Oxford 3s 3-1 Oxford 2s
Given the respective positions of the two teams in Trysports Prem 1, on paper it looked like the 2s were a safe bet to take 3 points this weekend, despite missing 2 or 3 regulars. And, for the first ten minutes or so, we (the 2s) did start strongly, passing the ball around well and dominating play. There were a few efforts on goal, and the first short corner in our favour.
And then, maybe half-way through the first half, the 3s stepped up a gear and began to counter-attack. From one of these moves forward, and after some initial saves, Suzie – the 3s captain playing her first match in ages due to injury – pounced to put the ball in the air and find the back of the net, giving Phil in goal no chance. The 3s followed this up with a second goal, a well-hit short corner strike – again from Suzie – before half time.
The 2s were a little shell-shocked at the interval, but still pretty confident and determined that we could score 3 in the second half. However, the 3s had other plans, and a huge desire to hang on to their lead and a very well-organised defence. Sophia unfortunately had to limp off shortly after the break, which meant a quick reshuffle of players for the 2s. We had the majority of possession and began to throw more and more players forward, with Laura and Ruth in particular joining the attack and looking dangerous. Wil came painfully close to a goal – great initial control in the D, but her effort was scrambled away less than a metre from crossing the line.
We won numerous short corners, but kept seeing the ball go just wide or dealt with by the defence. Finally, Ruth stepped up and found the backboard with a nice strike, to get us back into the game.
All the forward momentum meant we were leaving a skeleton defence at the back, and the 3s continued to look dangerous on the break, forcing Phil to make some good saves (sometimes, even when the ball might have been going wide!) – with one effort in particular only needing a touch at the back post to have been a goal. The crowd got right behind the underdogs and, late on, the 3s broke away again. Martha picked up on the rebound after Phil’s initial save and, despite Claire’s best efforts to clear off the goal-line, the umpire judged it to have crossed (and we had to go with that since they haven’t yet installed goal-line technology at Brookes) – surely only by a centimetre at most?!
3-1 final score to the 3s, and (begrudgingly!) all credit to them for playing so well.
Man of the Match: Ruth (for the 2s) and Suzie (for the 3s)