No Old Trafford trip for FC Nelson under-15s

JONATHAN MCKEOWN IN CHRISTCHURCH
Last updated 13:00 11/02/2013

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It was heartbreak again for Nelson as a goal in the final five seconds of the Manchester United Nike Cup saw the FC Nelson under-15 side lose the South Island final in extra time yesterday.

The 2-1 loss to Cashmere Technical at ASB Football Park was not without controversy. Star player Matt Tod-Smith was forced to sit out the tournament decider for accumulating two yellow cards, despite its being a final.

An hour's turnaround after a draining semifinal on a scorching day also did the visitors no favours.

However, some form of vindication came for FC Nelson, as the general consensus of the six tournament coaches was that they were the most complete side.

"All the other coaches said they were the best footballing side at the tournament, but in tournament play, anything can happen," coach Francis Miccio said.

With a potential trip to play at Old Trafford going to the winners, there would have been a number of "what if?" questions on the drive back to Nelson.

The FC Nelson and Richmond Athletic teams that took part in the six-team tournament qualified from a local tournament before travelling to Christchurch for the next leg of the international Fifa-sanctioned competition. Only one made the showpiece, after the Nelson teams played each other in the semifinals.

In what was described as the game of the two-day tournament, the teams could not be separated when regular time finished at 2-all.

A period of extra time could not help, but the penalty shootout saw FC Nelson progress.

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- The Nelson Mail

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