The University XI (a mixture of players from all squads) were pre-game favourites against a strong IMS All Stars team and showed their class by running out 3-0 winners in a simple victory.
The University XI’s class shone through against the All Stars; a nervous start from both teams, was quickly spun into the university’s favour. Possession and control were the barked orders from the coaches on the side lines.
The University XI kept the ball well and played out from the back at every opportunity. They had no qualms about turning back and restarting play with their calm centre back pairing seeing plenty of play and pinging balls wide to stretch the All Stars defence.
The University XI weren’t taking breaks in play for a breather and instead got the ball back into play as quickly as possible and it was from a quick throw on the right, which ultimately resulted in the first goal.
Luke Powell took a quick throw which was quickly delivered into the box where Alexis – was afforded far too much space between the centre backs who hadn’t picked him up and he cushioned an unmarked header into the top corner after barely 15 minutes.
The two teams went in at half time with the University holding a narrow 1-0 lead. The result flattered the All Stars as the University’s possession and territory could have already put the game out the reach of the IMS squad. It was University left winger Nobbs who missed from less than five yards for debatably the miss of the season.
Changes came for both just into the second half and it was the introduction of right-winger Mahoney that really swung the game in favour of the Uni XI.
The high possession the University side enjoyed throughout the game frustrated the IMS squad and when given the opportunity from Calvin Dickson’s long throws they threw men forward to try and source an equaliser.
Dickson’s Rory Delap-esque action and length could have resulted in a goal for the IMS squad but the University were well organised at the back and won virtually all defensive headers.
It was from one of these headers that led to a lightning counter attack down the left resulting in the ball being drilled into the box that evaded both Jack Bates and Ben Chadwick to be swept in at the far post by the dangerous Mahoney.
By the final 30 minutes the IMS squad were looking tired as the University side seemingly easily spread the ball from one side to the other looking for openings, which the good movement of the forwards could expose.
The All Stars cleared a header off the line but it was merely two minutes later that a goal mouth scramble resulted in the third and final goal for the University XI as Cocksedge was quickest to react to a loose ball and he had the simplest of finishes from three yards and powered home to ensure the victory.
Daniel Smith who had played 90 minutes at right back for the IMS All Stars commented it was: “An enjoyable experience” but added the three goals condeded were “stupid goals” to give away.
On another day the IMS team could have given the University XI a real game but the early goal meant the IMS team were always harried and under pressure.
The University changed their tactics accordingly pressed high up the pitch and Dickson, Bates, Chadwick and Smith had little option but to play the ball long, the University were well deserving of the 3-0 win and will be happy they weren’t on the end of an embarrassing giant killing.
MOM: Ben Chadwick (Faraday)- Very assured appearance and wouldn’t be surprised if he isn’t seen one of the Loughborough squads come September.