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One weekend, two Olympics

Bay Olympic 4, East Coast Bays 3
Olympic Park, Auckland, June 4 2012

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It’s only round two of the Chatham Cup but already the draw is throwing up some interesting ties. Part of the allure of cup competitions is that the two best teams can meet at any time from round one to the final. In this instance, the current Northern Premier League pace setters were drawn to face the current runners up very early in the competition – a situation that neither side would have relished.

For the neutral though, it was always going to be a mouthwatering prospect, and for the home club at least, it would have been a nice little earner with a very pleasing crowd I would estimate to be around 500 in attendance to witness a thriller.

Afterwards, East Coast Bays supporters felt their team had dominated the match and were disadvantaged by some questionable refereeing decisions. I would suggest though that their team only really had themselves to blame for their early cup exit. In particular they will surely be ruing a missed penalty very early in the match that if life was straightforward, could have resulted in the game going to extra time had it been converted.

Following the disappointment of their penalty miss, their woes were compounded by the concession of a penalty at the other end via a clumsy tackle by their goalkeeper. A less preventable Bay Olympic goal was then scored from a well taken header off a corner. This made the score 2-0 as the teams trudged from the pitch at half time, East Coast Bays players and officials remonstrating forcefully with the referees all the way into the changing rooms.

In contrast, when they came out for the second half the visitors looked much more focused and composed. Huddled in a tight circle, they looked as though they had decided it was them against the world. The change was not immediately positive however as their determination to get back into the game left them exposed at the back and saw a soft goal conceded to make the deficit 3-0 early in the second half.

It was not over yet though! A few minutes later, the Bays were awarded a penalty that, in contrast to their first, was coolly slotted home. Then Bay Olympic handed them a real lifeline by conceding an own goal to take the score to 3-2.

Everyone in the ground thought it was goodnight nurse when Olympic made it 4-2 late in the second half but East Coast Bays refused to die, taking it to 4-3 in injury time and making a brave attempt at an equaliser before the ref blew time on this pulsating encounter.

As you would expect from two good sides, anyone could have won it, although East Coast Bays were always playing catch-up after going so far behind. Great credit must go to them for their awesome fight back though. They should find some consolation in the knowledge that they bowed out of the cup to one of the best teams in New Zealand, a Bay Olympic side that could well be on their way to going one better than last year and winning the double.

Categories: NZ Chatham Cup

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Enzo Giordani

A grassroots sports photography enthusiast based in Auckland, New Zealand, and a fan of the most magnificent football club on earth - A.S. Roma.

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