The measure of Cambridge’s improvement over this season was demonstrated by a well-earned 4-2 victory over Waikato Women’s Division Two champions Thames.
Cambridge went into the match with second place secure but keen to test themselves against the league leaders from Coromandel.
Thames got off to an excellent start, taking the lead at John Kerkhof Park in the sixth minute.
Cambridge captain Steph Upton got her team back into contention with a goal in the 17th minute.
Two minutes later, Upton provided the pass for Sophie Young to score from a simple tap in, giving Cambridge the lead.
In the 34th minute, Cambridge goalkeeper Aimee Feingberg-Danieli made an excellent save to deny Thames from a free kick.
After turning around with 2-1 lead, Cambridge pushed forward from the kick off and were rewarded with a penalty that Marie O’Neill scored in the 47th minute.
Twenty minutes later, O’Neill all but clinched the result when she calmly slotted the ball past the Thames ‘keeper, after being played into space by strike partner Astrid Howarth.
It was O’Neill’s eighth goal of the season.
Cambridge were content to hold possession for the remainder of the half but still needed another full-length save by Feingberg-Danieli to maintain their margin.
With three minutes to go, Thames scored a consolation goal.
The Hill Homes Player of the Day was Lorena Herrera who contained Thames’ always-threatening lead striker.
After receiving their competition trophy from WaiBOP Football’s Catherine Clark, the Thames players were given a guard of honour by the Cambridge players (see main photo) as they left the pitch – a mark of respect that is traditional at Cambridge FC.
Though Cambridge’s league season is over, the women’s team have one more game – and end-of-season friendly against visiting Northland FC. The game will kick off at John Kerkhof Park at 11am on Sunday October 4.