Loughborough Men’s Football 1sts came up against a winless Nottingham side on Wednesday. Dan Archer was at Holywell 4 for Label Sport.
The wet conditions on Wednesday afternoon made this game a scrappy affair, and Loughborough will be disappointed to have been edged out 0-1 to Nottingham. Having dominated much of the possession throughout the game, Loughborough failed to turn the pressure into goals and Nottingham managed to pull off a classic smash-and-grab.
The game started as a tight contest, with the first chance of note falling to Nottingham after eight minutes. A throw-in was taken quickly, deep in the Loughborough half, resulting in a quick cross to the Nottingham striker, whose glancing header just evaded the far post.
On nine minutes, Nottingham were at it again. Loughborough’s centre back lost the ball, allowing the Notts striker to go clean through, forcing a good save on the angle from Loughborough’s keeper. Loughborough then started to stamp their own authority on the game, with two quick shots from distance narrowly missing the Nottingham goal.
The highlight of the first half occurred in the 35th minute – a superb double-save from the Nottingham goalkeeper. Loughborough’s left midfielder found himself clean through only to be denied by a great diving stop.
The resulting rebound fell to the feet of the Loughborough striker and with the goal at his mercy, the Nottingham goalkeeper incredibly managed to get a left hand to the shot to turn it round the post. The corner came then to nothing, and the half eventually petered out with the score at 0-0.
The second half started brightly for Loughborough, with the left midfielder stinging the hands of the impressive goalkeeper in the first minute. For the next half-hour, the rain and a number of substitutions made the game disjointed, with no chances to speak of.
In the 77th minute, Nottingham turned the screw, with a shot from their centre midfielder testing the hands of the Loughborough goalkeeper; and a series of corners kept the pressure on the home side.
With the game heading for a draw, in the 79th minute the decisive goal came to Nottingham out of nothing. After a cross came in from the Nottingham left back, the ball pinballed around the area before eventually falling to the Nottingham midfielder on the edge of the box. He rifled a shot into the top corner, leaving the Loughborough keeper helpless.
Nottingham then went into defensive mode, nullifying the Loughborough attack and holding out for a tight 1-0 win. Loughborough will be disappointed, but they will have to accept it was a day when shots just wouldn’t go in for them.