Wellington Olympic lift Charity Cup with 3-0 win against Christchurch United

Wellington Olympic have carried off the first trophy of 2024, winning the Charity Cup with a 3-0 win against Chatham Cup holders Christchurch United.

Olympic, who are six weeks into their pre-season preparation, always had the edge over United who have been training for only three weeks.

The game had plenty of goalscoring chances — and its share of pre-season rustiness — but it was a solid workout for both teams, and especially for Olympic who face Auckland City next weekend in the first game of a two-legged play-off to decide who’ll represent New Zealand at the OFC Men’s Champions League.

Main photo: Olympic captain Ben Mata collects his side’s first trophy of 2024.

Both sides stroked the ball around the Martin Luckie Park pitch in the opening quarter-hour, feeling their way into the game but without any incision.

As the game settled, Olympic started to create chances, and the ball ricocheted around the United penalty area when Kaelin Nguyen penetrated their defence, enabling a series of shots that produced claims for a handball but little else.

Olympic midfielder Tor Davenport-Petersen pulled the trigger from long range in the 26th minute to force a full-stretch save from United’s newly-signed goalkeeper, Steven Van Dijk.

As the half-hour approached, the Chatham Cup holders started to find their rhythm, holding possession and looking for the chance to break quickly.

Hamish Watson rises to head the ball goalwards, setting up Olympic’s opening goal.

The breakthrough came in the 33rd minute when new Olympic signing Adam Supyk curled a corner into the United box, which striker Hamish Watson turned towards the goal with a header. Gavin Hoy then headed the ball across goal and the skipper Ben Mata was there to complete the three-header move, powering the ball into the net.

United responded with a couple of forays into the home side’s penalty area but their moves produced tame finishes.

Former All White Joel Stevens, United’s new captain, struck a direct free kick wide of the target in the 40th minute.

Olympic doubled their lead early in the second half, again by taking advantage of their aerial domination.

Watson rose unchallenged to head home a cross from Nguyen, giving Van Dijk no chance.

Joel Coustrain is congratulated after scoring Olympic’s third goal with his first touch after coming off the bench.

The result went beyond doubt in the 75th minute when Olympic substitute Joel Coustrain came on for Watson, and scored within a minute of his arrival. The Irish import tucked the ball inside the post with his first touch of the ball, in his first competitive game for Olympic.

Both teams generated more urgency for the rest of the game and chances were created at both ends.

However, with four minutes of normal time left, United’s new signing, Matt Brazier, was given a straight red card by referee Cory Mills after an off-the-ball incident.

For Brazier, last season’s Central League Player of the Year, it marked a disappointing competitive debut for his new club.



Game played on Sunday March 3, 2024

Wellington Olympic 3 (Ben Mata 33′, Hamish Watson 50′, Joel Coustrain 75′)
Christchurch United 0


Wellington Olympic

Scott Basalaj, Adam Supyk, Justin Gulley, Tor Davenport-Petersen (Luke Tongue 70′), Hamish Watson (Joel Coustrain 74′), Oliver Colloty (Kailan Gould 46′), Jack-Henry Sinclair (Jonty Roubos 58′), Ben Mata (captain) (Gabiriele Matanisiga 58′), Tamupiwa Dimairo, Gavin Hoy, Kaelin Nguyen.


Yellow: Davenport-Peterson (38′), Gould (79′)


Paul Ifill (head coach), Ekow Quaindoo, Taylor Hall-Jones (assistant coaches), Alex Britton (goalkeeper coach)m Brogan Treanor (physio), Matthew Kolic (team manager).

Christchurch United

Steven Van Dijk, Michael Hornsby, Kaleb De Groot-Green, Riley Grover, Ta Eh Doe (Zachary Bennett 70′), Matthew Brazier, Imachi Sugahara (Waisea Henry 76′), David Yoo (Jackson Cole 46′), Joel Stevens (captain), Joel Peterson (Rico Pradhan 61′), Daniel Meyn (Thomas Chao 70′).


Yellow: Doe (65′)

Red: Brazier (86′)


Ryan Edwards (head coach), Jamie Forsyth (assistant coach), Sam Peterson (team manager), Sean McClearly (analyst).

About the Charity Cup

As the host club, Wellington Olympic chose Heart Kids New Zealand as their nominated charity to receive the proceeds from donations made at the ground. You can donate via the Heart Kids website:

Charity Cup winners

NZFA Challenge Trophy

1978 Manurewa AFC 2-0 Christchurch United
1980 University-Mount Wellington 3-1 North Shore United
1981 University-Mount Wellington 2-0 Gisborne City
1982 Wellington United 1-1 (5-4 pens) Dunedin City
1983 University-Mount Wellington 1-0 North Shore United
1984 Manurewa AFC 2-1 University-Mount Wellington
1985 Gisborne City 1-0 Manurewa AFC
1986 Wellington United 2-0 Napier City Rovers
1987 North Shore United 3-0 University-Mount Wellington

Charity Cup

2011 Auckland City 3-2 Waitakere United
2012 Waitakere United 2-1 Auckland City
2013 Auckland City 4-1 Waitakere United
2014 Team Wellington 2-2 (4-3 pens) Auckland City
2015 Auckland City 3-0 Team Wellington
2016 Auckland City 3-1 Team Wellington
2017 Team Wellington 3-1 Auckland City
2018 Auckland City 4-3 Team Wellington
2019 Auckland City 2-0 Eastern Suburbs
2020 Auckland City 3-1 Team Wellington
2023: Wellington Olympic 3-0 Christchurch United

More football stories