Josh Morunga kept his head under pressure to score an extra time winner to send Tikipunga through to this year's Stafford-Choat Knockout Cup final.

Morunga also played a major role as Tikipunga fought their way back into contention late in the game after going 0-1 behind midway through the first spell.

A Colin Gardyne penalty looked to have booked Kerikeri a spot in the final - and give them a golden opportunity to pull off the double after they easily won this year's premier grade title - but with 90 minutes almost up on the clock, Morunga was adjudged to have been fouled in the box and was awarded a controversial penalty.

His brother Luke stepped up to take the spot-kick and made no mistake, sending the game into extra time.


Kerikeri were soon rocked again in the first period of extra time. Josh Morunga showed great control to take down a difficult ball in the box and then rifle it into the bottom corner of the net to break the deadlock.

The visitors to Tikipunga Park were far from finished but Tikipunga coach Daniel Dunbar said the experience of his side helped them carry the day.

"We're not the youngest team in the competition, I think the average age of our team would be up around 31 or even 32, so mentally when the going got tough that experience really helped us finish things off," he said.

The final period saw a number of players limping around or beset by cramp but few players wanted to go off and miss the rest of the scintillating semifinal. Kerikeri have beaten Tikipunga in all three of their league matches this season but Dunbar had a feeling the cup clash would be different.

"Kerikeri have hardly been beaten at all this season, they've been the benchmark but we were quietly confident we could step up in this competition. They dominated us in the first half but we came back into it in the second and after Josh's goal they threw everything at us and we managed to hang on," he said.

It wouldn't have been a Stafford Choat semifinal without a hint of controversy.

"Both penalty calls were on the controversial side but in the end the referee did a pretty good job to control what was always going to be a pretty explosive match between two old rivals," Dunbar said.

Tikipunga now have a week off to prepare for their Stafford Choat defence with Kamo and Onerahi playing in the other semifinal next weekend.

"I think most neutrals would favour a Kamo-Tiki final but Onerahi might still have something to say about that. They smashed Kamo reserves 6-0 last weekend and have the home advantage at the Airport for the game so they could still be the dark horse," Dunbar said.

Bream Bay beat Kerikeri Reserves 7-2 in the Bowl semifinal at Ruakaka, while Central Brown won the other spot in the Bowl final with a 4-0 win over FC Whangarei at Morningside.

Meanwhile, North Force had a 6-0 defeat against promotion hopefuls Ngaruawahia in Northern League action, while the reserves had a 2-5 defeat.