August 28, 2011
AUCKLAND – Wairarapa United’s fairytale run through the ASB Chatham Cup had a dream finish with a dramatic 2-1 win over regional rivals Napier City Rovers in the 84th final in Palmerston North on Sunday.
Fijian midfielder Pita Rabo bravely threw himself at a long ball from his goalkeeper Matt Borren to beat Napier ‘keeper Shaun Peta to it 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.
“It’s a special feeling, said Rabo, “it’s a special cup.”
“Every player waits to score a goal in the Chatham Cup final but to score the winner is something special and I’m so glad that I could score in the last minutes.”
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.
In a fast paced and physical encounter with tough tackles flying in thick and fast, Napier’s best effort in the first spell came from a header that captain Regan Cameron put over the bar.
In the 34th minute Soromon’s sharp one-two with Rabo put the latter through on goal and there were loud claims for a penalty as Peta marginally beat Rabo to the ball.
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,” said Cowan, “but unfortunately I missed that penalty and they got an equaliser halfway through the second half.
“But as a unit we were confident that we could score another goal and that’s the way it turned out with Pita Rabo stepping up.”
Wairarapa United 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 but it wasn’t until we beat Waitakere in the quarterfinals you didn’t think it could happen. After that match you felt there was something special going on and that really gave us belief,” Keinzley said.
Scott Robson, who was instrumental in a semi-final win over Bay Olympic in Auckland was again a standout alongside Waisake Sabatu and James Oxtoby in a back three and picked up the Jack Batty Trophy for man of the match.
84th ASB Chatham Cup Final
Memorial Park, Palmerston North
Napier City Rovers 1 (Fergus NEIL 67’)
Wairarapa United 2 (Seule SOROMON 24’, Pita RABO 86’)
Adam Cowen (Wairarapa) missed penalty 54’
Jack Batty Trophy (Player of the match): Scott ROBSON (Wairarapa)
Referee: Peter O’LEARY
Assistant Referee: Jan-Hendrik HINTZ
Assistant Referee: Simon LOUNT
Fourth official: Matt CONGER
Napier City Rovers: 23-Shaun PETA (GK), 2-Lee JACKSON (22-Sven EXETER 68’), 4-Bill ROBERTSON, 5-Regan CAMERON (Captain), 7-Matt HASTINGS, 8-Stu WILSON, 10-Danny WILSON, 11-Andy PICKERING (9-Matt SINGLE 57’), 14-Josh STEVENSON, 17-Fergus NEIL (6-Reilly O’MEAGHER 87’), 20-Hamish PRICE.
Substitutes not used: 1-Matt GOULD (RGK), 18-Luke CHAPMAN.
Coach: Grant HASTINGS.
Cautions: Regan CAMERON 17’
Wairarapa United: 1-Matt BORREN (GK), 3-Carl SHAILLER (14-Adam MILNE 50’), 4-Scott ROBSON, 5-Nathan COOKSLEY, 6-Dale HIGHAM, 8-Waisaki SABATU, 9-Seule SOROMON, 10-James OXTOBY, 17-Pita RABO, 18-Nobi ISHI (2-Miroslav TVAROH 90’), 19-Adam COWAN (Captain).
Substitutes not used: 7-Pablo MOYA, 11-Campbell BANKS.
Coach: Phil KEINZLEY
Cautions: Nathan COOKSLEY 49’, Nobi ISHI 57