Soccer: Central United cruise in final

By Daniel Richardson

Central United celebrate one of the six goals in the Chatham Cup final against Lower Hutt City at Newtown Park. Photo / Getty Images
Central United celebrate one of the six goals in the Chatham Cup final against Lower Hutt City at Newtown Park. Photo / Getty Images

Sometimes things go exactly to plan in football and Central United followed their Chatham Cup final script to a tee this afternoon in Wellington.

The talent-laden Auckland outfit hammered Lower Hutt City 6-1 to claim their fifth Chatham Cup crown, which capped the club's 50th anniversary celebrations in fine style.

A crowd of 2258 piled in to Newtown Park to watch a contest that truly was a clash of men versus boys in every sense of the term.

Central United boasted a side laced with four current or former All Whites, including 2010 World Cup participant Ivan Vicelich, while nine of their squad were regulars in the ASB Premiership last summer.

On the other hand, Lower Hutt had numerous schoolboys in their match-day squad and a host of other teenagers.

Buoyed by home-town support, Lower Hutt began the better of the two sides as Central struggled to come to terms with the windy and overcast conditions.

With the fearlessness of youth galvanising their challenge, Lower Hutt pressed forward and directed their attack through skipper Hamish Watson.

But, like any dominant side, Central United absorbed the early advances of their opponent before they counter-punched in tough fashion.

Striker Emiliano Tade got on the board first as he bundled the ball in from close range before former All White David Mulligan doubled the advantage in the 23rd minute with a brilliant free kick.

Auckland City regular Daniel Koprivcic added the third in added time late in the first spell as his shot from the edge of the box took a wicked deflection and left Lower Hutt goalkeeper Steve Bayard with no chance to make a save.

Bayard's elevation to the starting XI highlighted the tough ask Lower Hutt faced as he had spent most of the winter playing for the club's third team but took part in the quarter and semifinal victories in the absence of first-choice custodian Scott Basalaj.

Vicelich, who claimed his fourth Chatham Cup crown with the victory, also found his way on to the score sheet with a clinical header from a Jason Hicks corner on the hour mark.

Koprivcic added another 11 minutes later before Hicks capped the rout with a brilliant left-foot strike when he blasted a shot in the top corner of Bayard's goal in the 86th minute.

Lower Hutt coach Brendan McIntyre emptied his bench in the second spell and tried to give Watson more support in the front third of the pitch but the young guns couldn't find their way through.

Veteran Central striker Paul Urlovic recovered from a nasty ankle injury he suffered last weekend to take the field but only managed about 45 minutes before he was subbed.

Central's win marked the fifth time Urlovic has won a Chatham Cup and he joined Ron Armstrong and Lawrence Fitzpatrick as the only five-time winners in the competition's history, one behind Steve Sumner who is the only player who owns six winner's medals.

Hamish Price grabbed a consolation goal for Lower Hutt with the final act of the game, much to the delight of the crowd.

Central United 6 (Emiliano Tade 18, David Mulligan 23, Daniel Koprivcic 45+3, 71, Ivan Vicelich 60, Jason Hicks 86) Lower Hutt City 1 (Hamish Price 90+2) HT: 3-0
APNZ dr

- APNZ

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on red akl_a3 at 23 Jul 2014 10:21:55 Processing Time: 968ms