Chatham Cup and Central United FC

Chatham Cup and Central United FC

In 1997 Central United came from behind in extra – time to win the Chatham Cup for the first time in a thrilling game against Napier City Rovers at Park Island Reserve in Napier.
In 1998 Central repeated the win beating Dunedin Technical 5-0 in a final played under lights at North Harbour Stadium.
2005 saw Central clinch their third cup win against a gallant Marist Palmerston North, again at North Harbour Stadium.
Move forward another 2 years to 2007 and Central secured it’s fourth Chatham Cup win at Kiwitea St. against Western Suburbs after extra time and an amazing penalty shoot-out that ended 10-9.
Central also reached the final of the cup in 2000 and 2001


Central’s Cup Of Joy
by Jeremy Ruane

One of the all-time-great Chatham Cup Final comebacks took place at Park Island on September 27, as Central United came from 2-0 down to beat Napier City Rovers 3-2 after extra time to win their first major honour.

Key to the final outcome was a twelve minute period of play around the hour mark, as three substitutions took place which altered the course of the game.

The first of them saw the introduction of Paul Urlovic to the fray in the 58th minute for Central. Roy Stanger, Napier’s coach, then pulled off the versatile Perry Cotton seven minutes later, to which United’s player-coach, Billy Harris, responded by taking himself off, in the process giving Mathew Urlovic licence to carve holes in Napier’s rearguard.

Prior to these sideline activities, Napier were in command, to the tune of 2-0, and Central’s hopes of a first-ever Chatham Cup win were fast disappearing. They began brightly enough – only the desperate defending of Andy Rennie prevented Wynton Rufer’s shot at an initially unguarded net from crossing the line in the seventh minute.

Scott Farrington was next to be denied by the All White stalwart three minutes later, before Napier finally began to find their feet, much to the delight of the largely local supporters. Keith Oliver, who went on to have a superb game in the heart of the home team’s midfield, went close after seventeen minutes, after a good build-up down the left featuring Cotton.

Rufer sent one flashing past the upright in the 25th minute, while on the half hour, Napier’s goalkeeper, Colin “‘Orrible” Hunwick, produced the first save of note in the match, a fine one-hander low to his left-hand upright to foil Ivan Vicelich, who had headed goalwards on receipt of a Terry Torrens free-kick.

As the game approached the break, Napier seemed to find another gear, for Central’s defence was suddenly forced to operate as if under siege. A timely tackle by Greg Uhlmann in the 37th minute denied Cotton in the act of shooting, and the former Scunthorpe United professional headed an Oliver corner over two minutes later.

Martin Akers was next to chance his arm, but Peter Evans, Central’s shot-stopper, did just that. He was powerless to prevent the recalled All White from opening the scoring in the 41st minute, however, Akers rising high on the far post to meet Cotton’s measured cross with a powerful header.

The same combination just failed to extend Napier’s lead seconds later, so “The Blues” advantage was just one goal at the interval. They soon extended it, but not before enduring a couple of scares. Torrens hit a screamer on the run from twenty yards which Hunwick did extremely well to save, while Rufer whipped a snapped volley over the top on the turn, on receipt of an Uhlmann header following a Michael Loftus corner.

Napier zoomed onto the attack again, but Evans proved himself equal to the 51st minute incident, much to Cotton’s frustration. The striker was put through by Oliver, only for Evans to parry his shot, then somehow divert the rebound over the crossbar with his legs.

The resulting corner was twice taken, and the clearance of the second effort found Oliver, twenty-five yards out from goal on the angle. From near the edge of the penalty area, he curled home a beauty into the top far corner of the net – 2-0.

Napier threatened to go to town at this point, with Tinoi Christie heading inches over, and Akers denied by Torrens’ goal-line clearance on the hour. But Cotton’s withdrawal in favour of the pacy Rupert Ryan seemed, somehow, to blunt Napier’s attack, and Central weren’t slow to take up the slack, particularly as they now boasted the more exciting forward line on the pitch.

