Napier City Rovers have staged a remarkable comeback to defeat a 10-man Melville United and win the ISPS Handa Chatham Cup for the first time since 2002.The Bill Robertson-coached team claimed their fifth Chatham Cup victory when they defeated Melville United 3-2 in wet and cold conditions at North Harbour Stadium in Auckland.
With five titles, they climb level on Chatham Cup victories with Central United, behind Eastern Suburbs, Christchurch United and North Shore United (6) and University-Mt Wellington (7).Rovers have had their fair share of heartache in the Chatham Cup final in recent times. Coming into today's final, the Central Football side had been in two finals (2011 and 2015) in the past eight years and had not returned to the Hawke’s Bay with the silverware until now.
Robertson was delighted with the result that had been a long time coming for the club who had previously won the Chatham Cup in 1985, 1993, 2000 and 2002. “I am really pleased for the players and for all of the supporters of the club,” he said.“It is a great feeling to win a fifth Chatham Cup for a proud club like Napier City Rovers. We were disappointed with how we played in the first half. I think even before the red card we started to get some ascendancy in the game. But the red card was a big moment, it helped us get on the ball a bit more and I think overall we deserved the win.”
Melville United, who were looking to win the Chatham Cup for the first time in their current form, held the lead for most of the match after Federico Marquez scored a brilliant solo goal in the 12th minute.The Hamilton-based club went down to 10 men when referee Antony Riley gave Mark Jones a second yellow card in the 65th minute. It proved to be a defining moment in the game.
The final 10 minutes had to be seen to be believed. Rovers dominated the second half and had a plethora of chances as Melville held on desperately. The livewire Jonny McNamara swivelled in the box and prodded home to get back on level terms in the 82nd minute.There was more to come in the heavy rain as three minutes later Rovers took the lead. Napier turned the game on its head when Liam Schofield hit a low left-foot shot into the corner of the goal to send the Rovers’ travelling fans into raptures.Their joy was short lived though as against the run of play Melville got back into the match through their captain Aaron Scott. The former All White produced an outstanding finish with his half chance to beat Josh Hill in goal and give Melville United a lifeline in the 86th minute.It looked as if it was going to extra-time before Rovers completed a classic victory. With a minute left in regulation play, Japanese midfielder Sho Goto fired a volley that hit the crossbar and went in. Goto was later named as the winner of the Jack Batty Trophy for the player of the final.
Referee Riley added a further six minutes of injury time and Melville tried to find the inspiration one last time but they were run ragged and could only watch as Rovers celebrated their fifth title.
ISPS Handa Chatham Cup FinalMelville United 2 (Federico Marquez 12’, Aaron Scott 86’) Napier City Rovers 3 (Jonny McNamara 82’, Liam Schofield 85’, Sho Goto 89’)HT: 1-0Article added: Sunday 08 September 2019