PREVIEW: Cambridge ‘won’t be scared’ by Auckland City’s Chatham Cup test

posted in: Chatham Cup, News, Uncategorized

By Max Fletcher

Giant-killing Cambridge go into Saturday’s fourth-round Chatham Cup tie against OFC champions Auckland City eager to pull of the upset of the year.

“We will certainly take it to Auckland City and we won’t be scared,” promises head coach Jordan Shaw.

The Waikato club has reached the cup’s fourth round for the first time in their 76-year history, and after being knocked out in the third round on 12 past occasions.

This time’s different, with Cambridge on an unbeaten streak of 21 games, carried over from last season.

The side currently sit top of the Lotto NRFL Southern Conference, with 11 wins from as many games, and targeting promotion to the Lotto NRFL Men’s Championship.

“It’s a free hitout for us to hopefully prepare us more for a tough opposition in the Conference (promotion) play-off,” Shaw says.

“We will look to adjust. We can’t just play our normal style because they (Auckland City) will pick us apart, so we look to play like we did against Bay Olympic as we were very competitive in that match.”

Cambridge coach Jordan Shaw … ‘We won’t be scared.’

Cambridge upset Northern League side Olympic 2-1 on the road, to reach the last 16.

Shaw believes his team can pull off another upset to make it arguably one of the biggest cup upsets in the 101 years of the Chatham Cup’s history.

“Lasting the duration of the 90 will be a huge task, potentially longer against a very tough opposition, but we can do it. It’s just how long can we compete with them for.”

Cambridge have been ambitiously pushing for promotion since Shaw (32) arrived at John Kerkhof Park as player-coach for the 2023 season. He has previously played Northern League for Hamilton Wanderers and Melville United.

“It is pretty awesome to be able to progress the club as far as it has. For me, it’s more for the players who are a big part of it. I think I have just come in and helped push this group of players in the right direction.”

Shaw believes in his group of players and players coming through at Cambridge, suggesting players like defender Jack Portegys and striker Josh Clarkin are capable of playing at a higher level.

Shaw has given chances to young players with five teenagers progressing from the youth teams and into the first team.

Harvey Dempster, Blake Taylor, Oscar Gifford, Max Kelk and Rahim Nabizada are youngsters, all of whom have made their senior debuts.

Shaw acknowledged the importance of the club’s youth programme.

Cambridge was in its first year running a TDP (Talent Development Programme) and was keen to bring young players through to the senior ranks.

Shaw hopes the Cambridge township will get behind his team’s cup dream and fill John Kerkhof Park on Saturday.

“For me, it would be great and awesome to see Cambridge get behind the club and we get a really big crowd in and really to acknowledge getting as far as we have in the cup,” he says.

“I think the support will be greatly appreciated by the players. Hopefully, we can make some noise with our ultras there too.”

Meanwhile, Auckland City won’t take Cambridge lightly in Saturday’s match.

“We know it’s going to be tough,” City midfielder Gerard Garriga told Auckland FC’s YouTube channel.

“I’m sure they’re going to be buzzing. They’re going to come to us and it’s going to be a really tough game game and (it) doesn’t matter what division they play, all the games are difficult.”

Watch Gerard Garriga interview

How they reached the fourth round


First round

Papakura City 5 (Kartik Kumar 16′, Alexis Araena Zuleta 57′, 87′, Stephen Ashby-Peckham 59′, own goal 90’+1′)
Cambridge 8 (Jack Connor 34′, 105′, Bailey Webster 39′, 65′, 85′, 101′, Zachary Mayo 53′, Joshua Clarkin 95′)
*After extra time

Second round

Northern United 2 (Liam Jessep 21′, 71′ pen)
Cambridge 4 (Josh Clarkin 14′, 24′, Jack Portegys 63′, Daniel Clarkin 66′)

Third round

Bay Olympic 1 (Flynn Saxon 52′)
Cambridge 2 (Josh Clarkin 22′, Jack Connor 41′ pen)

Auckland City

First round


Second round

Auckland City 5 (Cam Howieson 8′ pen, 67′, Gerard Garriga 12′, Ryan De Vries 58′, Angus Kilkolly 90′)
Metro 0

Third round

Auckland City 2 (Liam Gillion 15′, Angus Kilkolly 53′)
Hamilton Wanderers 1 (Luke Brooke-Smith 63′)


Game to be played on Friday July 5, 2024

Ferrymead Bays v Coastal Spirit
Ferrymead Park, Ferrymead, 7pm

Cambridge v Auckland City
John Kerkhof Park, Cambridge, 1pm

Melville United v Hibiscus Coast
Gower Park, Hamilton, 2pm

Manurewa v Onehunga Mangere United
Manurewa War Memorial Park, Manurewa, 2pm

Wellington Olympic v Stop Out
Wakefield Park, Island Bay, 2pm

Games to be played on Sunday July 7, 2024

Chatham Cup

Napier City Rovers v Miramar Rangers
Bluewater Stadium, Napier, 2pm

Otago University v Dunedin City Royals
Dunedin Artificial Turf, Dunedin, 2pm

Max Fletcher

Waikato-based Max Fletcher is a writer for Friends of Football. He’s also a qualified football and futsal referee.

This story was first published on July 5, 2024.

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