Cambridge lost for the first time in their pre-season campaign but came away from Auckland with a credible performance against the Kevin Fallon-coached Manukau United.
The Reds lost 1-0 with the only goal of the game a disputed first-half penalty awarded when Cambridge defender Sam Garmonsway was ruled to have fouled an attacker.
Manukau United – formed last year through the merger of Manukau City and Mangere United – will play two divisions higher than Cambridge this year, in the Northern League’s Premier Division.
However, Cambridge didn’t look out of place at all and played some excellent football, earning praise from legendary All Whites coach Fallon.
Significantly, Cambridge were without key players Wayne Teague, Jason Walker and skipper Patrick Woodlock.
The travelling first team squad was:
Patrick Steele, Nathan Claridge, Kieran Hill, Theo Petropolous, Kyle Stead, Daniel Clarkin, Joshua Clarkin, Mason Woodall, Bradley Rea, Dylan Blair, Callum MacLeod, Marcelo Sosa, Sam Garmonsway, Andrew Taylor.
Photo: Cambridge ‘keeper Patrick Steele goes airborne against Manukau United. Image courtesy Nicole Mills.
Meanwhile, in the early game at Walter Massey Park, Cambridge reserves rescued a 5-5 draw with an amazing second-half fightback after trailing 4-1 at the interval. More details here.