Cambridge’s preparation for their return to Northern League football received a boost with a free-scoring win against Te Awamutu at John Kerkhof Park.
The Reds cruised to a 7-2 win despite resting skipper Patrick Woodlock and trying a few positional changes as part of the team’s planning.
It was Cambridge’s second pre-season win, both against WaiBOP Premiership opposition, after the previous weekend’s 4-2 win against Otumoetai.
Daniel Clarkin got the Reds underway with an opening goal from close in.
Newcomer Jason Walker, who previously played for Rotorua United in the Premiership, created the second goal, beating his midfield markers and then sending the perfect ball for Theo Petropolous to finish.
Te Awamutu’s Joel Roil cashed in a defensive mix-up to pull a goal back for the visitors.
Another new player, Marcelo Sosa, put Cambridge ahead 3-1 and Joshua Clarkin extended the lead with a trademark header, neatly turned into the net.
Substitute Kyle Stead pushed the lead to 5-1 with a coolly-taken shot from the left of goal.
Despite the heat, and the mounting score, Te Awamutu did not surrender and continued to fight for possession. Their efforts paid off when Roil picked up his second goal.
Wideman Callum MacLeod then added Cambridge’s sixth before long-serving Nathan Claridge finished off the scoring with a rare but much-deserved goal.
Cambridge’s performance demonstrated the potential this squad has for finding goals and newcomers Bradley Rea (from Melville United), Wayne Teague (from the UK), Sosa and Walker all made excellent contributions.
Meanwhile, Cambridge’s goalkeeping duties were entrusted to New Zealand Under 18’s futsal international Patrick Steele who turned in a confident display. He replaced regular ‘keeper Fraser Nicholls who badly injured an eye socket and his retina in a knock last week.
Nicholls faces at least eight weeks in recovery.
- Next Saturday (March 3), the Reds host Auckland club Papatoetoe in a first team/reserves double header at John Kerkhof Park. The pre-season games kick off at 12.30pm (reserves) and 2.45pm (main game).
Match photo gallery
Images courtesy of Cambridge FC official photographer Louis Roberts.