A tight but effective 2-1 win at the home of old foes Ngongotaha has taken Cambridge to the top of the Lotto NRFL second division.
The Reds remain unbeaten after five rounds of competition but this win was another nail-biter, earned through hard work and commitment.
Other results went Cambridge’s way with league leaders Manurewa crashing 6-2 at Albany United while Claudelands Rovers – the only other unbeaten club – drew 4-4 at Franklin United.
The Reds got off to a cracking start with Fabian Munoz weaving his way to the byline and pulling back a cross for Callum MacLeod to crash home from close in the fourth minute.
Midfielder Harry Wick almost made it 2-0 midway through the half with a shot from 25-metres that was tipped over the bar by Ngongotaha ‘keeper Josh Simpson.
In the second half, Cambridge controlled possession and went closest to scoring with a succession of chances.
But Ngongotaha, traditionally hard to beat at Stembridge Road, hung in there and thwarted the Reds until Josh Clarkin buried a shot from six metres in the 74th minute.
Two minutes later, the home side came back with a goal through Sean Kim, ensuring a tense final 12 minutes plus added time.
MacLeod almost put the Reds another goal up but hit the post after rounding the ‘keeper.
In the end, Cambridge held their nerve and once again took three points when last year, this was the type of game that ended in a draw.
Cambridge face Unimount Bohemian Celtic at John Kerkhof Park this Saturday and will be looking to maintain their unbeaten run. The game kicks off at 3pm, with the reserves playing at 12.30pm.
Main photo: Harry Wick wins the ball against the Ngongotaha midfield.
ANZAC Day results
Unimount Bohemian Celtic 1, Metro FC 3
Scorers: Unimount – Thomas McLoughlin 47′; Metro – Leo Shin 32’, Josh Dayal 80’, Ian Sellar 86’.
Franklin United 4, Claudelands Rovers 4
Scorers: Franklin – Marc Lindsay 22’, Jake McCoy 38’ 60’, Kartik Kumar 45’; Claudelands – David Smith 3’, Shadrake Ngungambili 47’, Henry Stephen 56’, Jono Viviani 89’.
Oratia United 2, Greenhithe Catimba 0
Scorers: Oratia – Michael Graham 9’ [pen], Andy Kapetyn 90’.
Ngongotaha 1, Cambridge 2
Scorers: Ngongotaha – Sean Kim 76′; Cambridge – Callum MacLeod 4′, Josh Clarkin 73′.
Albany United 6, Manurewa 2
Scorers: Albany – Jack Beguely 1’ 74’ 81’, Thomson Nkoy 60’, Own Goal 67’, Marc Porter 78’ [pen]; Manurewa – Kieran Nevey 14’ [pen], Sam Hart 86’.
Onehunga Mangere United 3, Northland FC 1
Scorers: OMU – Andrew Annable 9’, Charlie Heather 17’, Fauzul Ahmed 75’; Northland – Mark Prowse 45’.
Photo gallery 1
These images were taken by our club’s official photographer Louis Roberts:
Photo gallery 2
The Reds reserves and Ngongotaha’s second-string team drew their Lotto NRFL second division fixture 3-3.
Reds’ next fixture
Cambridge play at home this Saturday, hosting newly-promoted Unimount Bohemian Celtic from Auckland.
The reserves kick off at 12.30pm while the main game starts at 3pm.