Cambridge’s three-match winning run in the Lotto NRFL second division has been halted by high-flying Fencibles United.
The Reds were leading 3-2 in the second half but a penalty turned the game as Fencibles snatched two late goals to win the fixture 4-3.
It was a bold effort from Cambridge who went to Auckland sitting third on the table, just behind Fencibles.
Head coach Paul Richardson gave young Tevin Smith a first-team debut and brought in teenager Willem Dikmans for the match.
However, Fencibles took an early lead through captain Sione Fa’apoi before Cambridge levelled on the half-hour.
Winger Ewan Donald’s shot was parried by the Fencibles goalkeeper but Josh Nooijen was handily placed to head the ball into the goal.
The home side came back with a second goal, through Josh Harford, sending the sides into the half-time break with Fencibles leading 2-1.
Seven minutes into the second spell, the Reds were even when Michael Cosgrave delivered the pass that gave Aston Hurd his sixth goal of the season, and fourth for the first team.
In the 63rd minute, Cosgrave put Cambridge ahead for the first time when he converted a cross from Donald.
But as the Reds tried to hold their lead, Fencibles were awarded a penalty by referee Riley Greenbury in the 81st minute which brought the teams level again when Fa’apoi scored his second of the day.
A late goal from substitute Yazan Alhamdan completed Cambridge’s misery.
The result went against Cambridge but again, the side showed discipline with its first yellow card in three games, and coach Richardson provided game time for promising youngsters Tom O’Leary, Oliver Haultain and Thomas Purves.
The Reds’ next game is at home against third-placed Northland next Saturday (May 1) when the sides kick off at 3pm.
Second division results
Onehunga Mangere United 5 (Gilberto Souza 19’ 77’ 81’, Glen Lewis 56’, Osman Rastagar 85’)
Hibiscus Coast AFC 0
Franklin United 0
Greenhithe Catimba 1 (James Atkinson 81’)
Beachlands Maraetai AFC 1 (Aaron Parry 90’)
Oratia United 0
Northland FC 5 (Ricardo Gomes Da Silva 7’, Mitchell Hanmore 26’ 90’, Hugh Davidson 40’, Daniel Romer 80’)
Papatoetoe AFC 1 (KT Kanon 45’)
Uni-Mount Bohemian 3 (Own Goal 47’, Dillon Lazarus 67’, Gregor Wilson 80’)
Claudelands Rovers 3 (Bailey Webster 2’ 90+2’ – PEN, Jake Bayliss 28’)
Fencibles United 4 (Sione Fa’apoi 8’ 81’ – PEN, Josh Harford 30’, Yazan Alhamdan 86’)
Cambridge FC 3 (Josh Nooijen 29’ Aston Hurd 52’, Micheal Cosgrave 63’)
In the U-23s reserves game, Fencibles United beat Cambridge 5-2.