The harnessing of the undoubted talents of Rufer with the huge potential of the Urlovic brothers gave Napier’s defence a major headache which, perhaps, the presence of Cotton could well have assisted with. But he was gone, so it up to Rennie and company to stem the red-chequered tide which now began pouring towards them with increasing regularity for the remaining twenty minutes.

The barriers were broken through twice in a minute with fifteen minutes remaining. The source of the first goal was Vicelich, making an adventurous run forward into Napier’s penalty area before teeing up Paul Urlovic, who gleefully hammered the ball into the roof of the net.

No sooner had Napier kicked off from this setbacl, they were picking the ball out of the net again. This time Mathew Urlovic was the architect, as down the right he strode. A pass inside for brother Paul, saw him sweep the ball across to the far post, where Rufer ghosted in to lift the ball over Hunwick for a most delicate equaliser.

Napier were shaken, but responded through Akers, who pounced on an Evans error in the 83rd minute, a blunder compounded by Uhlmann losing his footing at the vital moment. The goal was at the striker’s mercy, but he somehow curled his shot wide of the target.

Rufer and Warren Gilbertson exchanged efforts before the final whistle, while Central’s front trio were in unison again in stoppage time, only for Wayne Atkins to step in to clear the danger at the death.

A 2-2 draw at full-time meant that, for the first time since 1990, the Chatham Cup Final would see thirty minutes of extra-time played. The first fifteen minutes passed largely without incident, the legs of Evans denying a Dave Watson drive in the 98th minute. But Central had their tails up, and in the 106th minute, they hit the front.

The move which completed the scoring began near half-way. Mathew Urlovic, Matt Fowler and Jeff Keskic flummoxed Jason New and friends with some one-touch passing which left Fowler scampering away in pursuit of Urlovic’s through ball. He got to the byline and, despite Rennie’s presence, got the cross in. Paul Urlovic, who had moved to the near post, coolly clipped the ball over the despairing dive of Hunwick to give Central the lead.

Suddenly, Napier’s fans weren’t singing anymore!! Chants of “Central, Central” were now to the fore, as the “Red Chequers” held out for time. They almost didn’t make it, however, with first Ryan, then fellow substitute Ross Goodacre, going close. The latter’s effort was superbly stopped by Evans with time all but up. Seconds later, it was, and the cup was Central’s.

Central: Evans; Vicelich (booked, 116), Torrens (Vuksich, 98), Uhlmann; Fowler, Farrington, Hill, Keskic (booked, 11), Loftus (P. Urlovic, 58); Harris (M. Urlovic, 70), Rufer

Napier: Hunwick; Atkins, Watson (Goodacre, 98), Rennie (booked, 28), New; Gilbertson, Kennedy, Oliver, Christie (booked, 24) (Parker, 95); Akers, Cotton (Ryan, 65)

Referee: Steve Sargent (Wellington)

Scoring: Central: P. Urlovic (75, 106), W. Rufer (76)
Napier: M. Akers (41), K. Oliver (52)



Central’s Cup Runneth Over For Second Straight Year
by Jeremy Ruane

Central United maintained their grip on soccer’s Chatham Cup on September 19, the 1997 cup winners handing out a 5-0 thrashing to Dunedin Technical in the 1998 final under the North Harbour Stadium lights.

Three goals in the last eleven minutes killed off a gallant challenge from the southerners, who had proven to be quite a handful for the co-coached Central combination up to that point, a fact borne out by the final shot-count – 13-9 in United’s favour.

But if you don’t take your chances, you don’t win your matches, and Dunedin, unbeaten all season prior to this game, will be well aware that their inability to find the back of the net ultimately proved to be their downfall.

Unlike the majority of cup finals, this one began brightly, with Terry Torrens, later to be named the Man of the Match, sending a twenty-yard drive whistling past Rod Renfrew’s upright barely forty seconds after referee Bruce Grimshaw had blown his whistle to start the game.

