Stop Out off to a stunning Chatham start
Stop Out have provided the biggest upset in the opening round of the Chatham Cup, eliminating three-times champions Western Suburbs on Saturday.
Wests, who most recently won the national knockout competition in 2007, are currently mid-table in the top-flight Central League, while Stop Out are languishing in eighth in the second-tier Capital Premier division.
But all that counted for nought as Stop Out's Martin Packer scored one cracking goal and one lucky one in a 3-1 triumph at Hutt Park.
"We definitely entered with hopes of winning it," said delighted Stop Out co-coach Scott Easthope, whose brother Blair was sent off midway through the second half.
"That made things tough but that's probably about the point we changed the game and really took hold of it. The other 10 worked a bit harder and we scored with 10 so it probably had a positive effect which is odd but how it panned out."
Wests also finished the game with 10 men and Easthope said the visitors "looked far from impressed" after the final whistle.
"As you would expect, to be fair. A Central League club are never going to enjoy losing to a Premier club."
Packer bent the ball inside the far post from outside the box for his first goal while his second came direct from a corner.
"To be fair he was probably a little bit lucky but you take them all," Easthope said.
"He was trying to swing it in right on top of the keeper and it went over him and in."
Stop Out now wait for the identity of their next opponent in the June 4 second round.
The Lower Hutt club is not a stranger to Chatham Cup success – having lifted it way back in 1956 – and while they are a long way from returning to those glory days, Easthope said they were moving in the right direction.
"It's a fantastic club, the last few years they've really made a big push and a bit of a plan to go forward. We've had a bit of a disappointing start to the league and that was a lot of the motivation around the game. In the Chatham Cup you get tempted to try a few things, in a low-risk environment, where maybe a few people don't expect you to win. But we went with a full strength lineup in the hope that a good performance would help turn the season around. We're hopeful that that will happen because we're working really hard at the moment."
Player-coach Steve Gulley was Stop Out's other goalscorer on Saturday.
Upper Hutt City also knocked out a Central League side with a 2-0 win over Tawa while Lower Hutt City beat bitter rivals Petone 2-1 thanks to Andrew Coad's extra-time winner.
Waterside Karori beat Brooklyn Northern United 4-1, Wellington United defeated University 1-0, Olympic outclassed Wainuiomata 4-0, Miramar Rangers overcame North Wellington 2-0 and Island Bay United swept aside Seatoun 6-0.
Defending champions Wairarapa United had a first round bye, as did Inglewood, Maycenvale United, Napier City Rovers, Palmerston North Marist and Wanganui City.
Meanwhile, Auckland City will again fly the Oceania flag at the FIFA Club World Cup after beating Tahitian opponents Tefana 3-1 on aggregate in the O-League final.
Auckland beat Tefana 1-0 in Papeete yesterday after their 2-1 home win in the first leg.
Spanish striker Manel Exposito scored the only goal yesterday to wrap up the competition's golden boot, but Auckland had to endure a nervy ending after Alex Feneridis was dismissed midway through the second half.
Auckland receive a minimum US$500,000 for qualifying for the Club World Cup.
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The Dominion Post