Drawn games add tension to title chases

Cambridge block an Otumoetai attack. Photo – Louis Roberts.

A day of drawn games created tension for all three Cambridge football teams chasing regional football trophies this season. But with rival teams also feeling the pressure and dropping points, Cambridge teams remain on track to take the region’s top titles.

Cambridge midfielder Theo Petropolous. Photo – Louis Roberts.

Cambridge’s run of 11 successive wins finally came to an end with a 1-1 draw at a rain-sodden Otumoetai on Saturday. Tom Wouterson scored for Cambridge in the 12th minute while a Ben Jackson penalty before half-time kept the home side in the game. Cambridge’s leading goalscorer Donovan Latham was sent off in the second half for collecting two cautions and he will be suspended for next week’s home match against Tauranga Boys College.

The result still leaves Cambridge three points clear at the top of the Premiership table as nearest rivals Waikato Unicol could only manage a scoreless draw against Tauranga Boys College. Cambridge can clinch the title with three wins from their four remaining games which are all against sides in the bottom half of the table – Te Awamutu (7th), Rotorua United (9th), Melville United (10th) and Tauranga Boys College (11th).

Cambridge’s lead in the WaiBOP Championship stands at six points – and with a superior goal difference – over nearest challengers Tauranga City United. This follows a 2-2 draw at Otumoetai where Cambridge’s goalscorers were Mason Woodall and Levi Clark.

At nearby Tauranga, United were beating the other title challengers, Waikato Unicol, 3-2 after fighting back from a 1-2 half-time deficit. The tight results make for an exciting finish to the Championship but the key match will take place this coming Saturday at John Kerkhof Park, when Cambridge host Tauranga City United. For Cambridge, two wins from their final four fixtures would probably be enough to secure the title.

Cambridge goalkeeper Fraser Nicholls and the red-shirted Cambridge defenders hold out an Otumoetai attack. Photo – Louis Roberts

Cambridge’s Waikato A side lost 3-2 to Waikato Unicol at John Kerkhof Park after the sides were tied 1-1 at the interval. Scorers for Cambridge were Tony Dikmans and Arlo Stedman.

The third Cambridge men’s team still in the hunt for silverware are the B team who play in the Soccer Shop Waikato Cup Final next month. They drew 1-1 with Melville United Knights at the weekend, moving into third place on the Waikato B division table.

A high league position and an outstanding cup run have been fair reward for a team promoted from the C division this season. WaiBOP Football have asked Cambridge to host their annual finals day for the third time in five years, meaning the B team will get to play their cup final in front of home fans.

The Waikato Cup final (between Cambridge and Otorohanga) and the Waikato Plate Final (between Waihi and Waikato Unicol) will be held at John Kerkhof Park on Saturday September 9.

Cambridge’s women’s first team lost a close game at home to Tokoroa by 3-2 on Sunday, ending the sides hopes of mounting a late challenge for the WaiBOP Premier League title. Cambridge’s goals were scored by Iris Harterink and Kura Falleni. The Hill Homes Player of the Day was Gemma Martin.

In the WaiBOP Federation Youth League, Cambridge’s U-14 boys beat West Hamilton United 3-0 away after the game was scoreless at the break.

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