Cambridge football supporters had a weekend of mixed fortunes as winter season play got underway for all senior men’s and women’s competitions.
In the Northern League, the Reds stumbled to a 3-0 loss at home to Papakura City, their first loss in the competition, but the club’s reserves and women’s team both registered strong wins. Little seemed to go right for the Reds against Papakura City in the main game at John Kerkhof Park and the visitors took full advantage. Cambridge were missing some of their first team regulars, including skipper Patrick Woodlock, Kieran Hills and Jamie Woodlock, but gave a debut to former Stoke City striker Wayne Teague and had the return of midfielder Marcelo Sosa.
While Cambridge will be disappointed with the result, the team will take some consolation from knowing the final score flattered Papakura. The Reds travel to Auckland this Saturday to play Onehunga Mangere United, coached by former All Whites Brian Turner and Dave Taylor.
A brace by newly-signed striker Chris Walker provided the platform for an impressive 4-1 win by Cambridge Reserves against Papakura City. Walker, who joined from Matamata Swifts last month, scored in the 46th and 75th minutes.
Cambridge went ahead early thanks to a powerful header from skipper Dehein Hindley. The Reds then had most of the first half chances, with striker Chris Walker and Andrew Taylor both going close. However, Papakura found the net in a goal mouth scramble on the stroke of half-time, sending the teams to the dressing rooms tied 1-1.
Cambridge came out strongly in the second half and scored almost immediately through Walker, with Alex Mukaka adding another in the 53rd minute to make it 4-1 before Walker sealed the win with his second.
Cambridge lost their opening game of the Loaded WaiBOP Championship, tumbling 3-1 to competition newcomers Kawerau Sports. The visitors took an early lead, and then took control in the second half at John Kerkhof Park. Cambridge pulled a goal back through Franco Rigourd but lost Toby Hartley to a second yellow card late in the match. Next weekend, Cambridge travel to meet the competition’s other newcomers, Te Puke United.
Cambridge’s women’s first team got their season off to a flying start with an impressive 5-2 win in a local derby at Te Awamutu. The performance was highlighted by a hat-trick by striker Rachel Hill, named the Hill Homes Player of the Day, and impressive senior debuts from young players Paris Le Gros and Libby Griffin.
Both Cambridge’s federation youth teams started their regional league seasons with 2-2 draws. In both games, Cambridge’s U-13 and U-12 boys teams had half-time leads, but their visitors came back to share the points.