Clinical UON Trounce Trent 6-4 To Level Varsity

Tomos Millward

With UON trailing 5-4 across Varsity, it was down to the final event, Futsal, to decide the competition. UON emerged victorious and equalled Trent across the competition meaning that, due to last year’s victory, the University of Nottingham retained sporting supremacy for another year running. 

Both teams started the game in a cagey manner, with UON just about edging possession in the opening few minutes. Trent’s game plan became clear early on through consistent time-wasting and exaggerating injuries. This is an especially effective strategy given Futsal’s fast pace and emphasis on quick restarts following fouls and dead balls. Trent players exaggerating injury meant that one of the referees had to come over and halt the game, disrupting UON’s flow. 

Both teams snatched at chances in the opening stages

Both teams snatched at chances in the opening stages with Trent striking the post from an early free kick and UON missing a tap-in at the far post. This tactic, of using low, driven crosses into the back post, was one that both teams sought to use throughout the game to create clear-cut opportunities and manipulate the opposition’s settled defence. This paid dividends for UON who snatched an early lead with this technique.

The remainder of the first half was fairly even in terms of both chances and possession with constant stoppages from both sides who tried to win fouls high up the pitch to increase distance from their own goal and allow more players to get forward.

UON and Trent both used an interesting tactic from dead ball situations in their own half. For example, if Trent had a kick-in in their own half on the righthand side, their keeper would move into left midfield and an outfield player would sit at the base of the defence. This created a back three with each wide player pushing into midfield, including the keeper on the far side, to stretch the pitch and maintain possession. This tactic was not without its obvious risk however, as Trent were to find out later in the second half.

The first half concluded with a timeout called with four minutes left of the half. Trent scored immediately following this, meaning both teams were level heading into the break.

UON grabbed a quick-fire double in the opening minutes of the second half to create a comfortable lead. Both sides then settled into a fairly even game with constant stoppages that served to benefit UON and stop Trent from gaining any momentum. UON grabbed a fourth goal following a direct ball and a short cross across the box. Trent’s tactic of pushing their keeper wide finally backfired with UON keeper Sam Johnston firing straight into an open net from his own box to cause pandemonium in the home crowd.

The game’s result was all but confirmed

Trent managed to pull one back, but the game’s result was all but confirmed. In the final few minutes Trent did score two more goals, the second being beautifully worked following a series of headed passes, but UON’s victory was ensured. UON finalised the 6-4 scoreline by taking advantage of Trent’s kamikaze positioning straight from kick-off by cutting straight through the opposition. All of each team’s time-wasting, tactical fouling, and Trent’s frustration with the result then boiled over into a brief altercation that saw UON’s substitute keeper sent off.

Overall, UON made the most of their chances in a tense encounter that saw the university retain the Varsity crown for another year. The Futsal team were cheered on by a raucous home crowd who were led by a particularly feisty top-right corner of the stands who put their opposite number to shame. 

Tomos Millward

Featured image courtesy of Pascal Swier via Unsplash Image use license found here. No changes were made to this image.
In article image 1 courtesy of @uonfutsal via Instagram. No changes were made to this image.   

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