FOOTBALL: BLUES RETURN TO WINNING WAYS
The Blues jump to the top of their play-off league with a strong win over Gloucestershire University. Report from JACK ANDERSON.
After falling to a disappointing BUCS final defeat to Nottingham Trent, the Blues drew first blood in the Premier South playoffs with a comfortable 3-1 victory over Gloucestershire University. While the opening minutes were hotly contested, three first-half goals effectively killed the game off before the break, and Cambridge may now be promoted before they play their second match.
The Blues travelled the three miles to Histon FC knowing little of their opposition, other than that they won the BUCS Western 1A title.
The game began scrappily on a dry, worn-down pitch. Reverting to their Varsity-winning 4-5-1 formation, Cambridge found themselves under a lot of pressure during the opening exchanges, with Gloucestershire posing a constant threat from set-pieces.
But three quick and clinical counter-attacks opened up a half-time lead that their opponents were unable to overcome. The first goal came after good build-up play from Haitham Sherif led to the ball falling to Ben Tsuda just inside the box, who calmly side-footed into the bottom right corner of the net.
Cambridge then doubled their lead midway through the half, Sherif again the supplier as he slipped in right-midfielder Ant Childs who struck the ball cleanly across the keeper into the left-hand corner of the goal.
With Cambridge now cruising, Childs struck again to put the game to bed before the break. A Ross Broadway free-kick fell to striker Daniel Forde, who impressively beat a man inside the area before pulling back to Childs who did well to connect with his left foot despite the ball being slightly behind him, beating the keeper at his near post. Tsuda could have soon added another before half-time, however the Gloucestershire defence held firm.
The second half began as the first had left off, with Cambridge dictating play and creating all of the game’s chances. Forde nearly added to his own tally for the season, but headed straight at the keeper from a corner, while Haith hit the post with an audacious lob.
Gloucestershire soon committed more men forward, and eventually pulled a goal back. A well hit strike from just outside the area could have caused a nervy closing period, however the Blues held on well to record yet another victory this season.
With excellent pressuring, high work rate and clinical first-half finishing, Cambridge claimed all three points and now sit on top of the three team playoff league.
With Gloucestershire hosting Kent next Wednesday, promotion could be guaranteed if Kent win or draw. Regardless of that result, the Blues can guarantee promotion with a draw against Kent the following week.
Despite their failure in the cup, it has been a memorable season for the Light Blues, with league success and an outstanding Varsity win. The Tab will be with them for their match against Kent to see if they can round the year off with promotion success.