The Central League's proud Chatham Cup record continued yesterday as Miramar Rangers and Lower Hutt City advanced to the semifinals in contrasting fashion.
Since 2000, Central League teams have claimed seven of the 12 cups, with Rangers and Napier City Rovers grabbing two apiece and Western Suburbs, Wellington Olympic and Wairarapa United the others.
Four-time winners Rangers swept past Dunedin Technical 5-1 in their quarterfinal at David Farrington Park, scoring three of their goals in the last 15 minutes.
Technical got off to the worst possible start, conceding an own goal in just the fourth minute as Tristan Prattley deflected a Luke Rowe cross into the top corner of his net.
Victor Da Costa headed in from a corner to equalise in the 24th minute but Sam Mason-Smith restored Rangers' advantage two minutes later.
The 2-1 scoreline remained intact for 50 minutes before Patrick Fleming's rocketing volley in the 77th minute broke the back of the visitors.
Mason-Smith then grabbed a second - his 10th goal in this year's cup - before Dominic Rowe netted the fifth in the 87th minute.
Lower Hutt and Birkenhead United played out a 3-2 thriller in Auckland.
Wellington Phoenix academy striker Hamish Watson put Lower Hutt in front in the second minute, tapping home after his penalty was tipped on to the post.
Pomare Te Anau then doubled the lead nine minutes later but Ashley Crawford's goal had Birkenhead back in the game just before halftime.
The home side built on that momentum after the break and drew level through Jack Salter but were caught on the break with 10 minutes remaining when a Watson effort was parried by John Fletcher, but only as far as substitute James Vernon to net what would prove to be the winning goal.
Birkenhead thought they had equalised again from a corner only for the referee to rule the ball hadn't crossed the line.
Their frustration boiled over when coach Paul Hobson was sent from the bench for dissent.
The other teams through to the semifinals are Caversham (Dunedin) and Central United (Auckland)
Central beat Eastern Suburbs 2-0 as both teams finished with 10 men at Kiwitea St, in Auckland.
In Dunedin, Caversham edged past a spirited Manukau City side 3-1 at the Caledonian but had to do so with 10 men for most of the second half. A nasty 50-50 challenge between Caversham striker Tom Jackson and Manukau City goalkeeper Sergio Bustos resulted in the latter being hospitalised with a broken leg.
Play was subdued upon return from a lengthy delay while Bustos was treated on the pitch.
The semifinal draw will be made this morning with the final scheduled for August 26.
Meanwhile, Massey University became the first Palmerston North team to reach the final of the women's Knockout Cup by upsetting highly fancied Claudelands Rovers 4-1 yesterday.
They will join Three Kings United in the August 26 showpiece.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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