Wellington striker Kwabena Appiah believes Paul Izzo will bounce back after the goalkeeper’s error gifted the Phoenix a 1-0 FFA Cup victory over the Mariners.
Appiah was on hand to tuck the ball in after Izzo, 20, miscontrolled a back pass on 17 minutes in the round of 32 clash at Central Coast Stadium.
The goal was the only thing that separated the two teams at full-time, after Roy O’Donovan missed a penalty, which would have tied the game up 1-1, late in the second half.
Izzo’s first starting game for the Mariners, after joining Adelaide United, turned out to a nightmare but Appiah had sympathy for the keeper.
“It was an unfortunate one for Izzo, I saw the opportunity was there and took the gamble and pounced on the chance,” the forward said.
“He’s a top quality keeper who’s one of the best keepers for his age in the country, so I’m sure he will bounce back in his next game.”
Appiah played 55 minutes on Tuesday night before being replaced. The 20-year old, who moved to the Phoenix from Western Sydney Wanderers in February, was delighted with the Cup victory.
“It was a very hard-fought win,” he admitted.
“We found the game well; defensively we improved on what we’ve been working on. I’m very happy with the win. We are serious about this tournament so it’s good to go through to the round of 16.
“It was a good feeling to score. The first official goal for the club and with hard work and persistence, it’ll be the first of many.”
Appiah enjoyed being back on the Central Coast, where he won the National Youth League back in 2012 with the Mariners under coach Tony Walmsley.
“It was good being back at the club, a lot has changed but everyone that was still there welcomed me in with warm arms,” he said.
“I caught up with Tony Walmlsey for a bit before the game and had a few jokes. The Mariners fans were great last night, coming out in numbers for an FFA Cup match.”
Appiah was paired up front on Tuesday with Fijian marksman Roy Krishna, with support from the likes of Michael McGlinchey and Roly Bonevacia in behind.
“I’m finding it good, Roy’s a fantastic talent and with time we will only get better playing upfront with each other,” he said.
“It’s unbelievable to play with these two. Mikey and Roly are high quality players. As a striker that’s what you want, quality service.”
Wellington are yet to bring a replacement for Nathan Burns, but Appiah is putting his hand up to replace the Socceroo striker.
“If I receive the confidence and the backing of the coach, then I’ll do my upmost to be that man,” he said.
The Phoenix has been drawn to face Melbourne City in the next round of the FFA Cup. The Kiwi team will travel to Melbourne for the last 16 encounter.
Appiah believes the fellow A-League side will be a “massive challenge”.
“They’ve recruited unbelievably well during the off-season,” he said.
“They’ve got quality all over the park. It’ll be good playing my mates and former teammates Azza (Aaron Mooy) and Kuzi (Steve Kuzmanovski).”