Nottingham University Womens 0-2 Nottingham Trent Womens
Monday 12th March 2007
Meadow Lane Football Ground.
Jenny Smith reporting for Impact
Nottingham University’s female footballers remained positive despite losing 2-0 against an impressive Trent side.
Trent started strongly, applying mounting pressure to Uni, creating a number of chances, and hitting the post in the 24th minute. A goal seemed inevitable, and the breakthrough came in the 28th minute. Trent’s number 10, who’s nickname Silks undoubtedly refers to her remarkable skill on the ball, headed in off a corner from the left to put Trent in front.
Despite valiant defending by Uni, including a headed goal-line clearance, they were unable to prevent Trent from extending their lead just 10 minutes later. Trent striker Thumper lived up to her name with a shot from outside the box fired over the towering figure of goalkeeper Nicky Shankey and into the back of the net.
Uni responded well, beginning to regain possession towards the end of the second half and create some of their own chances. Midfielder Jen Leveille had a shot blocked and striker Claire Sifah put the ball in the back of the net but only after the linesman had blown his whistle for offside.
Trent’s women footballers may have been superior in the first half, but in the interval, Uni’s Cheerleaders put Trent to shame with a spectacular display to which the Trent cheerleading squad’s lame response was to send out one or two girls onto the field to do a couple of back flips. Uni’s team continued this superiority into the second half of the match, which they dominated from the very start, with a succession of scoring opportunities.
Leveille shot over the crossbar just after the break, and midfielder Katie Barber came close on the hour, her shot from distance narrowly missing to the right. Unfortunately, Uni were unable to convert a series of free kicks and corners into a much longed-for goal, despite bringing fresh legs onto the pitch with substitutions in the 56th and 85th minutes.
Uni’s commitment to the game never wavered, with two of the team enduring injuries in their endeavour to stifle the old enemy. Defender Emma Blenkinsop received a blow to the head in a challenge on Trent’s second scorer, while goalkeeper Nicky Shankey suffered a knee in the face making a save.
Following the final whistle, the Uni team gathered for a final huddle before running over to thank the fans in the Sirrel stand.
Captain Laura Evans praised her team after the match:
“I’m incredibly proud of them. I’m not disappointed at all, the second half was amazing.”
She pointed out that the result was indicative of the progress the team has made this season:
“After losing 6-0 and 7-0 to Trent at the start of the season, 2-0 is a win for me. They’ve come so far this year.” Only 5 players out of a squad of 15 played in last year’s varsity, compared with an experienced Trent side, and Uni were faced with the task of building a team from scratch.
Evans commended the efforts of her team in the run-up to the match, in which she introduced weekend training and an alcohol ban and applauded their performance in the game.
“Julia [Brown] was a brick wall in defence, she’s so confident, but we all had our moments, it was a real team effort.”
She added that the support had been brilliant:
“To have everyone cheering, win or lose, is fantastic.”
Regrettably, Uni’s vocal dominance wasn’t reflected in the scoreline.
1. Nicky Shankey
2. Laura Evans
3. Suzy Graves
4. Emma Blenkinsop
5. Julia Brown
6. Jenny Ward
7. Natalie Ward
8. Jen Leveille
9. Claire Sifah
10. Leanne Garner
11. Katie Barber
Goals: Silks (28), Thumper (38).
VARSITY SERIES 06-07 SCORE (after 3 contests): Uni 1 (Boat Race) Trent 2 (Ice Hockey, Women’s Football)
Next Varsity Matches:
Indoor Varsity (Netball/Basketball/Korfball): 14th March
Rugby: 30th April
Cricket: 27th May.