April 11, 2010
AUCKLAND - Canterbury United will meet Waitakere United in the New Zealand Football Championship Grand Final at Fred Taylor Park in a fortnight’s time after they upset defending champions Auckland City 3-0 at Kiwitea Street this afternoon.
Trailing the minor premiers 2-1 on aggregate, Canterbury United pulled back the deficit when Russell Kamo went around defender Greg Uhlmann to score from a tight angle after 26 minutes.
Both teams played flowing attractive football, but Canterbury United shifted up a gear in the second half with Kamo completing a brace on 57 minutes, giving the visitors a 3-2 aggregate advantage.
With Auckland pressing forward, desperate for a goal to force the tie into extra time, Canterbury caught the home side short at the back with increasing regularity and allowed substitute Andrew Barton to slot his team’s third goal two minutes into time added on.
The 3-0 win gives Canterbury United a decisive 4-2 aggregate win over the vanquished champions and sets up a mouth watering showdown with Waitakere United – a team Canterbury defeated 4-0 at English Park earlier this season.
The historic win also means Canterbury United – who finished eighth two season in a row – will make only their second ever Grand Final appearance.
It also equalled Canterbury United’s biggest ever win at Kiwitea Street – a 3-0 win achieved in 2007.
Canterbury United coach Keith Braithwaite was ecstatic with the win.
“We’ve got belief in ourselves and on our day we can beat anybody,” Braithwaite said.
Defeat for Auckland City meant they miss out on a fifth NZFC Grand Final appearance but coach Paul Posa offered no excuses.
“We had chances but didn’t finish them. They took their goals well and we became a bit frantic. Congratulations to Canterbury, I wish them well in the final,” Posa said.
On Saturday, Waitakere United edged Team Wellington in dramatic fashion with a last gasp injury time goal from Brent Fisher enough to hand Neil Emblen’s team an away goals win.
Andy Barron took just ten minutes of the return leg to open the scoring with a sublime free-kick past Danny Robinson.
But Waitakere United bounced back when substitute Ryan de Vries levelled the scores in the 71st minute after a Benjamin Totori pass found the youngster in space to finish past James Bannatyne.
Brent Fisher put the icing on a thrilling result for the home side when he scored with a deft header beyond Bannatyne two minutes into time added on.
With Auckland City now eliminated, Waitakere United will now enjoy home advantage in the NZFC Grand Final with Canterbury United. The match is scheduled for Saturday 24 April, 2010; kick-off 2.00pm at Fred Taylor Park.
In the National Men’s Youth League Grand Final, Canterbury United thrashed Waitakere United 6-0 at English Park. A hat-trick by Sam Miles and goals from Ben Harris, Thomas Stanton and Luke Dennison helped complete a red-letter day for Canterbury United.
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