Cambridge travel to South Auckland this weekend, looking to end their three-match losing streak in football’s Northern League.
After a bright start to their season, in which Cambridge won three of their opening four games, the Reds have narrowly lost their last three fixtures, all against Auckland clubs. However the club’s reserves team is on top form having won five games in a row to lead the Northern League’s reserves competition.
The games are coming thick and fast for Cambridge in their return season at this higher level and the Reds lost twice within four days, both times by 3-2. First, they lost at Albany United on Anzac Day, despite goals from Josh Clarkin and a penalty by Marcelo Sosa.
Then they fell to Bucklands Beach last Saturday, despite leading 2-1 with half an hour to go. Cambridge took an early lead through Bradley Rea’s first goal of the season to go into the interval tied 1-1. Josh Clarkin scored his eighth goal of the season to put Cambridge ahead in the 55th minute but Bucklands Beach came back with goals in the 64th and 78th minutes to take home the league points.
The results leave Cambridge in fifth place on the second division ladder, still within reach of the leaders but needing a win this weekend at Franklin United to regain their early season momentum.
The reserves picked up good wins at Albany and against Bucklands Beach. Andrew Taylor’s hat-trick led the way in the Reds’ 5-2 win against Albany, with other goals from Nathan Hallum and Toby Hartley.
The win against Bucklands Beach was more difficult with the only goal of the game coming from Cambridge’s Johnny Sanchez in the 64th minute.
With Takapuna losing last weekend, Cambridge have taken a three-point lead at the top of the reserves’ table.
Cambridge teams began their Waikato Cup campaigns – the competition in which the club’s B team reached last year’s final.
Cambridge A romped to a 10-1 win against the club’s D1 side – who play their league football three divisions lower. Scorers for the A team were Peter Buesnel (4), Andrew Thomas (2), Ryan Ashby (2), Alex Ball and Mitchell Claridge. Fabian Burgos scored the D1’s sole goal.
Cambridge’s D2 side fared better when also playing a side that is ranked three levels higher in league competition. They went down 4-2 at John Kerkhof Park to Te Awamutu’s division A team but were competitive for most of the match and could have scored a couple more. Cambridge’s scorers were Andrew Myers and a Rob Dixon penalty.
The club’s other senior teams, including the women’s team, had byes last weekend.
Meanwhile, this Saturday is the focus of excitement for nearly 500 boys and girls who will start their winter football season at Cambridge. The club will field at least 38 junior teams and run various coaching programmes to help players develop.
In conjunction with the Ricki Herbert Football Academy – founded by the former All Whites and Wellington Phoenix coach – the club has launched its Future Reds programme. It aims to help youngsters develop their skills in a planned way from the age of six with the aim of emulating former Cambridge junior Chris Wood who is now an All White and one of the world’s top professional players.
Goal spree in premiership…
Only two games went ahead in the latest round of football in the Loaded WaiBOP Premiership but there were goals galore as both produced lopsided results.
The Premiership was severely impacted by the preliminary round of the ISPS Handa Chatham Cup this weekend, but both West Hamilton United and Otumoetai wouldn’t have minded as they buried their opponents following impressive home wins.
West Hamilton took advantage of the teams around them not playing to move to the top of the table and they did it in emphatic fashion with a 5-1 Weka St mauling of the Tauranga Blue Rovers.
Otumoetai went several goals better as they registered their first win of the season against bottom side, Hamilton Wanderers. The Fergusson Park-based side routed the Wanderers 9-0.
Several Premiership teams advanced to the first round of the ISPS Handa Chatham Cup following games played on April 25 and 28. These included Papamoa, Te Awamutu and West Hamilton, who all won ANZAC Day ties. Waikato Unicol and Taupo both had comfortable home win on Saturday to also progress. WaiBOP Championship leaders Ngaruawahia United scored a last-minute penalty to knock out Premiership side Comag Matamata Swifts.