Harris Cup goes west

Marlborough’s Tore Waechter rises for a header during Saturday’s match. Photo: Shuttersport.

Football’s Harris Cup will send the summer on the other side of the Whangamoas.

After a 2-2 draw in the first leg, played in Blenheim last weekend, FC Nelson stepped up on home turf to beat a Marlborough side 4-1 on Saturday, claiming honours in the resurrected provincial showdown.

In a joint effort between Marlborough Football and their Nelson counterparts the traditional fixture was rekindled this year, with a Marlborough Invitation XI taking on FC Nelson, winners of the 2019 Nelson division one competition.

The Harris Cup was last contested in a home-and-away series in 2008, when the trophy was claimed by Marlborough. In 2012 the first leg was played, but not the second, meaning the long-standing trophy, first contested in 1929, remained in Marlborough hands until Saturday.

At Saxton Field, Nelson opened the scoring through skipper Nick Crosswell inside 10 minutes but Marlborough responded immediately and began to achieve dominance, ensuring the scoreline stayed at 1-0 when the teams entered the halftime break.

On the resumption the visitors upped the ante but were unable to take advantage of the clear-cut chances they created.

FC, however, did just that and grabbed their second on the break midway through the spell. Down 2-0, Marlborough pushed forward in search of goals and were twice exposed at the back, the home side putting the game out of reach.

Marlborough manager Andrew McCaa said, “the boys played well but missed scoring opportunities cost us dearly in the end.”

Scores: FC Nelson 4 (Nick Crosswell, Labu Pan, Harrison McFadgen, Brandon Pirere) Marlborough Invitation XI 1 (Julian Delgado). HT: 1-0 FC Nelson

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