Brookes Varsity Match Report: Men's Blues 1-0 Brookes
After a tough league match against Nottingham on Wednesday, which resulted in a 2-1 loss and a premature end to the Blues’ perfect run, Friday night offered an opportunity for the team to bounce straight back. A floodlit Iffley pitch played host to over 780 fans as both teams arrived eager to win their first piece of silverware this season.
The game started slowly with Brookes imposing their physicality early on looking to release their attacking players with long balls forward. However, unlike in recent years, the Blues matched the hard tackles flying in and with high balls from the keeper putting pressure on the Oxford defence, Cian Wade, Alex Urwin and ‘Man of the Match’ Sam Hale remained a solid three and stopped any Brookes’ attack before it began. With the first half providing very few chances for either side and with Oxford looking the stronger team but unable to make a break through, at the half time whistle the game remained at 0-0.
The second half began and the Blues raised the tempo with Thelen and Eghleilib beginning to cause more problems for the Brookes defenders. A Bain/Wicker combo ran the midfield releasing Witt and Shaw out wide as the Blues looked to take control of the game. A late tackle followed shortly by a penalty shout for the dark blues, which resulted in the booking of two players, sparked some more excitement into the game. Minutes later, Thelen finished off a nice move only for the cheers of the home crowed to silenced by the assistant’s flag on the far side. The Blues were on top. After creating more chances and having most of the possession Oxford looked like scoring, and with 20 minutes to go Jack Witt proved that practice really does make perfect, when a ball rolling out of the box was struck first time, curling into the far-right corner, past the outstretched hand of the Brookes keeper. OUAFC 1-0 Brookes, 20 minutes left. With the atmosphere getting heated in the stands, Brookes attempted to find a way back into the match and put several dangerous balls into the box from free kicks. Duxbury was brought on to add some fresh legs to the Blues’ attack and created a few chances to see out the game. Brookes’ best/only chance came from an intercepted pass from goalkeeper Gleeson, who remained calm to see out the danger with captain Urwin.
The game finished 1-0 and the Blues lifted their first trophy of the season. The team now look on to continue the return to winning ways against Loughborough in the league.
By Sean Gleeson.