The Eastbourne senior side lost their Chatham Cup preliminary round tie against Naenae on Tuesday by 0-4, but it is was very much a scoreline that flattered the home side.
With 16 places between the teams, over two grades in the Capital Football tier system, the Tangerine’s kept their more favoured opposition at bay for the first 60 minutes, when down by a solitary goal, a relatively soft penalty was awarded to the hosts that changed the game.
With time to go and the expansive game that Eastbourne were playing, 0-2 was not an insurmountable lead to have hauled back, but the team had given everything they had and were simply run down in the last 10 minutes.
With just the one sub and an average playing age on the day of 18.4, it was a more than merit-able performance by the young squad and a great experience for them, especially those who had not played a Chatham Cup fixture before.
NZ football’s prestigious trophy, first competed for in 1923, is our equivalent of the English FA Cup and for most the first taste was one of excitement. “It was tough”, said midfielder Cared Blackham, “but we held our structure as best we could and put up a great fight, even a man down for the first 10 minutes. It was a great learning experience.”