably), I was sinking pints at the very same pub that the Glory supporters call home. Rivalry eh? The worst thing that happened was that they called me a sheep-shagger, which logistically makes no sense to me. *shrug emoji*
After a not very interesting first 40 minutes, I was beginning to think I’d come a long way not to see any goals. David Ball gave me hope in the 41st with a run at Rocket Reddy, but his shot went wide and my hope faded. It got worse just two minutes later when the ball was whipped in from a corner and after bouncing around a bit, it came to Mrcela’s head and he calmly gave the home side the lead.
I needn’t have worried about the lack of goals, they were just coming from the wrong team. The Phoenix’ Stevie T was stood up by a Fornaroli pirouette allowing a ball away to D’Agostino who slammed it home and made it 2-0 just on the stroke of half time.
Stabbing the hearts of Nix fans early in the second half, Daggers gets left in some space right in front of the goal, is gifted a ball right to his head and gets his brace. 5255km away from home and we’re 3-0 down. It’s not a good feeling. It was made worse by the two 10 year olds in the stand above us, taunting me. Lucky for them (or more likely, me) there was too much distance between us so I couldn’t slide tackle them.
Just shy of 60 minutes, Ufuk Talay decided enough was enough and put on Super(sub) Gary Hooper. Just 8 minutes in to his stint, Hoops gets a beautiful ball in and heads one home for the visitors. Side note: It has just occurred to me how many of these goals have been headed in during this game. Anyway, Hooper’s goal sparks hope for the Nix and it actually looks like they want to play again.
It wouldn’t be a derby without a little controversy, which we got in the 71st when Tim Payne *allegedly* takes down D’Agostino and receives his second yellow and his marching orders. Just when it felt like the Nix could make a comeback, they’re down to 10 men. Uffie has something to say about the yellow and I’d hazard a guess that it wasn’t complimentary as he is also shown the slice of cheese.
The Nix get another in the 75th, Hooper again. This time he sneaks it in at the near post off a ball from King Cammy. The away fans go nuts in our little corner of the park, the hope is alive again!
In the 90th minute, Fornaroli absolutely hammers the final nail in the coffin, sealing it 4-2 for his side. An absolute rocket of a ball from outside the 18 yard box. Marinovic has no idea about it and can’t move quickly enough to stop it. This time the Shed go absolutely bonkers – you’d think they just won a title or something.
Final whistle blows. 4-2 in favour of the home side and a bloody long journey home for this girl.
Highlights – I really like HBF Park as a venue AND they sell popcorn there
– Catching up with Vinnie Lia
Lowlight – the result
By Tracey Hodge