Being a man down for more than an hour each failed to stop Miramar Rangers and Bay Olympic winning dramatic semifinal ties this weekend and progressing to the 83rd Chatham Cup football final on September 5.
Miramar fought back from an early deficit and the dismissal of their goalkeeper to claim a 2-1 win over North Shore's East Coast Bays in Wellington today while 10-man Auckland's Bay Olympic defeated Caversham 4-1 on penalties in Dunedin after their epic Saturday semifinal finished 3-3 following extra time.
Three-time winners Miramar had an uphill battle on their hands when goalkeeper Phil Imray was given his marching orders in the 19th minute by referee Antony Riley for bringing down a Bays player and Dan Peat gratefully slotted the resultant penalty kick past replacement 'keeper Joe Morris.
A penalty for a similar offence at the other end by East Coast Bays custodian John Fletcher allowed Michael Eager to draw Miramar level in the 35th minute and a rare foray into East Coast Bay's end of the field in the second half led to defender Campbell Parkin heading the home side into a 55th minute lead.
Short-handed Miramar defended like their lives depended on it, clearing a Dan Peat tap in off the line just after the hour mark and just minutes later Morris palmed a chance onto the crossbar with the Bays follow-up headed off the line.
The numerical balance was restored late in the game when defender Glen Forrest was red carded for bringing down Miramar striker Dominic Rowe.
On Saturday, Bay Olympic goalkeeper Danny Robinson saved two penalties, including one from Tom Jackson who he had earlier gifted Caversham's first goal, to book his side's ticket to North Harbour Stadium.
Yoji Tanabe scrambled home a fifth minute opener for Bay Olympic but Jackson made the most of a Robinson spill in the 21st minute to draw the home side level.
The 66th minute dismissal of Olympic captain Craig Wylie for a dangerous tackle looked to have swung the game firmly in the home side's favour but Tanabe got on the end of a trademark Nathan Strom long-throw three minutes later to head the visitors into an unlikely lead.
Ant Hancock finally drew Caversham level two minutes from fulltime to send the game into extra time and four minutes into the extension Seamus Ryder was on hand to finish off a shot initially saved by Robinson.
Another long throw and a goalmouth scramble led to substitute Richard Beeston making it 3-3 in the 101st minute and with no further score in the second period of extra time, it was left for Robinson's heroics to send the Auckland club through to winter football's domestic showpiece.
The final will be played at North Harbour Stadium in Albany.
Result of Chatham Cup football semifinals:
In Dunedin: Caversham 3 (Tom Jackson, Ant Hancock, Seamus Ryder) Bay Olympic 3 (Yoji Tanabe 2, Richard Beeston). Halftime: 1-1. Fulltime: 2-2. After extra time: 3-3. Bay Olympic win 4-1 on penalties
In Wellington: Miramar Rangers 2 (Michael Eagar, Campbell Parkin) East Coast Bays 1 (Dan Peat). Halftime: 1-1
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