Matt Handley and Charley Turton reflect on mixed footballing fortunes for the Uni’s teams.
The University’s women’s seconds suffered their third defeat in three games last Wednesday, fuelling talk of potentially pulling the team from the BUCS league due to a lack of players, much to the Furies’ dismay.
Haunted by the memory of a crushing 21-1 defeat against top-of- the-league Wolverhampton two weeks ago, the Furies travelled to the University of Worcester, hoping to redeem themselves, but conscious of the fact that Worcester lie only three points below Wolves in the league.
As soon as the whistle blew it was clear that Worcester meant business. They drove the ball forward with impressive speed and precision in passing, leaving the newly formed Furies with serious work to do.
The Furies, having never fielded this particular combination of players before, were still unfamiliar with one another’s playing styles, making it difficult for them to organise a solid defence in the face of Worcester’s relentless attacking play. For the four Furies players making their University football debut, the first half was something of an ordeal, not helped by the fact that they were once again without substitutes due to unavoidable circumstances and several injuries. A combination of greater experience and flare on the ball meant that Worcester had already hammered home twelve goals by half time.
The Furies rallied together in the beginning of the second half and managed to hold off further goals through assertive defending, allowing Frances Foley and captain Katherine Coyte to break through and challenge the opposition with shots on goal. Unfortunately Worcester likewise upped their game, playing some stunning opportunist football and capitalising on even the slightest of blunders from the Furies. Even the confident goalkeeping of first year undergraduate Sophie Smith was not enough to keep back the torrent of goals from Worcester, leaving the final score at 21-0 and the Furies with a dismal sense of déjà vu following their hefty 21-1 defeat against Wolverhampton two weeks previously.
As if to rub salt in their considerable wounds, Worcester then regaled the despondent Furies with “Three cheers for Oxford Brookes” when the final whistle blew.
Meanwhile, the Women’s Blues achieved an encouraging 1-1 draw against Cambridge, thanks to an exceptional penalty scored by captain, Kim Kilmartin, which bodes well for the highly anticipated Varsity match to be played in Hilary Term.
The Men’s Blues remained top of the league after twice coming from behind to draw 2-2 with Loughborough 3rds. Julian Austin and Jack Fletcher continued their good form with dominating midfield displays, but were unable to prevent a swift counterattacking move that led to the away side’s opening goal. After slumping lifelessly to the end of the first half, the Blues were rejuvenated after the break and Adam Healy drew level with a tidy left-footed finish. L’boro once again took the lead, but were soon pegged back by a feisty Oxford side, Donald smashing home from Beddows’ flick-on.
There were few complaints with what was a decent result against a strong sporting univeristy, which serves to fortif the Blues’ table-topping-credentials.
PHOTO// Charley Turton