Football: Central seal chance for sixth trophy

Central United won the Chatham Cup in 2012 and will have another chance this year when they meet Cashmere Technical in the final.
Central United won the Chatham Cup in 2012 and will have another chance this year when they meet Cashmere Technical in the final.

Five times ASB Chatham Cup winners Central United will have the opportunity to add a sixth title to their storied history after Sunday's 2-0 semi-final victory over Napier City Rovers at Kiwitea Street.

A 39th minute first half penalty to Karl Reimann combined with a 73rd minute tap in from substitute James Hoyt was more than enough to clinch the semi-final with Napier City Rovers unable to establish an regular attacking threat in possession.

For their part, Central played an attractive brand of football throughout the contest, creating several other opportunities to extend the final margin but a combination of some wayward Central finishing and a solid contribution from Napier 'keeper Jonty Underhill saw just the two goals scored on the day.

Reimann's spot kick opened the scoring in the 39th minute after Napier player/coach Bill Robertson was ruled by referee Campbell-Kirk Waugh to have felled Fabrizio Tavano in the area as he tried to clear the ball while prone on the ground.

Waugh waved away Napier protests and Reimann stepped up to dispatch the spot kick which gave the home side a deserved lead given their use of the ball with Nick Dale's miss from six yards the best chance to open the scoring before that point.

A similar pattern continued in the second spell as Central asserted dominance in possession and chances came and went before the home side made it 2-0 17 minutes from time as James Hoyt finished off a quick counter attack with a simple tap in.

Central United coach Jose Figueria applauded his side for an approach which was easy on the eye and produced the desired result.

"I thought we were excellent today," Figueria said, "it was probably important that we got that first goal when we were dominating. I thought it was a real professional, organised and clinical performance, exactly what we wanted."

The five-time winners used the ball well, moving it quickly, making Napier work hard to maintain their defensive shape in front of Underhill, something Figueria says is a product of the players at his disposal -who are involved in a competition which means a lot to the club and the local community.

"We've got the players who can play that way. My job has been just to encourage them to do it. Today we took the chances when we needed to. I thought there were some sublime pieces of football in there and it was great to stand back on the side and watch it."

"The turn out today goes to show how many people hold the Chatham Cup so highly. It seems to invigorate everyone. Cashmere are a great side and they are similar to us and it's going to be a cracking final."

After the final whistle Robertson reflected on a whole-hearted performance from his side which wasn't quite enough to get to the competition showpiece after a wild cup run which included stoppage time, extra-time and penalty shootout victories.
"Obviously we're disappointed to lose," Robertson said.

"Central are a very good side and they put us under pressure for large amounts of the game."

"I'm proud of the boys efforts but I don't think we played as well as we potentially can do. Whether that's our inefficiency or the quality of Central I'm not sure. We're gutted at the moment but we wish Central all the best in the final."

The final of the 91st edition of the ASB Chatham Cup will be played on September 7 with the venue to be determined.

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