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Wairarapa and Glenfield cup kings

Wairarapa’s fairytale run had a dream finish with a dramatic 2-1 win against Napier City Rovers after Glenfield had notched a 3-0 triumph over Coastal Spirit.
Both finals took place in neutral Palmerston North and marked the first time either winner has etched their names on the respective trophies.
Liz Milne’s near-post header from a Sarah Gibbs free kick opened Glenfield’s account and Stephanie Skilton doubled the lead in the 70th minute when tapping in a Hannah Wilkinson cross.
Jaime Hackett’s strike seven minutes from time effectively tied Rovers’ ribbons on the trophy and made up for a loss in the 2007 final.
“The last couple of years with this bunch of girls has been outstanding,” Glenfield coach Craig Alexander said.
“They’ve won everything they’ve played for basically so it’s great for them and great for the club, which had its 50th anniversary last year. The players have done the hard work and they deserve the rewards.”
In the men’s match that followed at Memorial Park, Fijian midfielder Pita Rabo bravely threw himself at a long ball from goalkeeper Matt Borren to beat Napier ‘keeper Shaun Peta and head in what proved to be an 86th-minute winner for a club that had never progressed beyond the last 16 in previous seasons.
Former Vanuatu international Seule Soromon opened the scoring in the 24th minute when he met a Dale Higham cross with a firm downward header but Napier –who were chasing a fifth cup win – drew level in the 67th minute when Fergus Neil capitalised on indecision in the Wairarapa ranks and netted from eight yards out.
A potential turning point came early in the second half when the pacey Higham got in behind the Napier defence and was brought down in the area by Danny Wilson.
Wairarapa skipper Adam Cowan stepped up to take the spotkick but blazed his penalty onto the crossbar to give Napier a lifeline which they grabbed with Neil’s goal 13 minutes later.
A jubilant and relieved Cowan said despite the setback the side’s belief had never wavered.
“We very confident that we were going to get another goal at some stage,” Cowan said. “Unfortunately, I missed that penalty and they got an equaliser halfway through the second half. But as a unit we were confident we could score another goal and that’s the way it turned out with Pita Rabo stepping up.”
Wairarapa coach Phil Keinzley, who has brought the club up through the divisions in recent seasons, said wining the 89-year-old trophy realised a dream that gained momentum when they knocked over three-time winners Waitakere City 4-1 in Carterton last month.
“At the start of the season winning the Chatham Cup is just a dream and it wasn’t until we beat Waitakere in the quarter-finals that we thought it could happen. After that match you felt there was something special going on and that really gave us belief.”
Scott Robson, who was instrumental in the semi-final win over Bay Olympic in Auckland, was again a stand-out alongside Waisake Sabatu and James Oxtoby in a back three and picked up the Jack Batty Trophy for man of the match.
Story courtesy of New Zealand Football.
For more on New Zealand football go to www.nzfootball.co.nz

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