Cambridge’s WaiBOP Championship side have ended their season with a 6-1 victory at Tauranga Old Blues.
After being held 1-1 at half-time, the Steve Thomas-coached side hit their straps with a five-goal second half to ensure they finished the season in pole position on the championship’s Group B.
Cambridge opened the scoring in the fifth minute when Old Blues failed to clear a Ryan Ashby corner and defender Phillip Ranger conceded an own goal.
The home side levelled at Waipuna Park through Ricardo Casal in the 27th minute but the game’s turning point came when an Old Blues player was sent off for dissent.
Though the 10-man Blues held on for a while, the game became a walkover as Cambridge dominated the second half.
Captain and Player of the Day Adam Brady scored twice (68′, 80′), while Aston Hurd picked up a pair (76′, 85′) and the best goal of the day came from Joshua Clarkin who struck a screamer into the net in the 78th minute.
The team can reflect on a season which saw the Cambridge team score an impressive 43 goals in their 16 games but will rue a string of six draws which ultimately cost the side its chance of playing in Group A and challenging for the Championship title.
Coach Thomas said he was proud of the style of football played by the team throughout the season, and that they had been a “great bunch of lads” to coach.
Hamilton Wanderers 8-0 Waikato Unicol (ht: 4-0)
WAN: Daniel Reason 3, Jordan Lamb 3, Sam Sinclair, Mason Sas.
Tauranga Old Blues 1-6 Cambridge (ht: 1-1)
OBL: Ricardo Casal.
CAM: OG, Adam Brady 2, Aston Hurd 2, Joshua Clarkin.
Tauranga City 3-1 Te Puke United
A strong subs’ bench … for the last game of the season, Cambridge were able to provide a bench of strikers – (from left) Golden Boot winner Peter Buesnel, first team top scorer Josh Clarkin, reserves striker and first team forward Tom Woutersen.