Honours shared in Battle of Waipā

Cambridge midfielder Ashton Thomas and Te Awamutu’s Nathan Fitness battle for the ball.

Honours were shared in football’s Battle of Waipā in Waikato men’s division four on Saturday at John Kerkhof Park in Cambridge.

The match finished 1-1 after two penalties were awarded in the final 15 minutes.

The scoreless first half was not without its drama as the more experienced Te Awamutu side constantly put pressure on the Cambridge defence, where there were excellent performances from goalkeeper James Guzzwell and centre back Kevin Grace.

So it was against the run of play when Cambridge went ahead from the penalty spot after a hand ball in the penalty area. After Braedon Gills netted Te Awamutu went back on the attack, putting pressure on both the Cambridge players and the referee.

Cambridge conceded a penalty and Joe Connor’s shot was blocked by Guzzwell – but the ball fell into the path of Connor who then tucked it away with his second chance.

The goalkeepers from each team – Sammy Dixon for Te Awamutu and Guzzwell for Cambridge – were named players of the day.

Cambridge right back Morgan Howard watches as Te Awamutu striker Joe Connor gets ready to pass the ball. Midfielder Dylan Stringer, left, dips away with centre back Kevin Grace in the background.

Cambridge coach Glenn Tabor, who moved to the town from Manurewa, South Auckland in January last year, says his novice team is enjoying its time in division four.

When the team had enough players to form a division four team this year, he put his hand up as he had coached in Auckland. His son James, 24, is in the team.

“It developed from the small base of last year’s younger players, along with a great bunch of newly registered players, including a group of friends who played high school football together last year. The team is starting to gel nicely,” said Tabor.

After four games they have had one win – against cellar dwellers Northern United Knights – the draw and two losses to lie seventh on the table.

Te Awamutu is in fifth with one win and two draws. Ōtorohanga leads the league with 12 points.

Te Awamutu’s Nathan Fitness has control of the ball watched by Cambridge striker Jacob Livingstone.

Cambridge midfielder Ashton Thomas has control of the ball watched by Te Awamutu’s Nathan Fitness with the Reds’ James Tabor watching on.

Meanwhile on the adjacent field, Cambridge’s Chatham Cup year ended with a 3-1 loss to Franklin United. Te Awamutu beat Taupō 4-3 at The Stadium in Armstrong Ave to advance to the second round.

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