The fleet-of-foot Noah Hickey supplied the next chance, but Paul Urlovic was unable to direct his sixth minute header wide of the well-positioned Renfrew, whose resulting clearance sparked a Dunedin attack which culminated in a splendid save from Ross Nicholson, as he flung himself to his right to deny Rodney Fleming.

Hickey was leading Hamish Gowans a merry dance in the early stages, and he broke clear down the left again in the fourteenth minute. Mathew Urlovic came steaming in at the far post as the All White’s low cross sizzled across the face of goal, and the striker only just failed to get the vital touch which would have given Central the lead.

Barely a minute had elapsed before the opening goal came to pass. Matt Fowler, impressive throughout, slid the ball through from the right for Paul Urlovic, scorer of two goals in the 1997 final. After scything into the penalty area, he opened his account in this match with an unerring fifteen yard drive into the bottom far corner of the net.

Former All White defender Graham Marshall has proved a hit since moving into the frontline at Dunedin Technical, and much of what was good about the southerners’ play in this game invariably involved the shaven-headed targetman. He it was who sparked Dunedin’s response to Urlovic’s strike five minutes later, surging through the middle before linking with David Johnston. His low cross found the overlapping Aaron McFarland in space with just Nicholson to beat, but his shot sailed over the crossbar, and Central’s three-man defence regrouped with some relief.

Another Hickey spurt, following some fine interplay by the Urlovic brothers, almost brought the speedster a goal in the 24th minute, his deft effort, struck with the outside of the right foot from near the byline, curling agonisingly across the face of the target, much to Renfrew’s relief.

This was Central’s last attack of note in the first half, the remainder of which saw Dunedin determinedly going about the task of prying open the cup holders’ rearguard. But Torrens and company repelled just about everything the southerners could throw at them, although the means Jason New used to curtail a Marshall surge in the 38th minute left a great deal to be desired – he was extremely fortunate to escape with just a lecture from Referee of the Year Grimshaw.

Two minutes prior to this, Marshall had found a way through Central’s defences, after Jeremy Seales’ delightful through ball had released Gowans down the right. He cut inside before floating in a teasing cross which picked out the inrushing Marshall, who had done well to avoid the offside trap. Due to the fast-approaching Nicholson, however, he snatched at the chance, and once again, the ball cleared the crossbar.

The second spell began with more Dunedin pressure, Fleming unleashing a snapshot into the midriff of Nicholson in the 48th minute. The cup holders’ response, five minutes later, saw them extending their lead.

Bruce Hill released Hickey down the left with the sort of through ball which any speedster would relish pursuing. The All White, playing in his first Chatham Cup Final, made the most of this chase, leaving his marker for dead as he latched onto the ball before cutting inside and drilling his shot underneath the falling Renfrew – 2-0.

It was do or die now for Dunedin, and they poured forward in search of the goal they needed to get back into the match. But try as they might, it would not come. A Johnston free-kick in the 55th minute picked out Nick Longley, whose looping header deceived Nicholson, only to hit the top of the crossbar.

Seconds later, Marshall charged through, only to be denied in the act of shooting by Torrens’ superbly timed recovering tackle. Darren Melville spurned a shooting chance in the 62nd minute, but was relieved to see McFarland steal in to take up the option, only for his shot to be deflected to safety.

Central came back, Hill and Paul Urlovic combining to release Mathew Urlovic on one of his languid runs at goal. Seales came roaring back to emulate Torrens’ tackle on Marshall some ten minutes earlier.

Paul Urlovic had the scent of victory in his nostrils, however, and went goal-hunting again in the 68th minute, unleashing a twenty yard grasscutter which left Renfrew beaten all ends up, only to creep inches past the upright.

Fleming lifted a shot over the top in response to this effort, and Marshall sent another effort curling narrowly wide, but by this time, the roof had caved in on Dunedin’s Chatham Cup dream. Central were awarded a free-kick some thirty-five yards out from goal on the angle in the 79th minute, and newly-crowned Young Player of the Year Paul Urlovic stepped up to unleash a thunderous drive at the target. Such was the ferocity of the goalbound shot that Renfrew’s attempt to parry the ball to safety resulted in the sphere spinning over the line by his right-hand post.

