Nottingham Trent won the BUCS Women’s Football National Trophy after a thrilling 3-1 victory against the University of Nottingham. Josh Collins gives a run down of the match.
Despite dominating possession, Notts struggled to create many clear-cut opportunities and it was their city rivals who lifted the cup after an entertaining afternoon at Basford United in front of hundreds of supporters.
The Green and Gold started off the best, with several set pieces causing trouble in the opposition box, including Mya-Lewis Powell causing all sorts of danger for Notts as they pushed for an opener. Despite their possession, they struggled for many clear-cut chances in the first half hour, with Trent having much better opportunities.
A goal saving tackle from Samantha Peters kept the scores level, despite Trent appeals for a penalty, and the high line of the Notts defence came to the rescue when Trent thought they were in on goal, only for a late offside decision by the linesman.
The first goal came the way of Nottingham Trent just before half time, and it wasn’t without controversy
After a frantic opening spell, Notts came forward more and began to have chances. Emily Jacobs had a shot well saved by the Trent goalkeeper, and from the resulting corner Sophie Bramford hit a blazing strike narrowly wide from outside the area. More opportunities came for both teams, with Jenny Ashton putting in a brilliant shift throughout the half and eventually having a shot superbly blocked for a corner.
The first goal came the way of Nottingham Trent just before half time, and it wasn’t without controversy. A long ball forward was claimed by Notts keeper Emma Heil, who was very unfortunate to collide with the fortuitous attacker as she took the ball in her grasp. With both players on the floor, the referee gave a penalty, and Trent’s Summa Betts made no mistake from the spot to make it 1-0 as the half-time whistle went.
Notts equalised through Jenny Ashton, who dribbled past a defender before curling a fine effort into the Trent goal
Knowing they had to attack and get back into the game, the Green and Gold came out for the second half all guns blazing. A shot from Eleanor Hutchins was well blocked by Trent defender Jodie Lodge, and Sarah Woodbyrne’s effort forced a smart save from the NTU goalkeeper which caused chaos in the box; however, no one was on hand to force the ball into the net.
After more sustained pressure and having withstood numerous Trent counter attacks – with the ever-present Naomi Bedeau staying firm as the last line of defence – Notts equalised through Jenny Ashton, who dribbled past a defender before curling a fine effort into the Trent goal around the 70-minute mark.
It looked like Notts would be most likely to find the next goal, and they won a free kick on the edge of the Trent box. Confusion in the box caused the ball to be pinballed around, before the Trent keeper made a brilliant save yet again and Notts put the rebound over the bar.
Only 8 minutes after Ashton’s goal, NTU took the lead once again. Captain Mai Moncaster went on a surging run into the box and placed her finish into the far corner, beyond the reach of Heil in goal.
It was not to be for the Green and Gold
Notts seemed to use up most of their energy in finding the equaliser earlier in the half, and despite a few chances it seemed to be Trent that would be most likely to find a third. Although Bedeau made a fantastic sliding intervention to prevent a dangerous cross coming in, NTU put the game beyond reach from the resulting corner, defender Niamh Reynolds tapping in from close range after a scramble in the box.
Five minutes of injury time led to more chances for both teams, as Moncaster rattled the crossbar for NTU before Ashton had a shot well saved for Notts. It was not to be for the Green and Gold, however, as the final whistle went, and Nottingham Trent lifted the trophy.
Despite losing out on this piece of silverware, Uni of Notts have much to be proud of from the game, dominating possession, and were up against a resolute defence and a controversial penalty decision. Their season doesn’t end here however – after winning their BUCS League division, they have a playoff campaign to come for the chance of securing promotion to the BUCS Premier League for next season.
“We had possession for most of the game and the ball in their half for the majority”
Sarah Woodbyrne: “Credit to the team, we played the better football, but they simply managed to score more goals than we did. We are still buzzing as a squad after the season, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my third year and now we turn our attention to the play-offs. Two more games and we could be promoted!”
Naomi Beadeu (captain): “The team talk at the start was that we need to be on the front foot from the start, and that was exactly what happened. We were unlucky to be behind at the break, but the half time team talk was all about reinforcing that desire and passion in all of us. We had possession for most of the game and the ball in their half for the majority, and were really unlucky and they utilised their attacking threats”
“We still have our playoffs to come, our first game is away to Sheffield, and I believe we are a better footballing side than them, and then after that the finals to get us promoted to the top flight. When I entered the role as captain, my aims were to be promoted and to win a cup final, although even reaching a cup final will leave a legacy at our club as we have never done that before. This is the best season that this club has had in a long time – but our aim turns to promotion now.
You can keep up to date with the Green and Gold Girls’ progress in the playoffs by following their Instagram @UoNWFC.
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