Cambridge celebrated the return of Northern League football to John Kerkhof Park with an emphatic 5-1 victory against Hamilton’s Claudelands Rovers.
Teenager Josh Clarkin, who scored the Reds’ first goal of the season at Ngongotaha last week, grabbed a hat-trick in a home game that attracted a large and supportive Good Friday crowd.
The Reds came out firing on all cylinders and took the lead after 13 minutes through striker Dylan Blair.
He added his second in the 23rd minute before midfielder Josh Clarkin made it 3-0 on the half hour.
Clarkin increased the lead to 4-0 in the 36th minute.
Rovers significantly improved after half-time and the second spell was more even with Reds goalkeeper Patrick Steele making a couple of important saves.
Claudelands reduced the deficit when Bailey Webster scored in the 58th minute but Clarkin found his third goal of the game as the match neared final whistle.
Both Blair and Clarkin scored for Cambridge in last week’s season opener, a 5-2 win at Ngongotaha.
The match was the first time in more than seven years that the first teams from these clubs had met in a competitive fixture.
Results from other Lotto NRFL second division fixtures: Te Atatu 3, Ngongotaha 2; Northland 0, Takapuna 3; Onehunga Mangere 2, Bucklands Beach 4; Metro 1, Albany United 3; Papakura City 0, Franklin United 2.
Pictured: Clarkin scores his third goal in the game’s dying minutes. Photo: Louis Roberts.
Cambridge coach Mike Woodlock says hard work at training in the lead-up to Easter was the key to the win.
Photo gallery (1)
Today’s gallery of images from official Reds photographer Louis Roberts:
Photo gallery (2)
Friend-of-the-club and photographer Grant Stantiall was at the game. Check out his gallery of images here.
Our 2018 squad