Western United has been knocked out of the FFA Cup, losing 1-0 to Wellington Phoenix at GMHBA Stadium on Tuesday night.
John Aloisi named an entirely changed XI from the win against Melbourne City on Saturday, with Ben Collins, Daniel Di Francesco and Christian Theoharous all making their Western United debuts.
There was a first start in Green and Black for Nikolai Topor-Stanley, who took the captain’s armband, while the like of Ryan Scott, Luke Duzel and Jerry Skotadis had opportunities to impress.
The bench was filled with would-be debutants, barring Ayom Majok, and included Sabit James who has been a regular with the senior side in pre-season.
United was quickest out of the blocks, controlling the early possession and creating a great chance within the first five minutes with Dylan Pierias’ left-footed shot beaten away by Oliver Sail.
Adisu Bayew had an effort blocked soon after and Sail was called upon again to claw away a towering header from a corner by Nikolai Topor-Stanley.
As both sides settled into the contest, United continued to have the majority of the ball, with Bayew a particularly regular outlet down the right-hand side.
Pierias nearly had another opportunity when Sail let a long ball go past him in the box, but the Phoenix keeper regathered himself to claim the ball before United’s No.5 could poke it in the net.
Despite United having most of the play, Wellington struck first via a bullet header from Ben Waine with the visitors’ only shot on target of the half.
United went in search of an equaliser and continued to push, with Nicolas Milanovic coming closest just before half-time, but Sail was equal to his long-range drive.
Wellington had most of the early part of the second half on their terms, and Ben Collins was needed to make a superb challenge to stop Waine adding a second goal.
James came off the bench to make his Western United debut, and was immediately in the thick of the action as he was inches away from threading Pierias through for a one-on-one.
The game began to open up in the last 15 minutes as United went in pursuit of a leveller, with Milanovic unlucky not to score as his deflected effort was just tipped round the post by Sail.
Pierias went close again, hitting the side netting in the final 10 minutes, but it was to be one of those nights for United as the Club bowed out of the FFA Cup.