After the most successful season in nearly a decade, the Nottingham University Men’s Football first team are close to being back where they rightfully belong. Finishing as Midlands Division 1a champions with a record that consisted of 8 wins and only 2 defeats was a real achievement. The standards were higher than ever but the lads did not disappoint, and in the championship decider at Oxford the Notts team came out comfortable 2-0 winners and champions.
It was now time to focus on the knockout competition, in which the team would compete against the Premiership sides in the leagues above them. In the first round they drew Brunel away and, in spite of missing a few key players, put in the best performance of the season culminating in a 5-1 win against a team from a higher division. Suddenly eyebrows were being raised.
The Notts team were then faced with the tough task of Loughborough, premiership champions, in another away match. Notts started well and despite conceding an early goal were much the better side. Unlike the Loughborough of old, this side did little more than play speculative long balls to the Peter-Crouch-like striker up front. Ultimately, it was a story of missed chances and it was disappointing to get knocked out by a side that, on the day, were no better than our own team.
Notts could not dwell on the disappointment for too long as they had a promotion playoff with Manchester to concentrate on. In blizzard conditions, Notts conceded first and yet this appeared to galvanise our team as they drew level with a penalty, but failed to take any of the numerous chances we then created, meaning the game finished 1-1. With the second and decisive playoff still to come against Stirling, which will determine if Notts achieve promotion to the premiership, training has intensified and they are coming in for the last week of Easter to prepare for the game and of course Varsity. Congratulations to all involved and let’s hope we can round things off in style.
By Scott McCubbin