Cambridge has been docked a competition point after Northern League administrators ruled the Reds incorrectly fielded a suspended player in their 1-1 draw at Papakura City on June 23.
The decision means the result has been declared a 3-0 forfeit win to Papakura, subject to any appeal lodged by Cambridge FC.
On June 9, Cambridge player Jamie Woodlock was sent off against Ngongotaha. He received a one-match suspension and the club was notified that further consideration of the penalty was pending.
After standing down for one game, Woodlock played against Papakura on June 23. At that stage, no further penalty had been imposed on the player.
Following that game, the Northern League advised that Woodlock was to stand down for two more games.
Papakura protested the result of the 1-1 draw.
The NRFL initially turned down the protest and confirmed the result would stand.
Papakura contested that decision and the NRFL has overturned its original decision.
What it means
The loss of the point and the addition of two points for bottom-placed Papakura means the league positions in the bottom half of the Lotto NRFL second division have tightened, with any two of seven clubs at risk of relegation by finishing in the bottom two places.
If Cambridge win at Te Atatu on Saturday, the club will be safe from relegation, regardless of what happens in the final round of games on September 1 when the Reds travel to divisional champions Takapuna.
Club chairman Steve Thomas said it was disappointing that the Northern League had reversed its original decision on the Papakura protest.
“We haven’t at any stage deliberately flouted the rules and we believe we followed the right procedures to check our player was eligible to play in the game against Papakura.”
The club has till next week to decide whether to appeal the decision.
Revised league standings
Onehunga Mangere United v Northland FC – Mangere Domain, 3pm
Te Atatu v Cambridge FC – Te Atatu Peninsula Park, 3pm
Ngongotaha AFC v Bucklands Beach – Tamarai Reserve, 3pm
Takapuna v Franklin United – Taharoto Park, 3pm
Claudelands Rovers v Albany United – Galloway Park, 3pm
Papakura City FC v Metro FC – McLennan Park Stadium 5pm