Miramar Rangers 1 Wellington (Phoenix) United 5
Central League
Dave Farrington Park
Saturday 2nd July 2016
Attendance about 60

Saturday saw only 3 Central League games in Wellington and none of the Capital Premier or Division 1 games looking that enticing (or they were being played at Wakefield Park, which is one of the least enticing grounds to watch football in Wellington!). As I was working in Upper Hutt until 2, logic would have seen me pick the Hutt derby between Petone & Lower Hutt City or even the Kaizen v Ole battle of the academies #2 between Western Suburbs and Wellington Olympic, but no I choose the game furthest away – Miramar Rangers v Wellington (Phoenix) United!

Giving myself 30 minutes to make the 44km journey I realised I probably wouldn't make kick off and despite some heavy traffic due to an accident, I was pleased to have got to Dave Farrington Park with only 15 minutes gone. I was less pleased when checking twitter to see I had already missed 2 goals, and then as I got into the ground, Wellington (Phoenix) United's Abdigafar Omar completed his hat-trick to make it 3-0 after 20 minutes!

I was told United thoroughly deserved their lead and were playing nice controlled football and not letting Miramar near the ball. They continued to do this and it wasn't long before a shot from outside the area was diverted past the Miramar keeper to make it 4-0.

With the half time score being 4-0, there is always the chance the 2nd half becomes a damp squib. However the 1st round game between these teams saw Wellington United win 4-3 after being 3-1 down. That was Miramar's  last loss and in the last couple of weeks they had beaten Palmerston North Marist 7-1 and knocked Napier City Rovers out of the Chatham Cup with a 4-3 win. So they can score goals and they wouldn't have been happy to be 4-0 to a team playing under the banner of their traditional rivals.However it was only 5 minutes into the 2nd half when they found themselves 5-0 down after Supreet Singh scored from the penalty spot.
Miramar's Dan Clarke dives the wrong way from Surpreet Singh's penalty

The game started to get a lot more physical and some robust challenges were flying in from both sides, although Miramar's Ben Harris seemed to be coping a lot more attention than others. There were a couple of challenges that the ref waved play on which incensed Miramar, who were getting more vocal in their complaints. There was an amusing moment when a Miramar defender complained to the Assistant Referee, with no apparent sense of irony at being in a defence that was 5-0 down with about 35 minutes still to play, that the referee was having a horror performance!

Miramar weren't actually playing that badly, it was just Wellington (Phoenix) United were playing much better, maybe the A-League players starting pre-season training has helped the Weenix raise their intensity.

Some "heated" discussions, while Oliver Sail seems to stick his head up Andy Bevin's behind!
A Wellington (Phoenix) United handball in the penalty area led to a bit of pushing and shoving and heated discussions between the players. Once it settled down Miramar's Ben Harris scored from the spot to make it 5-1

Wellington (Phoenix) United's Oliver Sail turn to dive the wrong way
With the challenges flying in, the yellow cards started to come out and it seemed inevitable that sooner or later someone would get a red card and it was Wellington (Phoenix) United's captain Justin Gulley who saw red after a late tackle from behind saw him pick up a second yellow card with about 15 minutes to go.

Wellington (Phoenix) United making the long walk after being sent off
Miramar Rangers and Wellington United have always been big rivals and this was Wellington's traditional derby clash. However these days it's not quite the same with Wellington United effectively being Wellington Phoenix Academy, the only concession to Wellington United seems to be the name and the badge (smaller than the Phoenix one) that is on their shirts. Even Wellington United's older Dutch supporters, who were almost a guaranteed presence in the past didn't bother to turn up. But still the record books will show the score as Miramar Rangers 1 Wellington United 5

Miramar's Dan Clarke tips the ball over the bar
George Milne (Miramar) & Joe Bell (W(P)U)

Andy Bevin (Miramar) discussing the weather with keeper Oliver Sail
Now he seems to be asking him for a dance