Another rasping drive from Central’s two-goal hero two minutes later left Renfrew floundering as it crashed against the crossbar, but Central had but two minutes to wait before they were celebrating again.

Hickey burst through in the 83rd minute to fire home his second goal of the game, a grasscutter which whizzed past Renfrew and under the net behind him, much to the delight of one group of Central fans, who set off a flare to celebrate, which didn’t greatly amuse the security team!
The speedster went hat-trick-hunting two minutes later, only for the beleagured goalkeeper to parry his shot to supposed safety. But Ivan Vicelich, who had entered the fray fourteen minutes previously, pounced on the loose ball to crack home number five.

The All White defender was denied by Renfrew two minutes from time, while Marshall, who never gave up the fight despite the numerous late alterations to the scoreboard, forced a fine reflex save from Nicholson with the last attack of note in the match.

While the biggest margin of victory in the Chatham Cup Final since 1993 was a little flattering to Central in the end, the holders were worthy winners of the honour for the second successive season, and in 1999, will look to repeat the recent Chatham Cup ‘three-peat’ of Waitakere City, the holders of the trophy prior to Central’s 1997 victory.

At least Dunedin Technical have something in the way of a consolation prize to take home with them, in recognition of their feat in reaching the final after being ousted in the semi-finals in both 1996 and 1997 – the rediscovered Bob Smith Memorial Trophy, last presented to the Chatham Cup runners-up in 1981 before going AWOL, will take pride of place in the club’s trophy cabinet for the next twelve months.

Central: Nicholson; New, Torrens, Uhlmann; Fowler, Hill (Philpott, 87), Farrington, Ridenton (Loftus, 62); M. Urlovic (Vicelich, 71), P. Urlovic, Hickey.

Dunedin: Renfrew; Gowans (Wilson, 85), Longley, Seales, Harahap (Jack, 84); McFarland, Morris, Scoullar, Johnston (Melville, 57); Marshall, Fleming.

Referee: Bruce Grimshaw


Central Clinch Their Third Cup Triumph
Story by Jeremy Ruane / Photos By Graham Hughes

Central United achieved their season-long ambition of clinching a third Bluebird Chatham Cup triumph on September 5, as they eclipsed a gallant Marist Palmerston North combination 2-1 on a showery evening at North Harbour Stadium.

The competition favourites set the tone just fourteen seconds into the match, with Heath McCormack’s shot being parried to safety by Hayden Englefield, who later plucked a Paul Urlovic cross off the head of the striker, to conclude what was only Central’s second attack of the game, in the sixteenth minute.

In between times, Marist had taken the game to their more fancied rivals and had come desperately close to opening the scoring on three occasions. In the sixth minute, Peter Halstead played Nick Darbyshire through, and the striker lashed a first-time twenty yard drive goalwards, the ball skidding low past the left-hand post of the diving Ross Nicholson.

Six minutes later, Ian Sandbrook whipped in a corner to the far post which Adam Cowan steered into the heart of the six-yard box. Central managed to scramble the ball clear to the edge of the penalty area, where Kazu Sugiura was lurking. The Marist player, who, with Central’s Paul Seaman, had already been booked by referee Neil Fox, let fly through the crowd, the ball careering just past Nicholson’s right-hand post.

Seconds later, Darbyshire got one on target, firing through the legs of Seaman to do so. Nicholson was equal to this effort, but was left standing in the eighteenth minute, as a gorgeous free-kick from Cowan arced into the heart of the goalmouth from the left flank.

All it needed was a touch, and Halstead as a body width away from providing it. But the striker let the ball go past him, and out of play it went – how crucial would that miss prove to be, one wondered.

