Cambridge dropped vital home points in a ding-dong derby with Ngongotaha which ended 5-4 in the visitors’ favour.
Games between the two WaiBOP rivals have always been competitive affairs – regardless of form going into them – and this derby was no different.
Cambridge went into the match missing forward Josh Clarkin (glandular fever) and Jack Portegys (ankle injury) but welcomed back midfielder Marcelo Sosa from suspension.
Ngongotaha got off to a flying start with Nathan Monne finding the net after six minutes.
Fabian Munoz levelled for Cambridge five minutes later but the visitors regained their lead straight from the kick off through captain Luke Barker.
Harlen Simiona extended Ngongotaha’s lead in the 33rd minute.
As the half drew to a close, Luke Stephenson continued his goalscoring run, tapping home a Levi Clark cross to make it 3-2.
But again, Ngongotaha managed to score immediately after the restart, with Simiona grabbing his second.
Half-time: Cambridge 2, Ngongotaha 4.
Cambridge had the better of the second half in terms of possession and chances but Ngongotaha goalkeeper Andrew Gibbs made a couple of important stops and frustration started to set in for the Reds.
Stephenson scored his second goal on the hour to make it 4-3 to the visitors, and Cambridge threw players forward.
A critical play came three minutes from the end when referee Cameron Dickson-Hards ruled that Kieran Hills had brought down an attacker. Barker scored from the spot to make it 5-3.
Cambridge kept fighting and three minutes into added time, Sosa reduced the deficit but by then, the game was lost.
The result leaves Cambridge still in fourth place on the ladder but now six points adrift of Claudelands Rovers in third, and eight points behind dual leaders Metro and Manurewa.
For once, all the results of other teams in the leading bunch did not go Cambridge’s way.
For Ngongotaha, the win gave the side their first win – in fact, their first competition point – of a difficult season at the foot of the second division table.
Main photo: Cambridge defender Kieran Hills goes into the tackle which resulted in a penalty for Ngongotaha.
Lotto NRFL second division results
Played Friday July 12
Metro FC 5 (Bradley Rathbun 9’ 38’ 49’ 65’ 68’)
Uni-Mount Bohemian Celtic 1 (Tim Rawiri 84’)
Played Saturday July 13
Claudelands Rovers 6 (Bailey Webster 13’ 14’, Johnny Konings 42’, Jono Viviani 50’, Kyle Kirsten 79’, Henry Thompson 81’)
Franklin United 0
Greenhithe Catimba 1 (Luke Sutton 84’)
Oratia United 0
Cambridge FC 4 (Fabian Arroyo Munoz 11’, Luke Stephenson 43’ 60’, Marcelo Sosa 90+3’)
Ngongotaha AFC 5 (Nathan Monne 6’, Luke Barker 12’ 87’, Harlem Simiona 33’ 44’)
Manurewa AFC 2 (Philip Paul 54’, Troy Christophers 55’)
Albany United 5 (Marc Porter 31’, Jack Beguely 34’ 60’ 79’, Thomson Nkoy 53’)
Northland FC 3 (Mark Prowse 19’ 63’ 88’)
Onehunga Mangere United 0
Cambridge beat Ngongotaha 2-0 in the early game at John Kerkhof Park.