Cambridge 4 v Waihi 3
24 Aug 2013
Two goals in added time gave Cambridge a dramatic victory in the Soccer Shop Waikato Plate as the club’s C1 team overcame Waihi B 4-3.
The match was classic cup football with the lead changing four times and both sides giving everything for 90 minutes.
Waihi took the lead in the 29th minute when midfielder Kegan Burrell struck a 30-metre pile driver past the outstretched Cambridge ‘keeper Ali McQuarters.
But when the teams emerged from half-time, Cambridge flew at their opponents, scoring in the 48th and 49th minutes.
First, veteran midfielder Lee Turpitt scored from close in and then youngster Ewan Bussey kept his nerve to prod home a shot through the Waihi goalkeeper’s legs.
The Cambridge lead was short-lived when Waihi’s Paul Milner struck the equaliser in the 55th minute. Waihi striker Richard James, the club’s leading goalscorer this season, put his side back in front with 12 minutes remaining when he cleverly chipped over the head of ‘keeper McQuarters.
As time ran down, and on the stroke of full-time, Cambridge needed a miracle – and it arrived in the unlikely form of defender Mike Miller. He hadn’t scored a goal for more than three years but decided to venture forward in a desperate attempt to save the game. From a corner, Miller scrambled the ball into the Waihi net to tie the game at 3-3.
It seemed certain the final would go to extra time but Cambridge were having none of that. Youngster Bussey won the ball almost from the restart and dribbled through with only the Waihi ‘keeper to beat.
He kept his nerve to sidefoot the ball into the net, sending Cambridge supporters into raptures of excitement in the 10-tier mobile grandstand that the club had hired especially for the big day.
Referee Phil Fletcher blew for full-time, giving Cambridge its first trophy of the season and a day of memories for the club.
Photographs: The boys celebrate with champers after Mike Miller's late goal keeps the game alive and leads to last-minute victory.