Football: Debutant's heroics sink Wellington Phoenix

Western Sydney's Mitch Nichols capped his team's comeback efforts with a game winning goal. Photo / Getty Images
Western Sydney's Mitch Nichols capped his team's comeback efforts with a game winning goal. Photo / Getty Images

Western Sydney Wanderers coach Tony Popovic believes he's uncovered a rough diamond after teenage striker Lachlan Scott scored twice on debut to earn last season's A-League grand finalists a 3-2 comeback win over Wellington Phoenix.

Scott netted either side of halftime to cancel out early goals from the Phoenix's Hamish Watson and Kostas Barbarouses.

Mitch Nichols cracked an impressive winner as the Wanderers reached the Round of 16, but all the focus was on the 19-year-old youth team graduate.

"He trains and plays with no fear," Popovic said of the Wollongong-raised Scott. Hopefully this is just the start of a lot more, and that he can have a big future at this club.

"We can develop him a lot more physically and hopefully he will be a real threat in the A-League.

"It is a big jump for the young boy, but he has done well in the youth team and deserved his opportunity." There is a lot of work to come [for him] but I'm very happy that in a competitive match against a good team, that he could do so well."

The Wanderers started slowly at Campbelltown Stadium, but dominated possession and were worthy winners to advance to the Round of 16.

While it was all smiles for Popovic, there was humiliation for Central Coast Mariners who became just the second A-League club to lose against semi-professional opposition.

The Mariners, looking to recover from a disastrous 2015/16 A-League season, looked set for a scrappy win against Green Gully only to concede twice inside the final five minutes.

The Mariners went ahead early through new signing Blake Powell but Green Gully, led by former Melbourne Victory stalwart Rodrigo Vargas, came back strongly.

The Melbourne-based side, who briefly featured in the former National Soccer League during the mid 1980s, went ahead in spectacular fashion in added time through a stunning 40-metre effort from Liam Boland.

Melbourne City were made to work overtime to see off Floreat Athena 2-1 in Perth with Anthony Caceres scoring the winner after the local side briefly drew level.

Cup specialists Bentleigh Greens also advanced though they needed a 4-3 penalty shootout win to see off ten-man MetroStars, following a 3-3 draw in Adelaide.

The Round of 32 will continue on Wednesday evening headlined by Newcastle Jets hosting cup holders Melbourne Victory, while A-League champions Adelaide United head to Brisbane to tackle Redlands United.

- AAP

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