Central’s Premier Cup Team – Manchester 2008

Central’s Premier Cup Team – Manchester 2008

nike cup
Central United travelled to England for the Manchester United Nike Premier Cup tournament on Friday 25th July.


Central United completed their participation in the 2008 Manchester United Premier Cup with two wins from two on Day 3 at the tournament.

First up was San Diego Surf, the American champions. Central took the lead early through captain Thomas Spragg only to concede a goal shortly after. The second half saw Spragg add a second as Central took control of the match. Unable to convert their advantage with a third goal which would have killed off the game, disaster struck right opn the final whistle with the Americans snatching a late equaliser. This sent the match into a penalty shoot-out. Central who had spent a great deal of time pre-tournament preparing for this possibility made no mistake when it counted. All five of their penalty takers converted and it was left to goalkeeper Alex Carr to provide the heroics with the all-important save that saw Central United claim their first scalp of the tournament.

Their final game was the play-off for 17th and 18th position and Central made no race of this match-up against Villa 2000 of Indonesia. Goals to Matthew Rowlands, Joseph Dan-Tyrell and captain Spragg saw Central run out comprehensive winners by 3-0.

Thus, the team finished with a record of 2 wins, 2 draws and 2 losses to claim 17th spot (of 20) at this prestigious Under 15 international tournament. This is the same position the club finished in last year however significant progress has been made by the fact two draws were attained this year in what was a fiercely contested group phase.

FC Atlas, who topped Central’s group take on Brazilian team Fluminense overnight in the Final to be played at Manchester United’s famous Old Trafford Stadium. (This will be played as a curtainraiser to the senior pre-season friendly between Manchester United and Juventus).


Middlesbrough FC 0 – 0 Central United
Central United 0 – 2 FC Atlas
Central United 0 – 0 Supersport United 0
Juventus 3 Central United 0
Central United 5 San Diego Surf 3 (pens)
Central United 3 Villa 2000 0

Results and Tables


Central United finished Day 2 at the Manchester United Premier Cup with another draw and a loss to complete their group play at the tournament.

First up they took on the South African champions SuperSport United. On the eve of the match the team was spurred on by two messages of encouragement from senior Central United players and former South African internationals Keryn Jordan and Grant Young. Jordan is a former SuperSport player and both relayed their confidence in their young clubmates’ ability to win this matchup.

The match itself was dominated from start to finish by Central as SuperSport could not manage to get a shot on goal for the entire game. Alas, Central’s inability to finish the numerous chances they created ultimately cost them and the final score ended up 0-0.

Only an hour after finishing their opening match, a peculiarity of the draw saw Central face Italian giants Juventus next, a team who was playing their first game of the day. This match was always going to be a huge challenge for the Kiwi boys and so it proved. The Italians were big, powerful and exuded class all over the pitch. It is no surprise they are one of tournament’s hot favourites and a tiring Central side fought bravely before sucumming 0-3.

Central finished in 5th place (of 5) in their final group standings. They were beaten to 4th spot on goal difference (one goal) by SuperSport and will now play-off for 17th – 20th position in the tournament.

In a very tough group their two-draw and two-loss record was highly credible and further proof that Kiwi footballers are becoming more and more competitive on the world stage. Tournaments such as the Manchester United Premier Cup are absolutely vital in providing the necessary experience to further develop our talented youngsters.

As head coach Paul Posa commented “They will have learned more in the last week football-wise than we could ever teach them in a year back home”.

Central’s first play-off match tonight is against American champions San Diego Surf.


Central United has ended the first day at the Manchester United Premier Cup with a draw and a loss from their opening two matches.
Earlier the team had been drawn in a “Group of Death” alongside Italian superclub Juventus, English champions Middlesbrough, top Mexican side FC Atlas and SuperSport United, currently ranked the top club in South Africa.

First up was Middlesbrough and though Central began nervously they quickly gained in confidence as the game unfolded. The match-up between the champion under 15 team from Australasia and England’s best club side proved to be an extremely tight affair with both teams ultimately cancelling each other out. The final score, nil-all, was an excellent start to the tournament and the overall performance impressed many onlookers, not least the head coach of Middlesbrough, who admitted to being “very surprised and impressed” with the Kiwis’ efforts at the conclusion of the match.

