There will be a new name engraved on the 86-year-old Chatham Cup on the weekend of September 19 and 20 after Wellington Olympic and Auckland’s Three Kings United made the most of home advantage in Sunday’s semi-finals.
Sam Matthews volleyed in a 25 yard screamer with 12 minutes remaining to seal a come-from-behind 2-1 win for Three Kings at Keith Hay Park, while Olympic found the going slightly easier in the Capital with a 2-0 win over Manurewa at Newtown Park with goals to Mickey Malivuk and Jimmy Haidakis.
Three-time winners Miramar had the measure of Three Kings in the first half, with All Whites midfielder Andy Barron unlocking the Aucklanders’ defence for Dominic Rowe to fire the visitors into a 17th minute lead.
Each side had strong penalty claims turned down by referee Peter ‘Leary, but Three Kings goalkeeper Greg Walters played the biggest role in preventing the halftime deficit extending into unmanageable territory.
But by the time Stu Hogg lashed an 55th minute equaliser into the roof of the net from close range, Three King were well and truly matching their more storied opposition, with Matthews’s stunning winner booking a maiden final for the club formed by two previous winners Eden and Mt Roskill.
“It’s our first Chatham Cup final since the club came into existence,” said victorious Three Kings coach Paul Marshall, “so it’s a magnificent day for the club and for a lot of people who have put in a lot of work like [ailing club stalwart] Ken Sergeant and club president Tim Cooper.
“The players are getting everything they deserve at the moment because they’ve really committed to this campaign and it’s paid dividends.”
Full of praise for his side’s fight-back, Marshall admitted that he shared a few stern words at halftime.
“We weren’t in the game at halftime so the boys learnt that one fairly promptly before we talked about any of the tactical things we wanted to change, and going back to the original plan.
“We had a plan and we didn’t stick to it in the first half and that caused us some problems.
In Wellington, Olympic proved too good for two-time winners Manurewa, with Mickey Malivuk tapping in after half an hour and Jimmy Haidakis expertly curling a 57th minute free kick around the defensive wall from 30 metres out.
Midway through the second half George Barbarouses failed to cap a weaving run from halfway with the goal it deserved, and while the booming kick of Manurewa goalkeeper Albon Houston was among his team’s most threatening weapons, his handball outside the area left his side with ten men for the final few minutes.
The final on September 19 or 20 is likely to be played at North Harbour Stadium unless a move to Wellington will facilitate television coverage of the winter football showpiece.
Chatham Cup Semi-finals
Three Kings United 2 (Stu Hogg 55, Sam Matthews 78)
Miramar Rangers 1 (Dominic Rowe 17)
Keith Hay Park, Auckland
Olympic 2 (Mickey Malivuk 32, Jimmy Haidakis 57)
Newtown Park, Wellington
Final – North Harbour Stadium, September 19 or 20
Three Kings United v Olympic
Story courtesy of NZF Media
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