A new era dawned for Otago University AFC when we were drawn away to six times winners North Shore United in the Quarter Finals of the 2021 Chatham Cup. Not only will this be our first ever Quarter Final it will also be the first time we have faced an Auckland side in a competitive fixture.
After a solid start to the season where we failed to pick up maximum points in only two games, the second round of the Southern Premiership saw a more difficult run of fixtures where any hope of winning the title was extinguished in losses to Mosgiel, Northern, South City Royals and Green Island between which Queenstown were defeated 1 nil via a classy En Watanabe goal in a nervy away fixture in round two of the Chatham Cup.
With University of Otago holidays we faced a do or die fixture with Green Island in the third round of the cup, a brilliant first half saw us 4 nil up and confident to ride out the game which we did eventually winning 5-1 with goals to Oban Hawkins (2), En Watanabe (2) and Jack Kelly.
The next set of fixtures then became about the league as we looked to qualify for the Southern Conference of the National League. Queenstown were dispatched 5-1 before a tough game away to Roslyn-Wakari who were in the box seat to qualify for the final spot. A hat trick to Aidan Barbour-Ryan and a resolute defence saw us win 3-2 and take the final spot, in to the next phase of the league and in a good run of form.
On to the Chatham Cup Fourth Round against South City Royals who had taken over the vacant Caledonian Ground in North Dunedin as their home ground so very much a home away from home. A lightening quick start to the game with goals to Oban Hawkins and Finn Rathbone saw us in control and ready to weather the aerial bombardment that comes from this newly formed team. With the defensive unit in good form we held them out managing two late goals to En Watanabe and Yun Sung Chang with South City Royals also scoring a well taken goal. A 4-1 win an on to our first ever Chatham Cup Quarter Final.
As a group the boys met on campus to determine who we would face with fingers crossed for a home fixture at the Logan Park Turfs. When our name was drawn away to North Shore United there was a huge feeling of excitement with training that evening intensifying significantly.
An away fixture to Auckland brings significant costs to the club, we have estimated that the full cost of attending will be in the range of $10,000 and have commenced a series of fundraising initiatives to get the boys to Auckland. Alongside these fundraising efforts we are also in discussions with the University of Otago and have singed on board a new supporter in Lateral Partners.