Extremely, as events three minutes later proved. For Central opened the scoring in the 21st minute, somewhat against the run of play to this point. The busily performed Luiz Del Monte curled a free-kick beyond the far post to Dean Tallentire, who headed the ball into the goalmouth.

McCormack beat Englefield to it, but in his haste to clear the threat, Sandbrook’s clearance ricocheted off the striker onto the crossbar and bounced down. Thump! Swish! “Yeeeesssss!!!” roared Urlovic, as Central’s big game player volleyed his fifth goal in Chatham Cup Finals into the net from six yards to break the deadlock.

Marist carried on taking the game to Central, however, and that they failed to score in the next sixteen minutes was solely down to the player who was later named as the Cup Final’s MVP, and winner of the Jack Batty Memorial Trophy – it was Nicholson’s saves at this stage of the game which ultimately broke the spirits of the stout-hearted men in green.

The first of these was made in the 27th minute, as Sandbrook engineered a move from half-way deep into Central’s penalty area. En route, he interchanged passes with Cowan and Darbyshire, then found himself one-on-one with Nicholson. But the goalkeeper blocked the shot with his legs, and Central breathed again.

Ten minutes later, the one-time – and surely again, after the year he’s had – All Whites’ goalkeeper pulled off an even better save. A stray Del Monte pass was pounced on by Darbyshire near the left-hand touchline. The striker was in acres of space as Marist counter-attacked, and took the ball to the by-line before steering it into the near post.

Arriving on cue was Halstead, who hit a first-time shot on the run which would have had the beating of most goalkeepers. Central’s captain was equal to it, however, producing a superb save low to his left to keep his side in front. And from this point on, the Aucklanders never looked back.

For Central were by now beginning to gain some ascendancy in the middle of the park, where Jonathan Smith was in his element, breaking up Marist manoeuvres as well as sparking some of his own team’s increasingly frequent raids.

Three times before the interval, Central had chances to double their advantage, with Urlovic pouncing on a poor back-pass to lob the advancing Englefield on the stretch. His effort lacked accuracy, however, but Marist’s captain, Mark Tesar, raced back to make absolutely certain.

On the stroke of half-time, a teasing Del Monte free-kick was grabbed under his crossbar by Englefield, who was grateful to Sanjay Singh on the stroke of the break for his intervention in the goal area, as Del Monte bore down on goal after the combination play of Chad Coombes and McCormack had opened up Marist’s left flank.

The second half was largely one-way traffic, and it was all heading towards Englefield’s goal. Central simply dominated proceedings right from the whistle, and left Marist to feed on scraps, of which there were very few.

Just two minutes after the resumption of play, Seaman buccaneered into the penalty area and squared the ball to Urlovic, only for Tesar to step in – he and Singh, who had been booked late in the first half for persistent infringement, were regularly called upon to thwart their opponents in this way throughout the half.

Five minutes later, Central were claiming a second goal, but linesman Brent Best wasn’t having a bar of it. Del Monte whipped in a corner to the far post, where Smith rose high to head the ball goalwards.

The sphere ricocheted off Englefield onto the inside of the post, with the goalkeeper instinctively swatting it out before the whole of the ball had crossed the line. It was cleared to Del Monte, who sent a twenty-yarder fizzing wide.

Just before the hour mark, the offside flag denied McCormack what would have been his fifth goal in Chatham Cup Finals, while seconds later, the striker failed to make decent contact with the ball after Smith’s through ball had been flicked on by Urlovic.

That Central finished the game with eleven players remains a mystery, because Joel Mathews’ mistimed tackle from behind on Halstead was not pretty, and that’s putting it mildly. It was certainly a yellow card offence, and arguably worthy of the red card, but referee Fox opted to award a free-kick only – one can only think the slippery conditions were Mathews’ saving grace.

After both goalkeepers had produced solid saves to deny opportunities which wouldn’t have resulted in a goal had one been scored, due to the offside trap having been breached in each instance, Central resumed their raids on a by now tiring Marist team with a vengeance.

