An unlucky Loughborough University’s men’s second team drew 0-0 with a stubborn Nottingham Trent University’s men’s second team on a breezy day at Holywell.
The first half saw a confident Loughborough side show aggression and intent against a defensive Nottingham Trent team. Although the first half was scrappy and ended scoreless, Loughborough were clearly the hungrier side with their constant pressing and penetrative forward play. The pressing game allowed the home team to have significantly more time on the ball than their opponents, cutting off the supply to a single, isolated Nottingham striker.
Loughborough’s Tom Zaqueu made a good run into the Nottingham half after finding space out wide, before putting the ball in leading to the first shot of the match by Max Austin, though it only led to a messy goalmouth scramble. A misplaced pass by the Loughborough midfield gave Trent a good chance, with their winger curling the ball wide from outside the box.
Loughborough showed their will to score as they unfortunately hit the bar from a corner, leading to a Nottingham counter attack, Matt Donvito bravely saving from close range to keep the game scoreless. As the game progressed, Nottingham showed more intent to go forward, with the same Nottingham striker missing a good chance from close range.
After winning the header from a goal kick, Loughborough’s Charlie Bull carries the ball with purpose, playing it on to a teammate, creating two chances to shoot on goal, which the opposite keeper strongly saves on both occasions. Loughborough ended the first half looking much the stronger team, Nottingham struggling to create any real chances of their own.
The second half started the way it ended, with Loughborough consistently putting Nottingham defenders and midfielders under pressure. Tom Zaqueu won the ball in the attacking half and played in Darryl Sanders, who put his shot straight at the goalkeeper. Later on, a fantastic ball by Charlie Bull slips Tom Zaqueu in, who plays it back for Darryl Sanders. He eventually has another shot which is saved by the Nottingham ‘keeper, who’s had a lot to do today. Soon after, the referee waved away Loughborough claims for a goal, as Max Austin had a shot that came off the underside of the crossbar, which seemed to go in.
After several Loughborough chances, a period of little action was broken when a Trent winger showed good trickery to get away from his marker to put a cross in, but was easily dealt with by the strong and composed Loughborough defenders. The tense final few moments saw the Trent striker take the ball into the corner, showing that they were happy with the draw. Minutes later, the goalkeeper received a booking for wasting time by kicking a ball away before a Loughborough corner.
The final whistle went, and although the score ended 0-0, Loughborough can hold their heads up high with a strong defensive performance and a creative attacking showing.