Central’s second match was against FC Atlas, one of Mexico’s largest clubs. The Mexicans, who drew with Juventus in their opening match, are one of the favourites to claim the title at this years tournament. Their quick passing and highly skilled technique was quickly evident. However for long periods of the match this was more than matched by the superb physical conditioning and tactical organisation of the Central team. The final scoreline, 2-0 to Atlas, did not truely reflect the closeness of this encounter. The Kiwi side who created a number of chances to score themselves provided a far tougher opponent than most expected for a Mexican side who have publicly stated they have the team to take out this years Premier Cup.

Final group matches to be played on Day 2 (overnight NZ time) will see Central United firstly take on SuperSport before their final match in pool play against the giants from Turin, Juventus – the most successful club in the history of Italian football.

Central United – New Zealand/Australia
Middlesbrough – England
Atlas – Mexico
Juventus – Italy
Supersport United – South Africa

Central United 2 – Nottingham Forest 0

Central United rounded off their preparation for the Manchester Finals with their best result of the tour to date. Goals to captain Thomas Spragg and striker Fabrizio Tavano sealed the victory which Coach Paul Posa descibed as “a very good team performance.”
The squad now returns to Manchester to prepare for the Finals tournament. The eagerly awaited competition draw will take place on the eve of the the tournament which commences this Sunday 3 August and concludes on Thursday 7 August (NZ time).

31/07/08 – Day 5 on tour – from Physio Katherine Ludbrook
Always easier to report positive News. Brilliant sunny day in Nottingham.
The greeting from Jim “club representative” as we arrived ensured we felt almost completely at home.
The academy complex consists of 8 pitches 4 grass, four artificial and indoor facilities, maintained by an annual budget from the FA of signif pounds sterling.
Nots showered us with kindness, Training Diaries, loan hydration bin, cups and after match packed lunches, ice for our bin and all. Then they also gave us a win.
I will leave it up to the experts to describe the game. The Notts V Sunderland friendly we made it to had a walk up crowd of 12534 people. Sunderland led 1 nil at the death when fatigue overwhelmed us and we left the game only to turn the bus around to go back get Peter and Jackie Martin.
Eyes and mind are drifting as I comtemplet the move tomorrow to Nike part of this tour.


Blackburn Rovers 4 – Central United 0

The Blackburn team was made up of players aged 16 years old – one year older than their Central United counterparts. They were a very strong side whose physical maturity and presence provided a tough workout for the Central boys. The match, played over 3 x 25 minute periods, gave Coaches Paul Posa and Steve Sarich another opportunity to give their squad a valuable hit out in the leadup to the Manchester Finals. The squad is in good spirits, is injury-free and now travels to play Nottingham Forest (another team of 16 year olds) in their final warm-up game (to be played Thursday morning NZ time).

Former Central United player Cameron Lindsay who represented the club at last years Finals tournament in Manchester and subsequently signed for Blackburn did not play against his former clubmates in the match above.

Reebok Stadium,
home of Bolton Wanderers.

Thomas Spragg
and Matt Kolose

Matt Kolose and Carlos Timo

Chadderton Park 1 Central United 7from Peter Martin
Central United’s Manchester United “Nike” Premier Cup bound under fifteens began their pretournamnet buildup with a solid win against a local Oldham side. The oppisition, Chadderton Park are a junior side linked to United, who were a mix of u15 and u14 boys.

The game started very well for Central with Tom Spragg netting after just 15 seconds, he reacted quickest to a parried effort to tuck the ball home. Chadderton Park responded quickly, and after a heavy challenge on Goal Keeper Alex Carr the ball broke free to their center forward who finished well.

After this response Central took control of the game and went ahead through a Fabrizio Tavano penalty, awarded for a foul on Joseph Dan-Tyrell. James Routledge scored, Keith Henry grabbed a double and Tavono scored two more to complete a hattrick in the 7-1 final scoreline.

Monday afternoon UK time the boys travel to train at Bolton Wanderers and on Tuesday evening they will play against Blackburn Rovers youth before completing their pre tournament buildup with a game against Nottingham Forrest.

