National Youth League
Wellington Phoenix Youth (Weeweenix) 5 Team Wellington Youth 1
Saturday 29 October, 2016 @ Petone Memorial Att 180 or so

Stirling Sports Premiership
Team Wellington 1 Wellington Phoenix U20 (Weenix) 2
Sunday 30 October, 2016, @ Dave Farrington Park Att around 300

Time was I would have had a moan here about how these two games should have been played as a double header. However I never really thought about the practicalities of getting four squads of players into the small changing rooms at Dave Farrington Park, not to mention the officials, the extra time the club volunteers would need to put in, the extra bottle of gas to ensure the BBQ didn't run out and how many extra people would a double header actually attract? 

There were about 180 people at the youth league game on Saturday and around 300 at the Stirling Sports Premiership game on Sunday, so nearly 500 for two games, true there were a few people that went to both but I doubt a double header would have got much more than the 300 that turned up for Sunday's game.
Some of the 300 that turned up on Sunday The JourneyFan
The Wellington derby is a slightly strange beast these days, back in the old club based National League you always had at least 2 Wellington teams in the league and the derby games were keenly contested, especially between Wellington (Diamond) United & Miramar Rangers. These days while there are 2 Wellington teams, Team Wellington & Wellington Phoenix. Team Wellington began life as a sort of representative club for the region with backing from the large majority of Wellington clubs, and while their backing has changed they still have that wide support. Wellington Phoenix at this level are the A-League reserve  team and have the support of the region as well. I heard a kid at Petone Memorial exclaim he didn't care who won because they were both Wellington! Which really sums up this derby.

It was a weekend for the Phoenix, while the A-League team may not be bringing much joy at the moment, the performance of their reserve and academy teams was much more satisfying. Last season the academy team struggled with the bigger physical players they came up against and were often muscled of the ball as well the older players in the team found it frustrating playing with 14 & 15 year old's who wouldn’t always make the best decisions. Last seasons fixture between these teams (read about it here) was a good example where Team Wellington easily won 5-0.

Matthew Conroy (Weeweenix) shoots past TW's Shea Stapleton The JourneyFan
This season it was an odd game. Team Wellington had the majority of the possession and camped in the Weeweenix’s half, but perhaps showing the influence of the link up with Western Suburbs \ Ole Academy, while they play nice football and pass the ball around lots, they don't seem to like getting too close to the big 8ft x 8yd structure with a net at the end of the pitch and Weeweenix keeper Keegan Smith was never really troubled. The Weeweenix on the other hand while not having as much of the ball made the most of it when they did have it, they only had a couple of shots in the first half but went into the break deservedly 2-0 up. The 2nd half was more of the same the Weeweenix's solid defence and the taking of opportunities when they had them gave them a resounding 5-1 win. 
Sunday’s game saw defending champions Team Wellington looking for their first points and goals after a 4-0 drubbing by the team they defeated in last seasons final, Auckland City, the week before. While the Weenix were coming of a credible performance where they lost 2-1 to league newcomers, big spending Eastern Suburbs.
While the fans may support both teams, the players on the pitch were definitely feeling the extra edge you get in derby games, early on Team Wellington's Cam Howieson got upset at his shirt being pulled and pushed the offender to the ground, while the ref was telling him to calm down, Ben Harris was busy telling him to keep it up! This summed up the first 20 minutes, which included a couple of yellow cards, a bit of a fracas between the teams, some good officiating from referee Matt Conger who managed to keep a lid on the game boiling over (and miraculously didn't put Ben Harris' name in the book until the 80th minute), and the spell ended with a headed goal from Ben Harris. 
Ben Harris (TW) makes it 1-0 The JourneyFan
The rest of the half was a pretty even, albeit intense game and it was the Weenix players in particular, Joe Bell, that stood out. I would have loved to have told you about the rest of the game but unfortunately I had to go to work. I could have blagged it like a lot of newspapers do and been very brief about the 2nd half and I could have got away with it had it not been for the Phoenix's Max Mata, not only did he get an equaliser in the 76th minute but he also managed to bundle the ball across Team Wellington's goal line in the 92nd minute to give the Weenix a historic first ever win against Team Wellington.

One to watch : Weenix's impressive Joe Bell The JourneyFan

So a great weekend for the Phoenix reserve and academy teams and things are definitely looking up for both teams, hopefully some of this can rub off on the A-League team, who like the Team Wellington senior side are still looking for their 1st points of the season.



This weekends games

Saturday 5th November
National Youth League 
Team Wellington Youth v Hawke's Bay United Youth 
KO 11am Petone Memorial

Stirling Sports Premiership
Weenix v Tasman United 
KO 4:15pm Westpac Stadium

Wellington Phoenix v Newcastle Jets 
KO 7:35pm Westpac Stadium

Sunday 6th November
 National Women's League 
 Capital v Southern United
KO 2pm, Petone Memorial