Canterbury’s Cashmere Technical are the new holders of New Zealand football’s oldest club trophy after beating Miramar Rangers 4-2 in a thrilling Chatham Cup final.
Played behind closed doors at Porirura’s Jerry Collins Stadium, due to COVID-19 restrictions, the underdog South Islanders won the 94th edition of the competition with goals from Garbhan Coughlan and Yuya Taguchi.
The two strikers were key to Technical’s success and their four goals in the final gave them a collective tally of 20 in the competition — Coughlan scored 13 goals in seven ties, while Taguchi netted seven, and scored in all but one of the rounds.
The sides went into the game with Rangers $1.91 favourites to win at the TAB, while Cashmere were rated $3.40 shots.
But the longer the game went, the more confident the Cantabrians appeared.
As half-time approached, they took the lead through Coughlan, tilting the odds to an upset.
Rangers captain Sam Dewar later said his team tried to regroup at half-time and, in his words, “stop fannying about”.
However, Technical had other ideas.
On the hour mark, Taguchi took advantage of a mistake by Rangers’ goalkeeper Ryan Foord to double the Southerners’ lead. A few minutes, later, Coughlan scored his second, pushing Technical out to a 3-0 lead.
Rangers weren’t done yet.
Flynn O’Brien let fly from 30 metres and his shot filled the net and the hopes of Rangers’ supporters, many of whom were watching the live stream (which had audiences of up to 2,000 during the game).
As the game wore on, the Wellington side pulled back another through Liam Wood — it was now 3-2 and with enough time to find a leveller.
Technical might have been tempted to sit back and defend but to their credit they continued to venture forward and were rewarded when Taguchi scored his second.
After almost five minutes of nerve-wracking added time, referee Calvin Berg — whose light touch helped produce a flowing final — blew for full-time.
Technical veterans Danny Knight and skipper Tom Schwarz celebrated their third cup wins, stretched over more than a decade.
After the game, Schwartz said he felt Technical had taken the right approach into the game.
“We knew if we got our shape right that we have dangerous players on the counter-attack,” he said.
He acknowledged the “special goal” scored by O’Brien that left the result in the balance for a while but said Technical’s defence had done well.
Jack Batty Memorial Trophy
Cashmere’s Taguchi won the Jack Batty Memorial Trophy for his man-of-the-match performance.
Relief as the final whistle goes.
Watch the replay of the live stream provided by Sky Sports NEXT: