Second-half goals from teenagers Toby Hartley and Nathan Hallum rescued a 2-1 win for Cambridge reserves after the team trailed Papakura City for much of their game at McLennan Park.
Hallum grabbed the winner in added time, volleying into the roof of the net after team mate Andrew Taylor came down amidst appeals for a penalty.
It was a dramatic way to end a match in which both teams had spells in control.
Papakura had the better of the first half, giving Cambridge goalkeeper Patrick Espin more action in 45 minutes than he seems to have had in any full game this season.
Deservingly, Papakura went ahead in the 37th minute when Cory Mackay ran into space – with Cambridge appealling for offside – to calmly slot the ball past Espin.
Cambridge began the second half with more resolve and urgency and gradually started to take control.
On the hour, Aaron Huesser had a clear cut chance but pushed his shot across the face of the goal.
Two minutes later, Hartley got into much the same position but carefully steered his shot inside the far post to level the score at 1-1.
From there on, Cambridge poured on the pressure as the team went in search of their seventh successive league win.
With the referee counting down added time, Taylor fell in the box, appealling for a spot kick, and the ball rebounded to Hallum who managed to keep his reflex shot down and just under the bar to score.
The manner of the victory was a tribute to the team’s youngsters who added spark when older players started to lag.
Goalscorers Hartley (16) and Hallum (15) are both in their first season of senior football.
The win keeps Cambridge at the top of the reserves competition.
After the match, we caught up with goalscorers Toby Hartley and Nathan Hallum for their descriptions of their goals:
Cambridge’s first team drew 1-1 with Papakura City in the main game at McLennan Park.