Cambridge lost an entertaining match to league leaders Takapuna AFC, going down 3-2 at John Kerkhof Park.
Both teams finished the day with 10 men on the pitch in a game full of thrills and incident.
Cambridge went into the game without skipper Patrick Woodlock and striker Wayne Teague, both of whom were suspended.
The league leaders struck first when Tommy Miller scored a clever goal, stroking a cross into the Cambridge net after 12 minutes.
The game took a twist 10 minutes later when Takapuna midfielder Ahmad Al-Samshi was given a straight red card after a fracas following a tackle.
Cambridge grew in confidence as the half wore on but the visitors played well with a man short, making the home side work for possession.
After half-time, Cambridge came out strongly and put the Takapuna goal under pressure.
The Reds equalised after 53 minutes when leading scorer Josh Clarkin netted for the ninth time this season, firing home from the edge of the box.
Just as Cambridge looked to be gaining the ascendancy, a rash tackle by midfielder Marcelo Sosa led to him being sent off for a second yellow card.
With both teams down to 10, the game became more of an even contest, and gradually Takapuna started to show why they are the only unbeaten team in the division.
With 20 minutes to go, Takapuna regained the lead through Jack Taylor.
And then came a killer blow in the 76th minute when Matt Hawke struck to make it 3-1.
Cambridge kept battling to the end and were rewarded when Josh Clarkson scored his second of the game (and tenth of the season) to make it 3-2.
But the ref’s whistle ended any hopes of a last-gasp draw and Cambridge now look forward to hosting Ngongotaha at John Kerkhof Park next Saturday.
Lotto NRFL second division results
Te Atatu 2-2 Northland FC (HT: 2-1)
TEA: Rhys Caples 19′, Andrew Dalton 33′; NOR: Caleb Russ 40′, Own Goal 78′
Cambridge FC 2-3 Takapuna (HT: 0-1)
CAM: Josh Clarkin 53′ 90′; TAK: Tommy Miller 13′, Jack Taylor 70′, Matt Hawke 76′
Onehunga Mangere United 0-0 Metro (HT: 0-0)
Claudelands Rovers 2-0 Bucklands Beach (HT: 0-0)
CLA: Perry Katesmark 65′ (PEN), Jackson Houlihan 68′
Ngongotaha 2-1 Franklin United (HT: 2-0)
NGO: Jason Walker 8′, Yamil Casas 18′
FRA: Mark Thompson 76′
Papakura City 1-5 Albany United (HT: 0-2)
PAP: Rajnesh Sharma 73′; ALB: Dev Pokhrel 18′, Andrew Mobberley 39′, Gareth Clark 50′, Alex McTiernan 51′, Jack Hadfield 90+3′
The Cambridge reserves beat Takapuna 3-1 to remain top of the reserves’ competition.