Falcons Flying High After Varsity Victory
An extra time winner from Ross Broadway gave the Falcons victory. Full match report here
Cambridge Falcons 1 – 0 Oxford Centaurs (AET)
A 30-yard screamer in extra time from Ross Broadway gave Cambridge victory in this fiery Varsity match.
With so much at stake for both sides, this was always going to be a closely contested encounter.
In the early stages there was little for the sizeable home crowd to shout about, except a characteristically robust challenge from Falcons veteran James Taylor which brought cheers of adulation from the bench.
Defence certainly had the edge over attack and both teams seemed to lack the creativity in the final third to unlock the other’s back four.
It took 22 minutes for the first attempt to be made on goal; Max Wolke’s speculative effort being tipped onto the bar by the Centaurs keeper.
Moments later, Falcons midfielder, Broadway glided past two men, only to skew his shot at goal miles wide.
Cambridge were playing all the football and dominating possession but Oxford were defending so deep that it prevented the Falcons from releasing their speedy strikers over the top.
It was only last-ditch defending from the Oxford back four that was keeping the Dark Blues in the game. 0-0 at the break.
The Falcons signalled their intent with an attacking half-time substitution, bringing striker Aki Laakso on as Cambridge switched to a 4-3-3 formation.
The game was certainly much more open in the second half, with both sides looking dangerous on the break.
Oxford had their first real chance of the match on 55 minutes, but as the ball was bobbling around the box, keeper Chris Ellis shrugged off any signs of fatigue to pounce on the ball and avert the danger.
Both sides were evidently fired up, with players flying in with wild challenges. Falcons centre back Chris Peacock was the first to be booked, after a mistimed two-footed tackle.
From the resulting free kick Oxford thought they had taken the lead, only for the referee to disallow the goal for an infringement on keeper Ellis.
Minutes later the Ellis was involved in the action again, pulling off a stunning reaction save with his feet after a fizzing shot from Centaurs striker O’Brien.
Tempers were beginning to flare and it came as no surprise when James Taylor joined Peacock in the referee’s notebook. It was quite an achievement that he had avoided a yellow card up until the 75th minute.
With the deadlock yet to be broken after 90 minutes, the game was forced into extra-time.
In a nervy first-half of extra-time neither side took the game to the other, players opting for long range shots that never really looked liked going in.
It looked for all the world as if the game was heading towards penalties. But with just minutes to go, Falcons midfielder Broadway unleashed a 30-yard thunderbolt that rocketed into the net, to steal the win for the home side.
The goal sparked riotous scenes at Grange Road, with a shirt-less Broadway buried under a bundle of euphoric Falcons and supporting Blues.
Indeed the celebrations seemed too hot for some to handle, with Blues centre back James Day being swiftly transferred to Adenbrookes after sustaining a near fatal head injury in the ruckus.
Falcons substitute Matt Gerrett, with tears of joy streaming from his eyes, told The Tab: “Shakespeare couldn’t have written a script like that. F**king yes!”
The Varsity victory is just one of many in a terrific season for the Falcons, who sit atop their league and only need to draw their one remaining fixture to secure promotion.
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