Cambridge have secured Northern League football for next year with an emphatic 5-0 win against relegation-threatened Te Atatu.
The Reds needed three points from the match in Auckland to make sure the club could not finish in the bottom two places of the Lotto NRFL second division, risking relegation from the competition.
And Cambridge could not have been more assertive in taking control of the match, ensuring the season’s final game (away to divisional champions Takapuna) is academic interest only.
Striker Callum MacLeod led the way with a hat-trick, the first of which he scored to give Cambridge the lead after 24 minutes.
As the half went into added time, MacLeod sunk the hearts of home supporters with the Reds’ second goal, giving the visitors a 2-0 lead at half-time.
With Cambridge fans keeping watch on results from other grounds, the half-time scores were showing all the relegation-threatened teams in strong positions – Northland were leading Onehunga Mangere United 1-0, while Ngongotaha were 2-0 against Bucklands Beach.
But the Reds came out for the second half determined to keep destiny in their own hands.
Cambridge began strongly and MacLeod quickly completed his hat-trick.
Midfielder Marcelo Sosa then struck a screamer on the hour to extend the Reds’ lead to 4-0.
Jamie Woodlock continued his recent goalscoring form when he added Cambridge’s fifth goal from the penalty spot as the game entered its final stages.
While the Cambridge camp celebrated their achievement, home supporters contemplated a result that keeps Te Atatu at risk of relegation.
Lotto NRFL second division
Results from today’s games:
Takapuna AFC 3 (Jono Lewis 2′, Matt Hawke 65′ 78′)
Franklin United 0
Onehunga Mangere United 0
Northland FC 1 (Max Thomas 26′)
Te Atatu AFC 0
Cambridge FC 5 (Callum MacLeod 24′ 44′ 48′, Marcelo Sosa 61′, Jamie Woodlock 81′ [PEN])
Ngongotaha AFC 4 (Luke Barker 16′, 39′, 70′, Mitch Miller 60′)
Bucklands Beach AFC 1 (Charlie Hoyle 90′)
Claudelands Rovers 4 (Jono Viviani 5′ 86′, Lewis Donald 67′, Bailey Webster 70′)
Albany United 1 (Herve Kadiya 45′)
Papakura City 0
Metro FC 1 (Josh Dayal 73′)
In the early game, the Reds ended their 12-match unbeaten run when they lost 3-2 to Te Atatu.
Support the team
The final match of the season will see Cambridge play Takapuna at their ground on September 1.
Cambridge is taking a full-sized bus to Takapuna for the Northern League double header which will end the season.
Seats are available for supporters on a first served basis – click here for details.