Cambridge found the going tough at Pukekohe’s Bledisloe Park as a rampant Franklin United beat the Reds 8-1.
It was Cambridge’s fourth successive loss in the Lotto NRFL second division and the side will want to use next weekend’s ISPS Chatham Cup tie against Waiheke Island as a welcome diversion, and a chance to re-set their game mode.
After a bright start in the Northern League, with three wins in four starts, Cambridge’s form has tailed off and the Franklin side took full advantage.
Rinil Prasad opened the scoring in the 9th minute and then Cambridge goalkeeper Patrick Steele stopped a near-certain second goal with an excellent save.
But Jake McCoy doubled the home side’s lead in the 20th minute and Charlie Heather added a third, from the penalty spot, in the 26th minute.
Kartik Kumar used his pace to get around the Reds defence in the 38th minute, angling home a shot for Franklin’s fourth goal.
Going into the sheds down 4-0, Cambridge re-shaped and started the second half with a 3-5-2 formation.
For most of the half, it served the team better and for half an hour, play was even.
Franklin skipper Mark Thompson found the net in the 53rd minute for a rare goal but Cambridge’s Bradley Rea quickly responded, neatly lofting a through ball over the head of goalkeeper Jason Mann and into an empty net.
At 5-1 down on the hour, Cambridge were making a decent fist of the second half and only succumbed to Franklin’s pressure in the final 10 minutes.
An own goal by Daniel Clarkin made it 6-1. Then Heather pinched his second goal of the day for 7-1. And finally, five minutes into added time, Kumar scored again for his side’s eighth.
It was a tough day for Cambridge but the Chatham Cup offers the chance for the team to refind its form.
Photo: Cambridge’s Dylan Blair (black shirt) races past the Franklin defence late in the game.
Lotto NRFL division two results
Metro 3-1 Ngongotaha (HT 1-0)
MET: David Rayner 16′, Josh Dayal 70′, Josh Chemis 90+2′; NGO: Hayden Booker 75′
Onehunga Mangere United 1-0 Claudelands Rovers (HT: 1-0)
OMU: Sangster Crawford 27′
Franklin United 8-1 Cambridge FC (HT: 4-0)
FRA: Rinal Prasad 9′, Jake McCoy 19′, Charlie Heather 27′ (PEN) 90′, Kartik Kumar 39′ 90+4′, Own Goal 52′, Mark Thompson 53′; CAM: Bradley Rea 58′.
Bucklands Beach AFC 6-0 Te Atatu (HT: 2-0)
BUC: Scott Foster 1′, Josh Smith 28′, Lucas Stead 59′ 64′, Isaac Harraway 72′, Ben de Ruiter 90+2′
Albany United 0-2 Takapuna (HT 0-2)
TAK: Jack Taylor 3′, Jonathan Lewis 12′
Northland 1-0 Papakura City (HT: 1-0)
NOR: Caleb Russ 8′
The Reds’ reserve team lost 1-0 to Franklin United in the early game. Click here for details.