Western Sydney Wanderers FC have gone down 3-0 to Wellington Phoenix in a friendly match on Friday afternoon.
The friendly fixture was an opportunity for the Red & Black to get some match fitness with the game broken into two 45 minute halves, plus an additional 30 minute period.
The Wanderers fielded a mix of Academy and first-team players for the first 60 minutes with the likes of Jordan O'Doherty, Matthew Jurman, and Mitchell Duke playing a starring role for the senior players.
Kosta Grozos, Lochlan Constable, and Tate Russell were the Academy players that started with the first team whilst new goalkeeper signing Tristan Prendergast also made his starting debut for the club.
The Wanderers first chance of the match was a free-kick at the edge of the box after O'Doherty was brought down. The midfielder stepped up to take the chance but it wasn't enough to rattle Wellington's keeper Stefan Marinovic.
It didn't take long for the Pheonix to go into the lead with Jaushua Sotirio's powerful header evading Prendergast at the near post.
Minutes later, Prendergast was called into action again by Sotirio, tipping a long-range strike over the crossbar.
Wellington then went on to double their lead after some chaos and miscommunication in the box.
Phoenix's Matt Steinman had the final say after Reno Piscopo's corner saw Luke DeVere, David Ball, and Gary Hooper all get in on the action before Steinman guided the ball across the line to make it 2-0.
The onslaught from Wellington continued and a crunching tackle from Jurman on Sotirio gave away a foul.
Wellington took the free-kick in a dangerous position and Piscopo's curved shot found DeVere who headed past Prendergast to make it 3-0.
It wasn't over yet for the Red & Black who had two back-to-back chances to regain some momentum.
A pinpoint corner kick from Grozos to McGowan saw the towering defender's header into the far corner saved. Whilst O'Doherty tried his luck from distance, striking from the edge of the box straight at the keeper.
McGowan was also in on the action at the other end, tripping Wellington's David Ball inside the box, handing the opposition an unnecessary penalty.
All eyes were on Prendergast who stepped up for the occasion, making a vital save in the bottom right corner to deny the spot-kick.
In what was a chaotic first half dominated by Wellington, the Red & Black came out of the blocks firing in the second half.
Russell combined well with both Duke and Kwame Yeboah to create a number of chances, but none were enough for the Wanderers to breakthrough.
The 60th minute marked the changing of the guard with the entire starting team substituted for the next generation of players from the Wanderers Academy.
Alex Bonetig, Ali Auglah, Fabian Monge, Jarrod Carluccio, Mathieu Cordier, Mark Natta, Mohamed Adam, Noah Pagden, Oliver Kalac, Stefan Nikolic and Tass Mourdoukoutas all featured in the final 60 minutes of the friendly.
The young guns held their own against Wellington with Adam, Auglah, and Nikolic causing havoc for Phoenix's defence.
Auglah in particular was causing Wellington some stress, firing a spectacular long-range shot that Marinovic just got a hand to.
It was once again end-to-end action with Adam constantly weaving his way through Wellington's defense while at the other end, Pagden and Mourdoukoutas were making important tackles to keep the Wanderers in the game.
Goalkeeper Oliver Kalac also made a heroic double save in the final minutes to ensure that the young guns did not concede in the entire 60 minutes of play.
Despite the next generation standing tall, creating chances and defending hard, the friendly match against Wellington wrapped up 3-0 with all focus now on the return of the Hyundai A-League on Wednesday 22 July.
Wanderers starting side: Tristan PRENDERGAST (GK), Dylan McGowan, Daniel GEORGIEVSKI, Matthew JURMAN, Mitchell DUKE, Jordan O'DOHERTY, Kosta GROZOS, Kwame YEBOAH, Tate RUSSELL, Patrick ZIEGLER and Lochlan CONSTABLE.
Substitutes: Alex BONETIG, Ali AUGLAH, Fabian MONGE, Jarrod CARLUCCIO, Mathieu CORDIER, Mark NATTA, Mohamed ADAM, Noah PAGDEN, Oliver KALAC (GK), Stefan NIKOLIC and Tass MOURDOUKOUTAS.