Cambridge moved two places up the Lotto NRFL second division table with a well-earned 1-1 draw against Greenhithe Catimba at North Harbour Stadium.
Reds head coach Paul Richardson said his team had played well enough to win the game but was pleased to be returning home with a point.
“It was a good point,” he said.
The draw lifted Cambridge from sixth to fourth on the table.
Seven clubs are vying for promotion spots in a tightly-contested division and the teams ahead of Cambridge all registered wins in this 15th round of competition.
The Reds travelled to Auckland’s North Harbour Stadium without the Clarkin brokers (striker Josh has glandular fever and defender Daniel has a back injury), midfielders Harry Wick (injured) and Marcelo Sosa (suspended).
Cambridge could have taken the lead early but missed two chances as the game settled in.
Greenhithe took the lead through Luca Ortali in the 20th minute.
Cambridge levelled with a penalty from Luke Stephenson on the stroke of half-time. It was the English winger’s first goal for the first team and follows his double for the Reds reserves the week before.
Turning around at 1-1, the teams cancelled each other out in the second half.
The game was marred by a bad ankle injury to Cambridge central defender Jack Portegys (pictured, image courtesy of Phototek/NRFL) who was taken off at half-time.
That gave a debut to youngster Kieran Vollebregt who performed well in his first appearance in a first-team shirt.
Next Saturday (July 13), Cambridge play Ngongotaha at John Kerkhof Park (reserves k/o 12.30pm, first teams 3pm).
Main photo: Luke Stephenson celebrates his goal with teammates. Photo: Courtesy of Phototek and the Lotto NRFL.
Lotto NRFL second division results
Onehunga Mangere United 2 (Salesh Kumar 50’, Alex Witteveen 80’)
Claudelands Rovers 3 (George Frise 15’, Bailey Webster 45+1’, Jacob Robb 46’)
Uni-Mount Bohemian Celtic 0
Manurewa AFC 2 (Kieran Nevey 62’ – pen 76’)
Franklin United 1 (Shameel Rao 17’)
Oratia United 1 (Andy Kapteyn 75’)
Metro FC 2 (Ben Hughes 31’ 34’)
Greenhithe Catimba 1 (Luca Ortali 20’)
Cambridge FC 1 (Luke Stephenson 45’ – pen)
Cambridge lost 4-3 to Greenhithe Catimba in the early game at North Harbour Stadium.