Auckland-born goalkeeper Max Crocombe is one step closer to Wembley after his Grimsby Town side became upset winners against English Premier League club Southampton to reach the last eight of the FA Cup.
Crocombe (29), who has played twice for the All Whites, was part of joyous scenes as League Two Grimsby beat Southampton 2-1 with two penalties from midfielder Gavan Holahan.
Crocombe made three important saves in the tie that will see Grimsby meet another EPL side, Brighton & Hove Albion, in the cup quarter-finals.
He’s trying to become the second New Zealander to go to Wembley for a cup final this year, following Ben Waine’s Plymouth Argyle who have reached the final of the English Football League Trophy.
Crocombe has fallen down the New Zealand team’s pecking order since making his debut in 2018, appearing to have fallen behind a long list of contenders including Oli Sail (Wellington Phoenix), Michael Woud (Kyoto Sanga, Japan), Alex Paulsen (Wellington Phoenix), Matt Gould (Altrincham, UK) and Jamie Searle (Barnsley, UK).
But he hasn’t given up on his hopes of reclaiming the national shirt.
“I’ve always wanted to be involved (with New Zealand),” Crocombe told BBC Radio Humberside late last year.
”But, it has been difficult with the lack of international windows. In the past, when I’ve gone away, I’ve lost my place in the team and missed league games which was frustrating.”
About Max Crocombe
Crocombe has become Grimsby’s first-choice goalkeeper after joining the club in 2021 from A-League side Melbourne Victory.
He had previously played for Brisbane Roar after a six-year UK career with clubs including Oxford United, Barnet (loan), Southport (loan), Carlisle United and Salford City.
The 1.94m ‘keeper played for New Zealand’s U-20 and U-23 squads before playing twice for the All Whites in 2018.
Main photo: Max Crocombe.