Lachlan Scott marked his debut with a brace and Mitch Nichols scored a 25 yard thunderbolt to defeat Wellington 3-2 in Campbelltown tonight.
On an awful night in front of 3,212 fans Wellington took best to the wintry, rain soaked conditions early on. Perhaps spurred by the trio of away supporters with the weather feeling just like home, Wellington came storming out of the blocks as they benefited from their heavier pre-season schedule. After only 9 minutes the Phoenix took the lead in fortunate circumstances, Hamish Watson getting lucky as his mis-hit shot looped off his standing foot and over the stranded Andrew Redmayne. Kosta Barbarouses began his pro career in Wellington, his second stint began with a goal on debut. He combined with Matthew Ridenton to latch onto a ball behind the Wanderers defence, before beating Neville then chipping over Redmayne.
The Wanderers were back in the contest 5 minutes from the break, as young gun Lachlan Scott, handed a Wanderers first team debut after excelling at NPL 2 level, scored a real poachers effort after Steven Lustica had knocked the ball across the 6 yard box. Lustica was making his debut for Western Sydney, and was immense in the first half after being deployed in an unfamiliar left wing role he created havoc and was unlucky to not score a goal himself before he exited the contest in the second half.
Once the second half began the momentum was all Wanderers, and it didn't take long for them to draw level. Scott popped up once again in the 47th minute. Wellington couldn't clear their lines from a Scott Neville cross, the ball fell for Lustica, who tapped a very short pass to Nichols, the attacking midfielders first touch setup a simple tap-in for the young striker who couldn't miss from 6 yards.
There was only going to be one winner after the Wanderers equalised, and it was the imperious Mitch Nichols who put his side in front. Running at the defence, Nichols turned to goal, took two touches before unleashing a trademark screamer from 25 yards out, it gave the keeper no chance at all. Wellington looked dead and buried and despite showing the fight typical of any Ernie Merrick side, they created few chances as the Wanderers strangled the tempo of the match.
Western Sydney will go into the pots for the Round of 16, along with sides such as Brisbane Strikers, Melbourne City, but not the Central Coast Mariners, who conceded a 40 yard wondergoal in stoppage time to lose 2-1 to Green Gully. Several big name teams will be in action tomorrow night and against on the 10th of August.