Marlborough football won’t be represented in the second round of the prestigious Chatham Cup this season after Central were beaten by Tahuna in the first round of the nationwide competition on Saturday.
The Dark Blues turned in a highly-competitive effort at Athletic Park, conceding just one goal, an 18th-minute effort by striker Daniel Grimshaw after the Central defence was exposed by a series of short passes.
Tahuna play in the Nelson division one competition, the league won by Rangers FC last year, and brought a greater intensity to the early stages of the game.
They deserved to be in front at the break, looking the more dangerous side, especially on the break, although Central showed warning signs just before halftime that they were beginning to find better cohesion.
Given the home side was composed from players from two division one teams, Pirates and Wolves, it was no surprise their combinations took time to gel, but a change in formation at halftime also helped.
Dave Turner, named Central’s man of the match was pushed further forward and the home team began to threaten more often, creating half a dozen chances.
However it was the Tahuna side who managed to get the ball into the net in the second spell, only to controversially have a goal ruled out through handball, while Central continued to spurn their chances.
They had a late opportunity to force an equalizer when midfielder Ben Blackman slammed the ball goalward, only to see it fly wide.
Jordy Columbus was a standout, controlling the midfield well after running the St Clair Half Marathon in the morning. The defensive quartet of Aaron Vercoe, Matt Goldsworthy, Paddy Smith and Andrew McCaa were strong at the back, while Scott Wilkinson impressed off the bench.
Central spokesman McCaa said Tahuna had the better of the first 45 minutes but his side decided at halftime to “have a go”, bringing a much more attacking mind-set to proceedings.
“They were probably a level above us in the first half and we were a bit gun-shy … we didn’t play much football, just sat back a bit deep.
“Then we figured them out at halftime, pushed further forward, became more direct and got more reward, but just couldn’t get the equalizer.
“Unfortunately when you combine two teams into one, and you haven’t done much work together, it takes quite a bit of time to become settled.”
However McCaa said the Central lads were proud of their efforts. “We threw everything at it and generally we held them pretty well. It was a good day for the club.”
In the only division one fixture played on Saturday, Rangers AFC came out on top of Blenheim Valley Marlborough Boys’ College 8-3.
The sides were locked together at the top of the standing s going into the game at A and P Park but Rangers proved too strong, scoring four goals in each half of a high-quality, high-speed encounter. Adam Rose netted three goals, as did Sam Patterson, while Liam Foreman and Sam Pearson bagged one each for Rangers in what coach John Denmark described as “a very good overall squad performance”.
Despite trailing 4-0 at halftime, MBC showed their fighting qualities to score twice through Shinji Mikame, his first from the penalty spot which seemed to unsettle Rangers.
At 4-2 MBC sniffed a chance of victory and chased the game, leaving space for the Rangers front three to capitalize on and they took full advantage to pull away again
Captain Sid Knobben added the third MBC goal and played well alongside Jack Wilkin and Ryan Palmer.
In catch-up games, Central Wolves will play BV Masters at A and P Park on Tuesday, while Pirates will meet Rangers Clubs of Marlborough on Wednesday under lights. Both games kick off at 6pm.
Chatham Cup – Tahuna 1 (Daniel Grimshaw) Central 0. HT: 1-0
Marlborough division one – Rangers AFC 8 BV MBC 3. HT: 4-0
Tasman women’s division one – Blenheim Valley Bullets 1 Richmond Hothouse Foxes 3.