Late goals knock out Richmond
Richmond AFC has been knocked out of the Chatham Cup after two late goals from Coastal Spirit staved off a mighty upset, going down 3-1 at Jubilee Park yesterday.
Richmond, Nelson's last representative in the nation's premier knockout tournament, led with 20 minutes to go against their highly favoured Mainland Premier League opponents. While Richmond don't have enough depth, their starting side showed they could compete well in the MPL, more than footing it with the fifth-placed premier league side.
A casual start from Coastal was typified by a speculative chipped shot that fell dangerously under the crossbar. There was nothing casual about young Richmond keeper Levi Waddington's save as athletically stretched backwards to tip the ball over the bar. A corner was cleared off the line as Coastal camped inside the Richmond half, their settled midfield playing with more control.
The home side were reluctant to push on, but set piece provided them with opportunity to play in advanced areas.
Without leading scorer Gareth Turnbull in the team, Coastal lacked the commanding presence up front. Richmond captain and central defender Daryl Fenemor was easily up to the level of the guys running at him and played out well from the back.
As a somewhat nervous beginning for the home team subsided and Coastal couldn't come up with the opener, Richmond grew in confidence. Keegan Hollis showed endeavour playing on the right in midfield, while Ashley Langbein had a couple of good touches at right back.
Richmond's best opportunity of the half came from a skewed clearance kick from the keeper under pressure. Dion Keetley won the ball and Jamie Creswall controlled inside the box, a touch too far and the angled attempt was easily cleaned up by keeper Eddie Ashton at the near post.
With no score in the first half, Richmond gave home fans hope early as a corner bounced around the box and begged a toe-in that didn't come.
Controlled play through the midfield had Richmond in the right areas. Wiki Tafia had his shot blocked but the ball fell to the busy right wing, Hollis finished with his right foot, sending it above the hapless keeper. Four minutes into the second half, Richmond had a lead in the cup tie.
Coastal were rattled and Richmond were standing tall in defence and were audacious in attack.
Hollis forced a good save from Ashton 10 minutes later when a quality through-ball from Keetley found Hollis on the flank, his curling shot was smothered to the ground in desperate fashion.
Then, with 20 minutes to go, another speculator from range changed the match.
Coastal's Anthony Jones sent a shot from a few metres outside edge of the box. Dipping in front of the otherwise solid Richmond keeper, his diving block bounced up, momentum carried it behind him to bounce off his legs then dribble agonisingly into goal.
Coastal was buoyed and it showed in play. They came forward again through Aaron Spain, his ball into the centre found Triston Nicol on the spot and Waddington pulled off a fine save to keep his team level.
Then, with 15 minutes to go, Keetley was booked for a second time in succession and was sent off the field.
Kilden worked free down the right again, his curling ball in was met by Jones, the header arching up and down and in to the top right corner. There were a couple more decent chances but Coastal had burst the hopes of the home side, ending their cup run.
Yet as fans appreciated Richmond's effort against one of the top sides in the Mainland Federation, so did the opposition coach, Xavier Morin.
"[Richmond] came close to winning this game. I told my team before the game, this is the cup and anything can happen," said Morin.
"The worst thing for us to happen is for Richmond to score first, and to defend deep. They have a very good goal keeper for just 16 years old, he was on fire today with a good sweeper [Fenemor].
"They just struggled the last 15 minutes with physical impact from the Coastal Spirit side, but they did well."
- The Nelson Mail