by Jeremy Ruane
Glenfield Rovers, fielded five ASB Premiership stars in their tie at Kiwitea Street, and when Richard Beard tapped home the rebound after Steven Holloway had hit the post in the fifth minute, it looked as if the Lotto Northern Premier League leaders were on their way to victory.
But Central United have a tremendous pedigree in the ASB Chatham Cup, having won it five times. And despite fielding a youth-laden side – five players are eligible for the NZ U-20 squad – bolstered by two ASB Premiership stars in Ivan Vicelich and Emiliano Tade, they fought their way back into the contest, with the Argentinian goal-getter netting the equaliser three minutes before half-time.
Central’s hopes suffered a setback, however, when Adam Mitchell was sent off on the hour for a professional foul just outside the penalty area. Rovers were unable to take advantage from the free-kick, but all the stars seemed to be lined up for the visitors when Tamati Williams saved Tade’s penalty five minutes later.
Even when Mike Gwyther had a goal disallowed for offside eighteen minutes from time, victory for the eleven men appeared likely, but their numerically challenged opponents had a shock in store for their table-topping counterparts – two, in fact.
The first saw Tade’s 86th minute shot take a deflection off AJ O’Toole to leave Williams beaten all ends up and hand Central the lead for the first time in the contest. Cue all-out assault from Glenfield as they sought a late equaliser, but it was all for nought.
For they were caught on the counter-attack in stoppage time, James Hoyt wrapping up a famous come-from-behind 3-1 victory for Central, who have now reached the ASB Chatham Cup quarter-finals in thirteen of the last eighteen years – a level of consistency and sustained achievement which money just can’t buy.
Central United 3 (E. Tade (42, 86), J. Hoyt (90)),
Glenfield Rovers 1 (R. Beard (5)) HT 1-1