A Phoenix player fouls a Canterbury United player The JourneyFan

Wellington Phoenix Reserves 3 Canterbury United 5
ISPS Handa Premiership
Dave Farrington Park, Wellington
Attendance : a pitiful 75!

Hopefully none of the Wellington Phoenix players have a dog or will be getting one anytime soon, as they can't hold a lead - boom boom. Yes bad joke but when you twice lead by two goals in a game and still lose you are going to get jokes the quality of your defence!

The Wellington Phoenix Reserves (Weenix) have been in the Premiership for four seasons now and their season's tend to follow a very similar pattern. 
  • Start strongly and surprise a couple of teams
  • Drop off a bit before a small resurgence
  • Drop off a lot towards the end of the season and suffer a blowout
The blowout comes around this time of the season and involves a hammering at home. In 2014-15 it was Auckland City that beat them 7-0, 2015-16 Team Wellington had a 6-1 win, last season Hawke's Bay United won 7-2 and last weekend it was Eastern Suburbs turn to run riot as they won 7-1.

This game strangely seemed to mirror the Weenix season pattern.
  • Start strongly

Sean Liddicoat (CU) & Logan Rogerson (WPX) The JourneyFan

When the toss was made I made what I thought would be a sensible decision and headed down to the end Canterbury were attacking, telling fellow photographers that there would be more goals at that end. It took all of one minute for me to be proved wrong when the Weenix's Logan Rogerson opened the scoring! Nine minutes later Willem Ebbinge made it 2-0 and I was still at the Canterbury United end! Two minutes later the Weenix had the ball in the net again but it was from an offside position.
  •  Drop off before a small resurgence
As the game went on, the Weenix started to drop off a bit and this allowed Canterbury to pull a goal back in the 41st minute when George King broke down the left flank and smashed a shot into the top of the goal, which gave debutante keeper, Tando Velaphi, no chance.
Just after half time, Willem Ebbinge restored the two goal lead for the Weenix, although this resurgence didn't last long as two minutes later Velaphi bought down Stephen Hoyle and captain Gary Ogilvie slotted home the resultant penalty. 

Phoenix debutante keeper Tando Velaphi The JourneyFan

  • drop off again and suffer a blowout
And then the blowout started, although it wasn't particularly bad, it was more Canterbury starting to dominate and not getting shut down as quickly as they had been in the first half. Canterbury United's top scorer, Stephen Hoyle leveled up the scores in the 59th minute with his eighth of the season, before Tom Schwarz made it 4-3 with eight minutes to go. Gary Ogilvie got his second and completed the scoring in the second minute of added time and left the Weenix bench wondering how they had been 2-0 and 3-1 ahead and still managed to lose 5-3.

So there it was the Weenix's season summed up in one game, which was actually a pretty decent game to watch, it's just a shame that only 75 people bothered to turn up. True the weather wasn't great, but Team Wellington would have double that in the same conditions.

It doesn't help that the Phoenix don't seem to give the league any promotion. There is a regular email sent out to Phoenix members on Fridays, the most recent one didn't even mention this game. I'm sure there would have been a few fans that would have come along to check out the new keeper and support the reserves. Even when you get to the ground simple things you expect like a ground announcer doesn't exist, which is needed as the team list on the back of the program, bears very little resemblance to who is actually on the pitch.  Given how hard the Phoenix fought to get a team into the National League and that they are New Zealand's only professional club, you'd hope they would go about support and promotion of it in a professional way, but in reality the way they act and treat the league makes them seem like the least professional club in it, the fans and players in the academy deserve better.