Cambridge coach Paul Richardson can finally celebrate his first win since taking charge of the Reds after his side battled for a vital 1-0 win against Onehunga Mangere United.
Richardson had encountered a frustrating run of five draws, and a narrow loss, in his first half dozen games but Cambridge came good with an important win at John Kerkhof Park.
Importantly, the team recorded their first clean sheet of the season.
The Reds went into the game without the Woodlock brothers – skipper Patrick was still injured while midfielder Jamie was suspended.
For the opening 20 minutes, Cambridge exerted all the pressure and had the best of the chances.
But it was Onehunga Mangere who almost scored first when they found the net in the 37th minute only to have it ruled offside.
In the second half, both teams had opportunities from set pieces but Cambridge cashed in first. A corner was not properly cleared and the ball fell to midfielder Marcelo Sosa who volleyed it into the net from 18 metres.
The Cambridge supporters – backed by an enthusiastic drum and trumpet band – went into raptures and the players responded by scrapping for every ball.
As the clock wound down, the visitors had a couple of chances which they wasted.
Cambridge’s Nathan Claridge was sent off in the 90th minute after receiving a second yellow card.
The win lifts Cambridge into mid-table and leaves Onehunga Mangere United flirting with the relegation zone.
After the match, Cambridge coach Richardson named centre back Jack Portegys as the Player of the Day while OMU’s coach Brian Turner chose goalkeeper Fergus Connolly as his side’s best performer.
Main photo: Cambridge’s Bradley Rea prepares to shoot through the OMU defence.
Lotto NRFL second division results
Te Atatu 3-4 Papakura City FC (HT: 2-1)
TEA: Rhys Caples 21′, Stefan Milosevic 45′, Zen Baatjes 58′; PAP: Argyle Morling 39′, Ben Mata 51′ (PEN), Jacob Lynch 60′, Jack Cameron 88′
Claudelands Rovers 1-3 Takapuna (HT: 1-2)
CLA: Owen Comber 19′; TAK: Jack Taylor 24′ 38′ 90+2′
Bucklands Beach AFC 3-0 Albany United (HT: 0-0)
BUC: Daniel Culpan 60′ 66′ 88′
Ngongotaha 2-1 Northland (HT: 1-0)
NGO: Harlem Simiona 30′, Luke Barker 66′; NOR: Finn Diamond 68′
Franklin United 1-3 Metro FC (HT: 1-2)
FRA: Jake McCoy 15′; MET: Josh Chemis 14′ 25′ 84′ (pen)
Cambridge 1-0 Onehunga Mangere United (HT: 0-0)
CAM: Marcelo Sosa 51′
Video clips from the match, including Marcelo Sosa’s match-winning goal and coach Paul Richardson’s aftermatch comments:
Here’s a collection of images from the game by the club’s official photographer Louis Roberts:
Cambridge’s reserves were awarded a 3-0 win by default after Onehunga Mangere United were unable to field a team to play their NRFL second division reserves game.