The quarterfinals of the 85th ASB Chatham Cup provided their fair share of knockout football drama as Lower Hutt City, Miramar Rangers, Caversham and Central United all won through the final four on Sunday.
Missed penalties, an own goal, red cards - including one to a coach - and plenty of goals punctuated a round that also marred by a badly broken leg to Manukau City goalkeeper Sergio Bustos.
Lower Hutt City and Birkenhead United played out a 3-2 thriller on Auckland's North Shore with Hamish Watson putting the visitors in front with less than two minutes on the clock, tapping home after his penalty was tipped on to the post.
Pomare Te Anau doubled the lead nine minutes later but Ashley Crawford's goal had Birkenhead back in the game just before halftime.
The home side built on that momentum after the break and drew level through Jack Salter but were caught on the break with ten minutes remaining when a Watson effort was parried by John Fletcher, but only as far as substitute James Vernon to net what would prove to be winner.
Birkenhead thought they had equalised again from a corner only for the referee to rule the ball hadn't crossed the line and their frustration boiled over when coach Paul Hobson was sent from the bench for dissent.
Central United beat Eastern Suburbs 2-0 but both teams finished with ten men at Kiwitea Street in Auckland with Central enjoying the early numerical advantage thanks to Michael Buhagiar's 13th minute dismissal for denying a clear goal scoring opportunity.
Earnest Wong saved Jason Hicks' spot kick to keep the sides level and also saved Emiliano Tade's 40th minute penalty only for the Argentine to convert the rebound.
Tade grabbed a second four minutes into the second spell to have Central seemingly in control although Nick Dale's 58th minute red card at least restored parity in the playing stocks for the final half hour.
A late flurry of goals in Wellington helped Miramar Rangers see off the challenge of Dunedin Technical 5-1 although Miramar's first came from the visitors with a shot deflected off a Tech defender into the top corner in just the fourth minute.
Victor Da Costa headed in from a corner to equalise in the 24th minute but Sam Mason Smith restored Miramar's advantage two minutes later.
Patrick Fleming's 77th minute goal broke the back of the visitors with Mason Smith grabbing a second and Dominic Rowe also netting in the last few minutes to pad out the score.
Meanwhile in Dunedin, Caversham edged past a spirited Manukau City side at the Caledonian but had to do so with ten men for most of the second half.
Matt Bruin's last ditch foul early in the second half earned him an early shower and allowed Rhys Ruka to reduce the score to 2-1 from the penalty spot following first half goals to Caversham's Ant Hancock and Andrew Ridden.
Hancock struck again nine minutes after the turnaround but Manukau, who play in the third tier of Northern League football, would not lie down and made the home side work for their place in Monday morning's semi final draw.
A nasty 50-50 challenge between Caversham striker Tom Jackson and Manukau City goalkeeper Sergio Bustos resulted in the latter being hospitalised with a broken leg, with play subdued upon return from a lengthy delay while Bustos was treated on the pitch.
The final of the ASB Chatham Cup is scheduled for August 26.