Football: Dominant Hutt overwhelms Caversham

Lower Hutt City celebrates a goal during its 4-0 win against Caversham in the semifinal of the...
Lower Hutt City celebrates a goal during its 4-0 win against Caversham in the semifinal of the Chatham Cup at the Caledonian yesterday. Photo by Craig Baxter.
Lower Hutt City's small band of supporters chanted "Hutt, Hutt, Hutt" to the tune of Hot, Hot, Hot.

And that about summed up their side's performance in Chatham Cup semifinal match against Caversham at the Caledonian yesterday.

The Wellington-based side dominated the fixture to win 4-0 and probably should have scored another couple at least.

Caversham, for its part, was lucky to score nought. It squandered the wind during an insipid opening half and fell apart midway through the second spell.

For Caversham, it was its sixth appearance in the semifinals in eight years. And while frustrated to have missed a place in the final yet again, Caversham coach Richard Murray accepted his side was thoroughly outplayed.

"I thought we were gun-shy in that first half and it took us 15 minutes before we got into the match," Murray said.

"If we had taken a few opportunities it might have been a different match but they played that first half really well.

"We've got to play harder games more regularly.

"That is the key.

"To get better in these big games you've got to be playing the hard games week-in, week-out."

Hutt has the advantage playing in the tough Central League, while Caversham plays in a much weaker league.

That said, Caversham did not give a great account of itself.

Strikers Evan Jones and Tim Cook were thrust into the role when regulars Ant Hancock was ruled out with an injury and Tom Jackson went back to the United States where he attends university.

Jones gave a pedestrian performance and was replaced early in the second half, and Cook was unable to make the most of his rare scoring opportunities.

At the other end, Hutt captain Hamish Watson looked like scoring every time he got the ball at his feet.

He ran on to a beautiful pass from the impressive Tobias Bertsch on seven minutes and blasted a shot towards goal.

It brought out the best in Liam Little who dived hard to his right and deflected the ball, but only as far as Watson who sprayed his second attempt.

Moments later, Caversham had another narrow escape when Watson hit the post with a thunderous left-foot shot.

A worried Murray signalled his bench to warm up as Hutt kept pressing forward and creating chance after chance.

The inevitable goal came from a corner in 38th minute.

The ball was nodded down harmlessly but Watson was in the perfect position to toe the ball in.

Shortly after the break, Watson hit the post again.

Murray had seen enough and replaced Ben Hawkey with Anton Ross and Jones made way for Seamus Ryder.

The pair brought more fluency to Caversham's passing game, but Hutt had the wind at its back and a surprising strike from Pomare Te Anau in the 63rd minute broke the home side's spirit.

Te Anau found space and blasted a wind-assisted shot into the right-hand corner from about 25m out.

A third to Taban Makoii a few moments later effectively sealed the victory.

Impressive defender Andrew Coad pressed forward in the dying moments to grab a sweetener, much to the delight of the Hutt faithful.

The club was formed in 1921 and had never qualified for the final of the Chatham Cup until yesterday.

"I'm happy they've reached the final," Hutt coach Brendan McIntyre said.

"I think they deserve to be there, too.

"We've got a young squad but I thought they acquitted themselves tremendously today.

"I think there was only one team in it.

"It is the first time we've reached the final, so from that point of view, it is very pleasing.

"It is great for everyone who has put time and effort into this team and club."

In the other semifinal, Central United beat Miramar Rangers 6-0.

Miramar finished with eight men after a series of red cards.

Former Caversham player Patrick Fleming was sent off for a second yellow and reportedly suffered a serious injury.


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