Cambridge take initiative in race for Premiership title

Cambridge take initiative in race for Premiership title

Cambridge have won a five-goal thriller at John Kerkhof Park to take the initiative in the battle for football’s Loaded WaiBOP Premiership.

Cambridge beat competition leaders Waikato Unicol 3-2 to move into second place, just two points behind the Hamilton side but having played one game fewer.

This is a major turnaround from a month ago when Cambridge were 11 points adrift of Unicol who were unbeaten at the time.

Since then, Cambridge have extended their winning run to seven games while Unicol have lost three in a row.

With so much at stake, Cambridge were anxious to start well but it was Unicol who got off to a flyer with Simon Gibson opening the scoring just three minutes into the match.

Cambridge fought their way back into the game when Jordy Silvester equalised in the 26th minute.

Defender Matt Wheeler – temporarily back from playing college football in the United States – then headed Cambridge into a 2-1 lead two minutes before half-time.

Unicol raised their efforts after the break and levelled the score in the 48th minute through Van Ewart.

But teenager Josh Clarkin, in his first season of first team football, grabbed the winner in the 83rd minute.

The final minutes of the game were full of tension and referee Stu Blake sent off a Unicol player, and then ordered their coach from the dug out.

Finally, to the relief of the home crowd, the whistle went and Cambridge had moved into the league’s second spot, well-placed to mount a challenge for the title it last won in 2015.

The club’s second team did not play due to several players being away on representative duty for WaiBOP (Waikato/Bay of Plenty) at the national futsal championships.

As with the first team, Cambridge are in a strong position to win the WaiBOP Championship.

Despite not playing, Cambridge remain in second place on the table, a point behind leaders Unicol but with a game in hand.

Cambridge’s A team lost 4-1 at Melville United, after the teams were tied 1-1 at the break.

The B team lost 5-1 to Melville United after a poor first half performance saw the Hamilton side ahead by 4-1.

Cambridge’s goal was scored by Jason Szabo after 11 minutes.

The B team were reduced to 10 men after an hour when Mitchell Claridge was given a red card.

Cambridge B get the chance to redeem themselves against the same Melville side when they meet in the semi-final of the Soccer Shop Waikato Cup on August 12.

Pictured: Josh Clarkin and Matt Wheeler celebrate the winning goal with Theo Petropolous about to join them. Photo: Louis Roberts.

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Date Added: Saturday, 15th July 2017
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