VARSITY SERIES MEN’S FOOTBALL- result
Nottingham University 0 Nottingham Trent 3
Monday March 12th 2007
Notts County Football Club, Meadow Lane
Adam Harwood, Stuart Webber, Matt Edwards and Benjamin Grant reporting for Impact
Uni earlier tonight relinquished their Men’s Football Varsity title in front of a huge crowd at Meadow Lane. Despite prolonged spells of second half pressure, Nottingham suffered from occasional defensive lapses to hand Trent a comfortable scoreline that didn’t reflect the intensity of the play. The result leaves Uni 3-1 down in this years Varsity series, with still 8 Varsity matches remaining, 4 of which will be held this coming Wednesday.
To a roar of “Stand up if you hate the Trent”, the two teams entered the battlefield, determined to be the victors of the 90 minutes to come. Yet it was the caravanners who settled the quickest, when an overhead kick from a corner by Trent’s #10 flew a few feet wide of the far post. Moments later, a free kick from 30 yards failed to trouble Uni keeper Russ Garland, and the jeers from the Uni side increased the already impressive noise levels coming from Nottingham. Uni then proceeded to have the game’s first effort on target, with a Lee Raji header easily dealt with by the Trent #1. A Graeme Catlin crunching tackle moment’s later confirmed that Uni had finally taken a grip on the game, with 12 minutes on the clock.
Whilst the Trent players may be jobless for several years post-university, they began to express their adaptability from the corner flag, with a spat of corners increasingly putting the Uni defence under pressure. One indeed flew off George Hicks on the Uni goalline, but fortunately rebounded over the bar, when it could so easily have given Trent the lead. Then, however, an incisive Uni breakaway led to the game’s first controversy. Some excellent link up play between Catlin and Tom Rosher, breaking forward from defence, saw the latter felled inside the area. The referee waved away penalty appeals, claiming that Trent cleanly took to the ball, despite the howls of derision from the Jimmy Sirrel stand to the left.
Another break, this time by the Poly, led to the best chance so far. Trent’s dangerous #11 lofted the ball over Garland, only to see his shot deflected wide from a tight angle. The ensuing corner led to Trent immediately losing the ball, and in the frustration, Trent’s rather lardy-looking #8 cynically fouled Hicks, leading to the game’s only booking. Scott Mccabbin then proceeded to have a decent effort from a 30 yard freekick, his effort just yards over the bar. Shortly afterwards, another curling effort from Raji looked like it was bending towards the far right corner, but it dipped in front of the Trent keeper for a comfortable save. Moments later, in the 35th minute, disaster struck. A needlessly conceded corner by Hicks was headed in by Trent’s #6, despite the best intentions of the defender on the line to keep it out. The linesman signalled that the ball had crossed the line, and Trent, in 1966 England style, had the lead, that on the run of play, they had just about deserved.
After the goal, Uni created a couple of half chances, before Raji, played in by Catlin, had an excellent chance to equalise, but he hit his lob well wide. The half time whistle went soon after, and Uni had the time it took for their cheerleaders and their Trent counterparts to perform, to gear up for the second half.
HALF TIME Uni 0 Trent 1
Uni came out for the second half looking keen to amend the scoreline, whilst the crowd increased in volume, targeting the badger-like Trent captain Ady Payne for special treatment with chants of “What the fuck is in your hair!”. But just 2 minutes into the half, a hopeful half-volley from the Trent #4 from the edge of the area bounced below the despairing dive of Garland, who should have had the shot covered. Uni were now facing a mighty uphill task. The suffering fans did have light relief, however, when Payne narrowly escaped a booking for his over-enthusiastic celebration aimed at the Uni supporters, and then promptly had orange juice (I think) thrown over him when taking a Trent throw.
Though Garland made a good save in tipping a Trent freekick over the bar, it was Uni who had to come forward, and with the introductions of Vernes Causevic and Andrea Fraquelli, the Uni tempo was raised. Fraquelli had a long range shot go wide when a pass may have been the better option, and a goalmouth scramble couldn’t be finished off by a Uni boot. Also, a mesmerising run by Hicks led to him beating 3 players, before a last gasp Trent tackle in the area deprived him of what would have been a stunning goal.
But as Uni committed players forward, Trent had chances on the break, the best of which saw fatty #8 hit the post after good work from the Trent #9.
After a Trent penalty claim was correctly turned down, Uni had arguably their best chance to get back into the game. A one on one situation between Smith and the Trent shotstopper was won by the keeper, with Smith’s shot being just too low. But Uni were running out of time, and Trent were still looking dangerous on the break, with a Chris Akinrele challenge certainly denying Trent a third. In injury time, however, with some Trent fans already appealing for the full time whistle, tired legs in the Uni defence couldn’t prevent the Trent #6 running clean through and slotting the ball under Garland for a third.
After the match, Impact caught up with Uni’s outstanding right-back Chris Akinrele, who congratulated the opponents in victory, but suggested that the scoreline was harsh on the team. He agreed that defensive mistakes had “cost the team the game”, but that the Uni players all “did themselves very proud”. For now, however, another Varsity match is lost, and the trophy cabinet in the Trent hovel is now positively bulging.
FULL TIME Uni 0 Trent 3
SHOTS ON TARGET: Uni 5 Trent 5
SHOTS OFF TARGET: Uni 4 Trent 5
CORNERS: Uni 4 Trent 8
BOOKED: Uni 0 Trent 1
SENT OFF: Uni 0 Trent 0
Uni (4-4-2); Garland; Akinrele, Rosher, Gough, Corbett (Webb, 86); Mccubbin, Smith, Hicks, Catlin (Fraquelli, 57); Raji, Hughes (Smith, 55)
IMPACT’s Uni MOTM: Scott Mccubbin
VARSITY SERIES 06-07 SCORE: Uni 1 (Boat Race) Trent 3 (Ice Hockey, Women’s Football, Men’s Football)