Reds face challenge this weekend

Cambridge’s Callum MacLeod is brought down by a Te Atatu defender. Photo – Louis Roberts.

Cambridge face their biggest challenge so far in football’s Northern League when competition leaders Takapuna AFC visit this Saturday.

The Aucklanders are the only unbeaten team in the Lotto NRFL second division and have become hot favourites to win the competition.

Supporters will see a double-header at John Kerkhof Park with the two clubs’ reserves sides squaring off at 12.30pm, followed by the main game between the first teams at 3pm.

Cambridge have been able to turn around a four-match losing streak, having drawn their last two matches for new coach Paul Richardson.

Last weekend, the Reds came from two goals behind to earn a storming 3-3 draw against West Auckland’s Te Atatu AFC.

The Reds took an early lead when striker Dylan Blair ghosted into the penalty area and was able to finish a pass across the face of the goal in the 9th minute.

The lead didn’t last long as Te Atatu scored twice in a three-minute spell.

However, Cambridge reduced the deficit to 3-2 in the 38th minute when striker Wayne Teague scored his first goal for the club.

The second half fired up in the 55th minute when Teague collected a second yellow card, reducing the Reds to 10 men.

Being a man short seemed to spur on Cambridge and for the rest of the game, they had the better of ball possession and created the most chances.

The pressure finally paid off in the 76th minute when Blair scored his second for Cambridge, bringing the teams level at 3-3.

Cambridge mounted attack after attack in the final minutes but the game went flat almost on full-time when a melee led to referee Willis showing yellow cards to a number of players from both sides, including a second for Reds skipper Patrick Woodlock.

The Cambridge Clarets team that drew 4-4 with AS Venus from Tahiti.

Earlier, the Cambridge reserves maintained their lead of the NRFL reserves competition with a 4-0 win against Te Atatu.

Cambridge’s women’s team beat Waikato Unicol 2-1 on Sunday, sealing promotion to the Waikato A League for the rest of the season.

Cambridge also hosted an international game when visiting Tahitian junior side AS Venus played the club’s 11th-grade Clarets. The youngsters played out a thrilling 4-4 draw.

Veteran Dave O’Donnell took the club’s goal scoring honours this weekend with a hat-trick all scored from headers in Cambridge D1’s 5-1 win against Waikato Unicol.

In the WaiBOP Federation Junior Boys’ League, Cambridge U-12’s beat Melville United 4-3, with a fightback in the second half.

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