Mud fails to sidetrack FC Nelson
FC Nelson Fuji Xerox completed a remarkable first competition year for the club when they claimed the Price Charity Cup in a 4-1 victory over Richmond.
The conditions at Jubilee Park on Saturday were testing for both players and spectators alike.
The lashings of wind and rain persisted but so, too, did a determined Fuji side that scored three goals in the final 30 minutes to take the knockout cup, adding it to FC Nelson Sprig and Fern's division one title.
Queen Street Pharmacy Richmond First XI entered the match without two of the team's most influential players.
Captain Daryl Fenemor and one of the season's top goalscorers, Mike Campbell, both went down with injuries midweek.
Fuji opened the scoring through Ben Pitcaithly in the 14th minute, but even without the experienced duo, Richmond pushed Fuji to breaking point and were unlucky not to go into the break on level terms.
Still, Richmond were able to continue the fight, the young side equalising through a Glen Pearless header 10 minutes into the second half.
When Pitcaithly took his second just a few minutes later, Fuji took advantage of the lull in Richmond's confidence with two more quick goals.
Sean Parkes went on a run and buried a shot in the corner after playing a fine 1-2 with Jacob Pellowe and Johnny Gough finished the match from inside the box following good buildup from the back.
In that last period of the game, Fuji belied the conditions to play a quality of football that would have looked at home on a dry track. For large periods Fuji controlled possession and created a host of chances, the conversion rate was quite low, in part to due desperate defence and the keeping of Cam Watson.
Winning coach Robbie Hansen said he was very proud of his side's attitude throughout the season and that was reflected in their final effort.
"The side battled right till the final whistle in difficult conditions. Before the match the guys were very relaxed and I took that as a good, positive sign they were definitely up for this game.
"I was so pleased for my guys - they really deserved to get something from this season after working so hard. I really wanted a result for their efforts over the season.
"To Richmond's credit they were definitely worthy of being finalists. Richmond has got some really good young players coming through and they are certainly going to be a force in the first division."
In the earlier division two final, AMI Nelson Suburbs Second XI overturned a recent result and tipped up Sprig and Fern Motueka First XI 3-1 to claim the Gould and Tout Trophy.
A week earlier, Motueka had beaten Suburbs 5-1 in a dead rubber after they could no longer win the Top of the South league. But the Suburbs players said they were "stirred up" when their big loss was featured in the match preview in the Nelson Mail.
Suburbs made four changes for the knockout final, Brett Yates came into goal, Gerard Bonny into centre defence, Glen Baumfield started on the wing and Greg Chitty came in to play in the hole behind the central striker and captain Danny Walsh.
Bonny opened the scoring for Suburbs before pressure from a corner brought about an own goal from Motueka.
Walsh then set off celebrations with a well struck free kick.
Soon after the final whistle, the revelry began as Suburbs claimed the one title that eluded them in 2011.
The Gould and Tout Trophy was presented to Walsh by Wellington Phoenix striker Jeremy Brockie, who was there to take in most of the three finals.
Golden Bay edged Speight's Ale House Tahuna Second XI 1-0 for the third division's A R Hurst Trophy final. Even though this game had fewer goals than the other finals played at the same venue, this tense affair was just as entertaining.
The fixture hung in the balance for most of the match and could have gone either way. Bay's Bodhi Symmons finally broke the deadlock 20 minutes from time after hitting the crossbar earlier in the half.
Symmons broke through the defence to shoot from the edge of the 18-yard box. Perhaps the Tahuna keeper should have done better as he almost rolled over the top of the ball, but in finals you make your own luck.
The Nelson Mail