28/07/08 – Manchester – from Physio Katherine Ludbrook
A training day today,
We travelled to reebok Stadiumcapacity 28,000 to drink in the atmosphere of a “boutique premier league club”
Lots of photos and much we admired in the facility.Of partic interest they have knitted an artificial carpet into the grass surface to support the life of heavy traffic areas on the pitch, it is about 15% artificial . The technology from Holland cost half a million quid to install.All for 19 games of football a year although our guide did say the reserves get to use it occasionally.
Then an hour training on a small sided artificial pitch.
Finally shaking off the effects of our travel to the UK.
Tomorrow Blackburn Rovers game……
Seriously hot and humid here even the Croatians are getiing sunburnt!!
until tomorrow evening

28/07/08 – Manchester – from Physio Katherine Ludbrook
Chadderton Park 1 Central United 7
Tight timeframe to the first game as jetlag and timezones kicked in. I was ready for the game at 2am and well over it by 10:15am kickoff. Outstanding supporters stepped up to help recovery protocol along, special mention George Dan Tyrell, Denis Lausev and Sam Brind Gent, Lisa Spragg.
Boys turned tight time to warmup into fabulous Haka inspiring and according to the overheard comment from host team changing room post game ” it made me nearly shit ma pants coach”
First goal 15-30 sec after KO Thomas Spragg. Chatterton return score shortly after 1all then boys got going
1 penalty and 2 goals Fabrizo Tavona
1 goal James Ruthford
2 Goals Keith Henry – shoot out they missed 2 goals all our boys scored.
First real test tomorrow against Blackburn Rovers.
Over and Out Katherine

27/07/08 – Manchester – from Physio Katherine Ludbrook
Apart from eyes like a parched beached whale on a desert island (see youtube Beached Bro) we are all present and correct.
Paul and Stipe off on 30 min jog with the boys then swim meal and bed. Watched All Blacks without interest at the parents apartments after long dry hot meander around the streets on our arrival at 7:30am, we are very central. Tour guide advised us 50,000 people descend on Manchester typically on Friday and Saturday night so cutting this short to buy joblot of earplugs for tonight as serious discos all close to this venue. Boys very tired but upbeat. more later


Central’s shoot-out win books return to Manchester
April 13, 2008

AUCKLAND – Central United’s U-15 footballers will once again travel to England to take on the world’s biggest clubs after winning the Manchester United Premier Cup (MUPC) Pacific Finals in Melbourne on Sunday.

Goalkeeper Alex Carr was the hero in the final, saving three Newcastle penalties in the 3-1 shootout win as Central booked a return to August’s MUPC World Finals.

“It’s huge,” Carr said, “we haven’t even begun to comprehend it yet.”

“It’ll be tough over there, but there’s no pressure on us. We’ll just go hard.”

Despite entering the final as defending champions, Central were heavy underdogs for the final after losing to their Newcastle opponents 0-4 in pool play.

Yet the young Aucklanders dominated much of the final, although needed a late equaliser from Joseph Dan-Tyrell to send the game into extra time.

Central are the sixth team to qualify for the annual 20 team World Finals behind hosts Manchester United, Juventus, Eintracht Frankfurt, Middlesbrough and Audax Italiano (Chile).

Last year, Central squared off against footballing giants Sao Paulo and Everton before finishing 17th, with Cameron Lindsay landing a four-year scholarship at English Premier League club Blackburn Rovers.

Central opened their account with a 1-0 win over Sydney club Marconi on Saturday, but ended the first day with the embarrassing 0-4 loss to Newcastle.

A 1-1 draw with Melbourne’s Altona on Sunday left Central sweating on the on day’s final pool match between Newcastle and Marconi for a place in the final, but a 1-1 draw in that match was enough to send the Aucklanders through.

Manchester United Premier Cup – Pacific Finals, Melbourne

Day 1 – Saturday April 12
Central United 1 (Bryce Felton) Marconi 0
Central United 0 Newcastle 4

Day 2 – Sunday April 13
Central 1 (James Routleg)Altona 1
Central 1 (Joseph Dan-Tyrell) Newcastle 1
(1-1 a.e.t, Central win 3-1 on penalties)


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