Thursday 11th of May saw Nottingham Trent Football take the spoils in their Varsity match at Meadow Lane. Both NTU WFC and NTU Men’s Football were able to beat University of Nottingham. 1-0 and 2-0 respectively.
NTU Women’s Football were first up at the County Ground; prior to this meeting NTU WFC drew twice against UoN in their BUCS League, and in last year’s Varsity they lost out to Uni Of on penalties, so our Ladies knew they were in for a tough and close match.
Helping Trent Ladies along that day was the mighty Trent Army; NTU Students came out in force for the Ladies, especially in comparison to UoN’s efforts. Lead by NTU WFC members who weren’t able to play, the crowd were vocal and eager to get one over our city rivals.
The match started, and right from the off you could tell that it was going to be a tight and tough game. NTU WFC manager Ross Thorpe told Platform “We identified their where their danger would come from and we snuffed it out.” This was clear to see as throughout the opening minutes (and most of the match) there was a tough central midfield battle with Camilla Newton and Charlotte Steggles who looked to shut down UoN’s creative outlet in Elizabeta Ejupi, their number 10.
With neither side looking like they could break the other down it was clear something special was needed. And that’s what we got, a brilliant snap shot on the half turn by Mallory Isley was powerful enough and had the right amount of dip to fly over UoN’s keeper and give Trent the lead close to 30 minutes into the game. A massive goal and the crowd new it as well, erupting into cheers for our Ladies, and jeers for UoN. The first half finished 1-0 to Trent.
Second half and it’s cagey again, neither side have many chances, up to this part Trent keeper Aja Aguirre hasn’t had much of anything to do, apart from an impressive areal catch preventing a cross ball to Uni Of forwards.
Manager Ross Thorpe brings on Milly Jones and Anna Re around the 70 minute mark; providing fresh legs to ensure defensive stability for the remainder of the game.
University of Nottingham Ladies looked like they were out of ideas, the defensive switch in the second half by Trent seemed to stump the UoN Women.
The final whistle blew and elation rose in the air, NTU WFC came away with a well-earned victory. Final score 1-0 to Trent.
On to Men’s Football. NTU’s Men’s First team were coming off one of their best ever seasons going into Varsity this year. Finishing top of the league, and securing promotion into the Northern Premier division of BUCS, it was safe to say spirits were high within the camp.
The two Nottingham teams had meet each other twice before prior this varsity meeting, once in the league, and once again in the playoffs. In those meetings Trent remained unbeaten, a positive omen before the start of this match.
By the time of the 7:45pm kick off, a massive crowd had amassed in the home stand for Trent, the noise of which engulfed the small spectacle that was UoN’s Fan’s. Shouts of “We forgot that you were here” bellowed throughout the stadium, the Trent Army was ready.
Kick off and NTU got off to the perfect start. An early cross field ball from Rackeem Reid was met by the head/back/shoulder of Josh Barr Roston, whose effort lobbed the keeper for an early goal in the 3rd minute. An incredible start for NTU, Head coach Alessandro Bercherini and Assistant First team coach Noel Whelan couldn’t of hoped for anything better from the lads.
As the game progressed Trent’s Men kept that energy from the first goal, snuffing out any danger at the back with the solid pairing of Louis Guest and Will Daly, then pressing hard on Uni Of’s defence with Oisin O’Malley. Soon this pressure produced a diamond in the form of a goal.
Brilliant retention and possession play from Trent after a cross into the box saw the ball swept out wide to Josh Barr Roston who then delivered an inviting ball into the most dangerous area of the box – between the six yard box and the penalty spot – for Jake Wright to convert with a sweet volley into the top left corner. 2-0 to Trent!
“Easy! Easy! Easy!” Shouted the crowd as Trent came into half time with a commanding lead, one that we didn’t want UoN to forget.
The second half got underway and Trent were eager to capitalise on a stellar first period. However UoN seemed to have gained some fight in the dressing room and weren’t allowing much to get through.
Trent had a few chances from through balls into Oisin O’Malley however we couldn’t seem to capitalise, though the energy and intent was there.
Then the unthinkable happened; a controversial penalty was awarded to University of Nottingham, as a cross came into the box, it was deemed NTU made a dangerous challenge – or no attempt to win the ball – on UoN’s striker, who leapt for the ball.
For once the Trent army had been silenced. Everyone watched in anticipation of what seemed to be an inevitable goal for UoN to get them back into the match. BUT MAN OF THE MATCH JAKE WOOD WAS HAVING NONE OF IT. Pulling of a simply unfathomable DOUBLE save, denying Uni Of any way back into the match.
The roar from that save still sends tingles down our spines. The defining moment of the match, the save(s) that screamed to Uni Of, “this is our day, this is our win” or as the crowd put it “THE CITY IS OUR’S.”
From that point on, Trent were able to see of the match and seal the double football Varsity win over our Red Brick rivals. The traditional pitch invasion certified the win, as Trent danced the night away.
What a way to win it, what a brilliant couple of matches. Football Varsity was ours, and everyone knew it.
Congratulations to NTU WFC and NTU FC, it was a scintillating occasion, all that’s left to say is, “let’s all have a disco! Let’s all have a Disco! Na na, na, na.”
By Ola Fisayo.