Men's Football Varsity: double win and intense penalties

Photography by Violeta Ivanova

It was a mad day for Men's Football with two wins and a disappointing loss, meaning they won 3/4 of their overall matches, a pleasing overall victory. CCCU may have won the battle, but UKC won the war.

Men’s Football 4ths- Inter-college leaders cruise past CCCU

By Joe Acklam

A match that started out with a shock early lead for Christ Church quickly turned into a massacre as Rutherford Raiders ran out 5-2 winners against the Christ Church 4th side to add a Varsity victory to their impressive season so-far.

The game got underway in surprising fashion as after a spell of possession for Kent, Christ Church went up the other end, and had a saved shot turned into an empty net by Ashley Poppy to put Christ Church one from the good. This did not change the pattern of the game much, Raiders showed the skill that has seen them lose just once this season to keep the ball beautifully well and run Christ Church ragged. It didn’t take long for this to have its impact and the Christ Church goal seemed to be living a charmed existence until the 21st minute. It was at this point that a moment of magic brought the game back on to level terms. Rutherford striker Ahmed picked up the ball 25 yards from goal on the left-hand side, cut inside and then sent a drive into the top corner, and parity was restored.

Having got on the scoresheet Rutherford grew in confidence and before long had added a second. The ball was slide in behind the Christ Church for the Raiders left-winger Dos Santos received the ball, checked back and showed remarkable footwork to come inside his defender and unleash a controlled finish beyond the keeper to put Rutherford into the lead. It was from here until half-time that Rutherford Raiders put the result beyond doubt. After 36 minutes the right-winger, Kebz, was slide behind the defence before rounding the keeper and making it 3-1. Less than two minutes later it was four, as after a few ricochets in the box, the ball fell to Ahmed who scored his brace with a curling finish.

After half-time, Rutherford seemed to get complacent and were unable to keep up the annihilation of the first period, but Christ Church did not really have the weapons to chip away at their lead. After Raiders were denied an excellent team goal on 65 minutes, the game was made slightly interesting as Christ Church pulled it back to 4-2 as Jordan McLaughlin powered a header home from a corner. Unfortunately, any hope of an unlikely comeback was put to bed after 88 minutes with a moment of pure genius from Dos Santos. A free-kick on the left touch line, roughly level with the edge of the box was whipped in to the top corner past a dumbfounded goalkeeper, who was left routed to the spot.

Overall it was a deserved point for Kent in the overall Varsity standings and the two goals that Christ Church did get flattered them a fair amount. The game was a reasonable approximation of what football has become. With the Raiders displaying the possession based football that has become the trend of late, and Christ Church were a team whose main tactic was to physically batter the skill out of their counterparts, a tactic that did not really pan out as they might have hoped.

Men’s Football 3rds- A Tense Penalty Shoot-Out Ends in Delight for Kent

By Joe Acklam

A game that looked like a guaranteed win for Kent for vast swathes of its duration ended in a sudden death shoot-out and a third victory for Kent’s men against Christ Church in this year’s Varsity football games.

A game of Christ Church attempting to tactically frustrate Kent nearly turned into a masterplan for Christ Church, with their coach keen to operate in a low-block and mark Kent’s key players out of the game. This method did not have the best of beginnings, after 19 minutes Kent took the lead from one of the highlight reel moments of Varsity so far, with Kent scoring directly from a corner on the right-hand side into the top left corner, catching the Christ Church keeper off guard.

For most of the rest of the first-half chances were at a premium, with Kent unable to pass their way round a stubborn Christ Church defence, who had limited success from breaking from deep. This was until the 40th minute, however, as right-winger Alfie was slipped in behind and after a goalkeeping error, could tap into an empty net. Level pegging did not last long, as Christ Church pushed up in the 45th minute for a long throw, which backfired as Kent streaked clear and were able to regain the lead from a one-v-one.

The game followed a similar pattern in the second period, Kent struggled to find any chinks in the Christ Church armour. The main drama occurred as the Kent bench swore that a shot from a goalmouth scramble, but the referee said, ‘no dice.’ Not long after that frustration, the scores were level once again. After 84 minutes, Christ Church swung a free-kick from the halfway line into the box, before it was flicked home by De Garris, and we were headed for penalties.

The ritual that no one likes to be on wrong side of followed. After some heroic goalkeeping and some questionable penalty taking occurred as we entered sudden death with just six penalties scored in total. Both scored, both missed, and both scored once again as we headed into the ninth round. Christ Church’s second half substitute stepped up and blazed the ball over the bar and Kent were one kick away from glory. An unwilling spot-kick taker stepped up and buried it, with his teammates haring behind him to pile-on to a pit of extasy. All Christ Church could do was console one another to the tune of the Kent chants.

You would be hard pushed to find someone with enough bias to say that Kent did not deserve the victory, but when the clock strikes penalties, the outcome is almost impossible to predict, and fortunately for the purist, the better team did come out on top.

Men's Football 2s - Penalty shoot out is intense for all and ends with a sad loss

By Megan Warwick

For men's twos, the day was not so victorious but they should still be proud of themselves. A goal was scored by kent within the first half of the match, keeping UKC with high hopes. The ball constantly moved from one side of the pitch to the other, never dominated by one area.

It wasn't until Christ Church scored their first goal that a moan went off in the UKC side of the audience. It was neck and neck, the final race for victory in full swing. Would it go to penalties again? Surely not.

But it did. For the third Men's Football match this Varsity, the cutting point was penalties. We started strong. CCCU missed, Kent Scored. Kent scored, CCCU scored. It all went so well, until UKC didn't save that very important goal. The fight to sudden death began again.

It was when UKC #13 missed the shot. The crowd booed. CCCU cheered. Number #1 stepped up to the ball from CCCU. This was it. The sudden moment of truth. No matter how many times 'C4 can't score' was shouted, it did not stop them from booting that final victorious ball into UKC's goal, inches away from Cameron the goalie's gloves. The screams were defeaning as CCCU ran in for a victorious hug. UKC bowed their heads, the captain looking disappointed at his loss. But they brought it together, hugging it out and showing great sportsmanship.

Regardless, Football did themselves proud. Three out of four wins is highly commendable, adding to the score chart 25 - 8 to UKC. Go get them Team Kent.