Controversial tackle ruins UoB Football’s promotion chances

In the decisive finale of the season, a leg-breaking tackle ruined UoB’s chances of promotion against contenders Nottingham Trent.

Wednesday 5th March was a crucial day for those involved with the UoB Men’s 1st’s versus Nottingham Trent University Men’s 1st’s football clash.

UoB needed a 3-0 win over their top of the table rivals, to secure promotion to the Northern Premier League and the Midlands 1A League title due to a 3-0 defeat in the reverse fixture earlier in the season.

It meant UoB had it all to do in the tensest of season finales.

UoB preparing for Trent showdown

UoB preparing for Trent showdown

The significance of the game was emphasised byMen’s Football Club captain, Jonny Pigott:

“We had to win by three goals so we knew the size of the task, but were confident we could have a good go as we had conceded six and scored 22 before the game.”

With UoB in good form going into the game it was set up to be a titanic clash between the top two.

The Tab also spoke to another member of the First-Team, Greg Shone, who gave us his thoughts on the atmosphere prior to the match:

“With regards to the game it was already a pretty heated match due to the importance of it.

“Trent did not help with subtle mind games creating further tension.”

UoB winning the midfield battle

UoB winning the midfield battle

Before the game even began the tension could be cut with a knife and mid-way through the first half this build up erupted following a horror tackle on UoB midfielder Declan Kirby.

Kirby suffered a dislocated ankle and compound fracture which left players and spectators alike in a state of utter shock and disbelief.

Shone described the scenes he witnessed as “the worst thing I’ve ever seen” and claimed that everyone at the match “was just shocked.”

“A lot of lads got really emotional and a few had to go away’ due to the distressing scenes on the pitch.”

Getting up above the opposition

Spectator and photographer for the Tab, Charlotte Wilson said:

‘I genuinely haven’t felt so on edge when doing sports photography in a long time!’

The horror tackle led to a sending off for the tackler and Trent with 10 men for the remainder of the game. It gave UoB the chance, albeit in unwelcome circumstances, to get the 3 goals they needed for the title and promotion.

However UoB struggled against the 10 men of Trent.

Speaking after the game Piggot said:  “We would have had more of a chance against 11, because they went into an ultra-defensive mode and did nothing offensively. So it was all us, but I think we ran out of ideas, and weren’t able to break them down regularly enough.”

Another tough 50-50 battle

Another tough 50-50 battle

UoB came out 1-0 victors on the day but it wasn’t enough to secure the promotion they so desperately wanted. The defence-minded Trent held out to secure the title and Pigott suggests that this along with the tackle may have affected UoB:

“I think the injury was a hindrance if anything, Declan had been such a strong performer throughout the year, and it was clear that he was starting to influence the game. The injury affected everyone on the pitch, not only had a very good footballer been injured like that, but also a large character in the dressing room, everyone looked up to him.”

Still looking for the breakthrough late on

Still looking for the breakthrough late on

Pigott went on to say that when play restarted his thoughts were on the injury and “it was always lingering there in my case anyway”

Despite the disappointment and controversy, UoB fans and students will be hoping that the team can build on this season and drive for promotion again next year-hopefully without a similar incident as this year’s finale.

The Tab wishes Declan a speedy recovery from his injuries and UoB 1st’s all the best for next season!

All Photographs courtesy of Charlotte Wilson