Birkenhead United have won the Chatham Cup for the second time in three years, overcoming Western Suburbs on penalties at QBE Stadium.

The hero for Birkenhead was goalkeeper Damian Hirst, who saved a penalty in regular time and repeated that feat in the shootout to deny Suburbs in their first Chatham Cup final in over a decade.

Western Suburbs, two-time champions, were trying to take home the prized silverware for the first time in 12 years but came up just short. They proved worthy finalists and showed that many in their squad have bright futures, but after it was deadlocked 1-1 after extra time, Birkenhead toasted Chatham Cup success again.

Birkenhead head coach Paul Hobson said it was a superb feeling to lift the trophy after a tense final that could have gone either way.


"It feels incredible," he said. "I still can't quite believe it. I didn't fancy us in the penalties, but I felt we deserved it in the end. The first half we were so-so but I felt we really got on top in the second half and when it got to penalties we are just happy to come out on top."

Birkenhead got off to a stellar start when Alex Connor-McClean found the back of the net in the seventh minute on the end of a well-worked move. From a free kick, Alec Solomons flicked on a perfect header for Connor-McClean to finish from close range.

After the goal, Suburbs settled into the game and found their rhythm, getting back on level terms when Birkenhead turned the ball over deep in their own half. Mohamed Awad was played into the box and dummied his way around a challenge before firing past Hirst in the 34th minute.

Wests looked the more likely to claim the lead heading into halftime and should have done so in the 40th minute on the back of a hotly-debated penalty decision. Nathanael Hailemariam stepped up to take it but was denied by a spectacular save from Hirst. It was a huge moment in the match - and when the second half and extra time came and went without goals, Hirst was called upon to be the hero again in the penalty shootout.

Both sides struggled to keep their composure initially, with each team missing their first spot-kick, but the subsequent penalties were all successful. So it went until Hirst pulled off another great save to keep out Dominic Wooldridge's attempt and bring the cup back to Auckland's North Shore.

Earlier, Dunedin Technical made history when they won the inaugural Kate Sheppard Cup, beating Forrest Hill Milford United 4-2.

The first team from Dunedin to make the final of New Zealand's premier women's knockout competition, Dunedin Technical dominated the match from the outset and won the final on the back of a commanding first half performance in which they scored four goals.

Forrest Hill Milford fought hard to get back into the game, but Dunedin Technical were good enough to hold on for a memorable win.

Shontelle Smith, who drove most of Tech's attacking play from midfield and set up two of their goals, was named as the player of the final and the recipient of the Maia Jackman Trophy.


"This means the world," said the 21-year-old. "We came up here and thought that if we play our best and get beaten then that is ok, but we played our best and we won. This is huge for female players in Football South because we don't get a lot of recognition and hopefully this will change that."