Del Monte and McCormack combined to set up a chance for Seaman, but the midfielder’s hesitance was punished by Singh’s tackle. Neil Sykes was unable to capitalise on the rebound, Sandbrook thwarting his opposite number.

Fifteen minutes from time, Central spurned a golden chance to wrap up the game. Seaman threaded a lovely pass through for Urlovic, who had McCormack and Del Monte in support as Marist found themselves caught on the counter-attack.

The game’s lone goalscorer, to this point, went for glory, but after side-stepping Tesar, his chip of Englefield also cleared the crossbar – would this miss prove as costly for Central as Marist’s earlier miss had proved costly for them, one wondered?

But the Aucklanders were too much in the ascendancy now to ease off the throttle, and after Seaman had sent a twenty-five yarder flashing past the post, Englefield produced a splendid save to thwart Smith, after McCormack had flicked a Del Monte pass into the midfielder’s path.

Nine minutes from time, Central finally scored the second goal they had threatened for so long. Urlovic and McCormack played a slick one-two just outside the penalty area, with the former bursting into the penalty area after outwitting two opponents.

Tesar again proved his nemesis, but unfortunately for Marist’s captain, Sykes was following up, and fair buried the ball beyond Englefield to all but clinch a third cup triumph for United.

Thinking their night’s work all but done, Central eased off, and nearly paid the penalty. For Marist came at them with everything they had in the minutes which remained, and came tantalisingly close to drawing level.

Seven minutes from time, substitutes Brent Argyle and Glen Fraser combined, the latter firing in a cross to the far post. Halstead leapt on cue and sent a header careering inches over the crossbar.

The ball took a deflection en route, for a corner was awarded, and Sandbrook delivered it into the danger zone. Three Central defenders looked on as Nathan Hill came roaring and sent his header crashing into the roof of the net – 2-1, and a grandstand finish on the cards.

Two minutes from time, Singh almost sent the final into extra-time. Surging out of defence, he played the ball wide to Hill on the left flank, and continued his run into the penalty area as Marist’s goalscorer raced down the left.

Hill’s cross picked out Singh as he arrived on the edge of the goal area, but the former Junior All White star was left holding his head in his hands as he watched his header flash a foot over the crossbar – a foot away from glory.

Instead, it was despair for the underdogs, who had given their all in pursuit of their dream in an entertaining cup final, but found that Central United, with their starting line-up chock-full of stars from the NZ Football Championship-winning Auckland City FC franchise, had that little bit more in their armoury to claim for a third time what is now the ultimate prize in New Zealand’s club-based soccer scene.

Central: Nicholson; Coombes, Tallentire, Uhlmann, Mathews; Del Monte (Greenhalgh, 90), Seaman (booked, 4), Smith, Sykes; Urlovic (Eie, 90), McCormack.

Marist: Englefield; Silver (McElhannan, 81), Tesar, Singh (booked, 37), Cowan; Sugiura (booked, 5) (Argyle, 65), Sandbrook, Hill; Tomomatsu (Fraser, 72), Halstead (booked, 90), Darbyshire.

Referee: Neil Fox.


Photgraphs courtesy of PHOTOTEK

AUCKLAND – It took 120 minutes and no less thanCentral pose with the trophy20 spot-kicks to separate New Zealand’s two best winter football clubs as Central United claimed the 2007 Chatham Cup in dramatic fashion, beating Western Suburbs 10-9 on penalties.For the second year running – and only the second time ever – the match was goalless after 120 minutes of normal and extra time, and a penalty shootout was needed to decide the winner of New Zealand football’s oldest trophy.Chance after chance went begging throughout the match, but the players suddenly found their range from 12 yards, striking powerful and accurate spot kicks time after time past keepers who could do nothing about them even when picking the right way.Sam Peter's shootout miss ended the epic final

