Pirates claim football's Knockout Cup
Central Pirates added more silverware to their bulging trophy cabinet with a 4-0 win over Blenheim Valley United in Marlborough Football's Knockout Cup final on Saturday.
A hat-trick to Sam Pearson and a late strike by Liam Sluiter ensured the round one and two league winners justified their favouritism against a side who battled gamely but could not match Pirates' firepower.
The first half was a scrappy affair. After just three minutes United right back Wouter Brandsma suffered a leg injury but, as his team had no bench, he bravely played on. The resulting personnel reshuffle upset United's pattern and they spent most of the first spell defending, creating only one serious effort at goal.
However Pirates struggled to take maximum advantage of their opponent's discomfort, their only return in the first spell being the first of Pearson's goals after 35 minutes. Pirates created an overlap on the left and when the cross came in the ever-alert Pearson was there to drive the ball home.
Pirates coach Paul Finnegan was not happy with his side's play in the early stages. "We weren't composed enough. We were rushing things and our passing was horrendous," he suggested.
At the halftime break the experienced coach asked his side to slow the game down and concentrate on their passing. "They were trying these 50/50 balls which, if they worked, they would look great, but it just doesn't happy all the time. So we got back to our normal patient game and the goals came."
Pearson scored his second six minutes into the second spell, good interplay by Jordy Columbus and Aaron Hayes in midfield creating the opportunity for his well-struck shot.
His third came 10 minutes later as fatigue kicked in and United's dogged resistance began to wane.
Sluiter's goal, in the 80th minute, was the icing on the cake, the defender scoring with a cheeky back heel after Bryce Smith had beaten three defenders and provided an accurate cross.
United created more opportunities in the second spell, mainly through the efforts of Sam Patterson, Take Thu, Alick Damelip and Ben Profitt, while keeper Liam Kennedy also had a strong game, denying several Pirates' raids.
To their credit United fought hard until the final whistle, being unlucky not to pick up a consolation goal during what team spokesman Glen Profitt described as something of a "David and Goliath" match-up.
Finnegan was impressed with Pearson and Sluiter's efforts. "Liam was outstanding at the back while Sam's energy up front really helped. He keeps pressure on the defenders all the time. James Coughlan played really well in defence while [keeper] Regan Chambers kept another clean sheet. He handled anything he had to do with ease.
"This game is a good platform for the Top of the South competition [which begins on July 29] ... when we will try to bring some glory back from Nelson," he added with a smile.
Other football final scores
KO Shield Final: Rangers Clubs of Marlborough 4 BV Masters 3. KO Bowl Final: Central 3 BV Woodbourne 1. KO Plate Final: BV Cobras 5 Picton Crow Tavern Masters 3.