Cambridge twice fought back to earn a hard-fought 2-2 draw against Northland FC in the Lotto NRFL second division match at John Kerkhof Park.
The game was an even encounter with both teams have spells of superiority, and both sides having the chances to win the points.
Cambridge went into the game without first-team regulars Marcela Sosa (suspended), top goalscorer Josh Clarkin (ill), goalkeeper Patrick Steele (injured), and wing-back Callum MacLeod.
Steele’s injury opened the way for a return by long-time goalkeeper Fraser Nicholls, now recovered from a serious injury sustained in pre-season.
Despite their long journey to Cambridge (the Northland bus left at 6am), the visitors started the brightest and deservedly went ahead through Max Thomas after only nine minutes.
Cambridge gradually got into the game and deservedly drew level late in the half when defender Daniel Clarkin got onto a loose ball in the box after a free kick put the Northland defence under pressure. The Clarkin brothers have now provided half the team’s goals so far this season.
Northland had another good spell early in the second half and went 2-1 ahead after 63 minutes with the goal of the match, a controlled volley from 20 metres by Kyran Winterburn.
For the rest of the match, Cambridge had most of the play and kept up the pressure for an equaliser.
It finally came when Elliot Cooper scored his first goal for Cambridge since signing from Takapuna in the summer, a well-taken finish in the 78th minute which gave Northland ‘keeper Shane Stanners no chance.
Both teams had opportunities to steal the win but the rival coaches considered a draw the fair result.
Pictured: Cambridge skipper Patrick Woodlock wins a header. Photo: Louis Roberts.
Please note: Northland goalscorer Kyran Winterburn was a late addition to the team sheet, starting the match as a substitute in shirt 20.
Lotto NRFL results
Claudelands 4-1 Metro (HT: 2-0)
CLA: Jono Viviani 12′ 77′, Owen Comber 32′, Bailey Webster 79′; MET: Josh Chemis 75′
Ngongotaha 3-2 Albany United (HT:1-1)
NGO: Harlem Simiona 27′, Jason Walker 52′, Jordyn Kenyon-Mckay 62′; ALB: Andrew Mobberley 22′ 75′
Takapuna AFC 8-1 Bucklands Beach (HT: 6-1)
TAK: Tommy Miller 10′ 18’51’ 71′, Jack Taylor 22′, Ahmad Al-Shamsi 26′, Matthew Chant 32′, Mitch Miller 37′; BUC: Josh Kingston Smith 11′
Cambridge 2-2 Northland FC (HT: 0-1)
CAM: Daniel Clarkin 53′, Elliot Cooper 78′; NOR: Max Thomas 9′, Kyran Winterburn 63′
Te Atatu 0-2 Franklin United (HT: 0-1)
FRA: Mark Thompson 42′, Charlie Heather 48′
Papakura City 1-3 Onehunga Mangere United (HT:0-2)
PAP: Rajnesh Sharma 53′; ONE: Alex Witteveen 1′ 14′, Stefan Van Der Heijden 79′
The Reds’ reserve team beat Northland FC 4-0 in the early game to stay top of their competition. Click here for match report.
Saturday’s Lotto NRFL second division fixtures were sponsored by RICOH.