Wanderers open season with impressive comeback

NRMA Insurance Western Sydney Wanderers have shown their powers of recovery yet again, coming from two goals down to stun Wellington Phoenix 3-2 in their Westfield FFA Cup Round of 32 clash at Campbelltown Stadium on Tuesday night.

19-year-old academy product Lachlan Scott bagged two goals on debut before Mitch Nichols won the game with a superb strike from 25 yards.

Mitch Nichols Celebrate FFA Cup Wellington Phoenix

 
After becoming the first Australian team in history to win a domestic game after facing a three goal deficit in last season’s Semi-Final against the Brisbane Roar, the Wanderers quickly found themselves in trouble after goals from Hamish Watson and new Phoenix signing Kosta Barbarouses.
 
Only nine minutes in, Hamish Watson opened the scoring after running onto the pass of Michael McGlinchey to beat Andrew Redmayne. The keeper appeared to be victim to a strange deflection off the McGlinchey’s miskick.
 
It would not be unkind to call it a rusty start by the Wanderers as ex-Melbourne Victory players Gui Finkler and Barbarouses combined to almost double Wellington’s lead after a brilliantly placed pass by the former.
 
But it didn’t take long for the second goal to come as Barbarouses expertly chipped past Redmayne when he beat Scott Neville down the right flank following a diagonal ball from Matthew Ridenton.
 
Just when it looked as though the Nix may outrun the Red & Black, a 19-year-old on debut turned the match on its head as Lachlan Scott bundled in a Steven Lustica cross at the back post.

Lachlan Scott FFA Cup Wellington Phoenix

 
From there, the Wanderers took control and were unlucky to not level things up before half-time when Lustica’s shot tamely fell into the arms of Glen Moss.
 
If the Phoenix edged Wanderers in the first half, it was the complete opposite scenario in the second as the Red & Black went on the rampage.
 
Only three minutes into the second stanza and the home team were level as Scott grabbed his second when he tapped home a low cross from Mitch Nichols at the back post after a clever bit of interplay down the right side of the Wanderers attack.
 
A very impressive Lustica played a crucial role in both goals as he also made a memorable debut in the unfamiliar role of winger.

Steve Lustica FFA Cup Wellington Phoenix

 
The comeback was complete as Mitch Nichols fired a superb strike into the top right corner from 25 yards on 70 minutes.
 
Head coach Tony Popovic said the slow start was to be expected as the side was short of match fitness and sharpness.
 
“I’m really delighted with how we came back and finished the game so strongly,” said Popovic.
 
The boss also reserved praise for the impressive Lachlan Scott who scored 15 goals in 13 games in the PS4 NPL2 competition last season.
 
“It was a big jump for the young boy, but he deserved his opportunity,” explained Popovic.
 
“He plays with no fear and it’s always nice to see a young player come through at your club. Hopefully he’ll be a real threat in the Hyundai A-League.”

Mitch Nichols FFA Cup Wellington Phoenix

 
Western Sydney Wanderers FC 3 (Scott 40’/48’, Nichols 70’)
Wellington Phoenix 2 (Watson 8’, Barbarouses 31’)
Crowd: 3,212 @ Campbelltown Stadium, Leumeah
Referee: Stephen Lucas
 
Western Sydney Wanderers FC starting line-up: 20.Andrew Redmayne (gk), 4.Nikolai Topor-Stanley (c), 5.Brendan Hamill, 6.Mitch Nichols, 7.Steven Lustica (2.Shannon Cole 73’), 8.Dimas Delgado, 12.Scott Neville, 15.Kearyn Baccus, 16.Jaushua Sotirio, 21.Jonathan Aspropotamitis, 23.Lachlan Scott (11.Brendon Santalab 76’)
 
Substitutes not used: 1.Jerrad Tyson (gk), 13.Bruno Piñtares, 14.Jumpei Kusukami
Yellow cards: Baccus 21’
Red cards: Nil
 
Wellington Phoenix starting line-up: 1.Glen Moss (gk), 4.Roly Bonevacia, 6.Dylan Fox, 7.Guilherme Finkler, 9.Kosta Barbarouses, 10.Michael McGlinchey, 17.Vince Lia, 19.Tom Doyle, 22.Andrew Durante (c), 23.Matthew Ridenton, 26.Hamish Watson (8.Alex Rodriguez 68’)
 
Substitutes not used: 16.Louis Fenton, 24.Logan Rogerson, 26.Hamish Watson, 30.Oliver Sail (gk), 32.Sarpreet Singh
Yellow cards: Bonevacia 59’, Finkler 63’, Barbarouses 74’, Durante 88’
Red cards: Nil