Cambridge scored their first back-to-back wins since August 2019 when they beat local rivals Claudelands Rovers 2-1 in a lively and sometimes nerve-wracking match at John Kerkhof Park.
The Reds followed up their 4-1 Easter Monday win at Hibiscus Coast to move into sixth place on the 12-team Lotto NRFL second division table.
For Cambridge fans, all the signs are there that head coach Paul Richardson has a young squad with pace and promise.
The Reds began the game in damp conditions but assumed early ascendancy which left winger Ewan Donald topped off with a well-taken goal in the 11th minute.
Main photo: Donald – and a Cambridge ball boy – prepare to celebrate after the ball finds the Rovers net.
Claudelands played their way back into the game during the half, with former Cambridge players Henry Stephen and Levi Clark staying busy and moving the ball around.
But Cambridge saw out the half to turn the teams around a goal in front.
In the second spell, Cambridge flew at Rovers from the kick-off and 17-year-old Aston Hurd scored his third goal of the campaign, smashing his shot up the middle of the goal despite the efforts of ‘keeper Seamus Casey.
Hurd’s pace and coverage of the pitch combined well with front runner Michael Cosgrave who was able to hold up the ball and wait for support.
The atmosphere at John Kerkhof Park turned somewhat nervy when Rovers pulled back a goal through Jack Marden in the 55th minute.
Tackles started to fly in and referee Phil Rogers had to keep the peace with three yellow cards for Rovers players.
The Reds are showing more discipline this season, having received only two cautions in their opening four games as well as a red card for handling the ball.
That ability to remain calm under pressure served the Cambridge team well as they played out time and accepted three league points at the final whistle.
The Reds’ next game is at South Auckland’s Papatoetoe next Saturday (April 17) when the sides kick off at 3pm.
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Second division results
Onehunga Mangere United 1 (Alex Witteveen 53’)
Oratia United 1 (Michael Brown 80’)
Franklin United 2 (Own Goal 42’, Henry Fa’arodo 90+1’)
Beachlands Maraetai AFC 2 (Jamie Birch 59’, Mark Giles 60’)
Fencibles United 5 (Ezekiel Bulay 44’, Yazan Alhamdan 54’, Brennan Priestley 74’ 80’ 87’)
Papatoetoe AFC 1 (Bastien Da Ros 51’)
Cambridge FC 2 (Ewan Donald 9’, Aston Hurd 46’)
Claudelands Rovers 1 (Jack Marden 54’)
Unimount Bohemian 2 (Gregor Wilson 41’, Ben Farrelly 90+3’)
Greenhithe FC 4 (Pablo Albanesi 18’, Martin Laulhe Centurion 59’ 66’, Own Goal 69’)
Northland v Hibiscus Coast was called off due to a heavily waterlogged pitch.
In the U-23s reserves game, Claudelands Rovers beat Cambridge 2-1.