There was no repeat of Phil Imray’s heroics from last year – when he saved three penalties to hand Wests the Cup – and no back-to-back titles for his club as Sam Peters blasted Wests’ tenth penalty over the bar to send the majority of a packed Kiwitea Street into delight at their fourth Chatham Cup victory.United’s victorious coach Aaron McFarland admitted to being nervous heading into the shootout against a team who had won the cup on penalties a year ago.“I was a little bit worried given their experience from last year, but at the end of the day it’s a lottery.”The victory was Central’s fourth – all since 1997 – and now moves them ahead of Western Suburbs on the al time table.It also hands them a rare Northern League and Chatham Cup double – and denied the Central League champions a double of Craig Dale lifts the Cuptheir own – but McFarland maintained the Cup was always the priority.“Our recent record in the Chatham Cup is second to none, and we’re very proud of that. The Cup means more to us than any other competition – It’s an obsession for us.”

Fans wanting ninety minutes of entertainment were lucky the match went overtime as it took both sides the first half an hour to settle and even longer to string more than a few passes together.After a couple of half chances to both sides, the first real chance cam in the 36th minute as pressure from Wests’ target man Rupert Ryan forced Gillespie to spill the ball into the path of Roddy Brown, who from the left hand corner of the 18 yard box and an open goal in front of him, couldn’t curl the ball inside the right hand post.

Five minutes later though, his effort was outdone by Grant Young who should have connected with a flat cross from Jason Hayne with the goal at his mercy from 6 yards out.Young, whose half a dozen chances included four that the NZFC striker would normally bury, had a night to forget in front of goal and had lost his confidence heading into the shootout. Despite the 0-0 scoreline both teams had great chancesElecting to take his turn from the spot only when the only other option was his goalkeeper teammate, Young blasted his ultimately match-winning penalty with enough power to get through Imray and silence the traveling fans doing their best to make it hard for him.

Luiz Del Monte – an easy choice for the Jack Batty Trophy for player of the final – was instrumental in creating chances for Grant Young and Keryn Jordan and also had a couple of his own, including a 42ndminute free kick that he stroked over the wall off the post as Imray could only stand and watch.With the spectacle improving as the game wore on, Central again had more chances than Wests in the second Gillespie is swamped by his teammates after the dramatic winhalf although the defending champions were unlucky not to win it just before full time.

Three great chances in the last five minutes of regulation were prevented first by a great save from a full stretch-Gillespie off Ben Feld’s shot, then the cross bar from Rupert Ryan’s header and finally tired legs as Ryan put his next header over the bar.Through extra time as players tired mentally and physically and penalties grew ever closer, the game continued to open up.Del Monte carried on setting up his Central United forwards but had another great chance himself – his shot shortly after a ton of minutes just not dipping enough to sneak under the crossbar.

A long range effort from Suburb’s Darren Cheriton moments later beat Gillespie but not the upright.Despite more chances for both sides, it seemed inevitable that penalties would decide the Chatham Cup for only the fourth time in its 84-year history, with the 80th edition of the cup going right down to the wire.

Central United 0 Western Suburbs 0 *aet.  
Central win 10-9 on penalties.Kiwitea St, Auckland

Referee: Kevin Stoltenkamp

Central United: Richard Gillespie, Craig Dale (captain), Kara Waetford, Sam Campbell, Greg Uhlman, Jason Hayne (Jacob Matthews 67), Adam McGeorge (John Baptiste Niyonsaba 95), Joel Mathews, Luiz Del Monte, Grant Young, Paul Urlovic (Keryn Jordan 62).
Substitutes not used: Joshua Balhorn (RGK), Lance Heslop Cautions: Greg Uhlman 28

Western Suburbs:  Phil Imray (captain), Tim Broadhurst, Michael McKinley, Jon Harahap, Sam Peters, Jon Rowe (Ben Feld 52), Michael Smith, Darren Cheriton, Roddy Brown (Moses Petelo 81), Rupert Ryan, Nate Winkel,
Substitutes not used: Jake Gleeson (RGK), Fraser Colson, Blair McLean.

Jack Batty Trophy for Man of the Match: Luiz Del Monte (Central United)

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