July 20, 2012
AUCKLAND – Opponents with nothing to lose have some teams on edge as they head into the business end of the ASB Chatham Cup and ASB Women’s Knockout Cup on Sunday.
Both competitions enter their respective national phase after regional rounds to whittle teams down to the quarterfinals stage in the Chatham Cup and the final four in the Women’s Knockout Cup.
In the Chatham Cup, Manukau City, who sit near the bottom of the third tier of the Northern League, travel south to face Southern League leaders Caversham at the Caledonian in Dunedin but Caversham coach Richard Murray is making sure his side take nothing for granted.
“It’s fair to say Manukau are perceived to be the weakest team left in the quarterfinals when you consider what they’ve done in the league this season,” Murray said.
“But the Chatham Cup is made of dreams and in every round there’s a fixture where a smaller team does something special. You don’t want to be that team on the end of an upset.
“Manukau have absolutely nothing to lose and have banded together really well to get the coin together to make the trip, which will only bond them together even tighter.
“We’ve been hammering it home all week to our players that there are no guarantees in the Chatham Cup, and if we’re still sitting in the sheds thinking we’re through instead of being focussed on the task we could be in trouble.”
Lower Hutt City head to Auckland’s North Shore to take on Northern League first division leaders Birkenhead United and while Lower Hutt’s Central League status would normally see them as favourites, Birkenhead’s Cup and League form, the Olympic call up for Lower Hutt’s goalkeeper Scott Basalaj and home ground advantage for United more than evens the ledger at Shepherds Park.
The other two quarterfinals in the 85th edition of the Chatham Cup are all Premier League affairs between former winners with Central United and Eastern Suburbs clashing at Kiwitea Street in Auckland and Miramar Rangers hosting Dunedin Technical at David Farrington Park in Wellington.
Meanwhile, in the semi finals of the ASB Women’s Knockout Cup, Claudelands Rovers admit they are heading into the unknown when they welcome Massey University to Hamilton’s Galloway Park.
The 2010 cup winners are joint top of the Northern League with two games in hand and with the region supplying the last 17 champions, Rovers head into the match against the Central League leaders as firm favourites, not that player coach Helen Collins is taking much notice.
“We haven’t thought too much about whose favourite or not,” Collins said, “We know it’ll be a hard game but outside that they are an unknown quantity to us.
“That’s actually pretty refreshing. We play the same teams every week so to have a new opponent who we don’t know a lot about – a test from another part of the country – helps us to focus more on what we need to do.”
Collins will be unable to call on Sarah McLaughlin and Holly Patterson who have both travelled to Cardiff as standby players for the Football Ferns Olympic campaign.
Similarly, Three Kings United will also be without their international midfielder Annalie Longo when they host Christchurch’s Coastal Spirit at Keith Hay Park and while they still start as favourites Coastal Spirit have a perfect record in all competitions this season and can draw on the experience of last year’s tense semi final win to reach their first final.
ASB Chatham Cup 2012
Quarterfinals (July 22)
Home team listed first. All matches kick off at 2pm.
Birkenhead United v Lower Hutt City – Shepherds Park, Auckland (July 22)
Caversham v Manukau City – Caledonian, Dunedin (July 22)
Miramar Rangers v Dunedin Technical – David Farrington Park, Wellington (July 22)
Central United v Eastern Suburbs – Kiwitea Street, Auckland (July 22)
ASB Women's Knockout Cup 2012
Semi finals (July 22)
Claudelands Rovers v Massey – Galloway Park, Hamilton, 1pm
Three Kings United v Coastal Spirit – Keith Hay Park, Auckland, 1pm