Football: Cambridge 4 Oxford Brooks 0
The Blues have two ambitions this season. Both captain and coach want to win promotion from the league and the varsity. Yesterday’s performance against Oxford Brookes did nothing to diminish the hopes of both men. It was a top class performance.
It provided encouragement for the rest of the season and the yearly varsity match when the ‘other’ Oxford comes to play the Blues in the capital.
Brookes arrived as a fancied team in the league but were soon put on the back foot by a well drilled Blues side.
The Blues soon got into their passing stride and it was not before long that the pressure told. Stock, evanescent all afternoon, got a lucky cannon off the opposition in the middle of the park and drove skilfully towards goal.
It was another expert finish from the man, who added a second in the second half, and has now made it three from two games. Stock provides a real thorn in opposition sides with is pace and direct approach and will hopefully be handful all season.
In truth, he could have had a hat-trick in the first half and it was disappointing that he didn’t capitalise on more of the opportunities.
This, though, is something that the whole team will wish to reflect upon. Like last week, the team failed to make the most of the chances they earned.
They produce good football and skill in the build up but then failed to put into the back of the net. This week an open goal was missed, although it was a difficult half volley, and a free header was sent sailing over the bar.
Two ambitious Baxter overhead kicks also failed to find the net, although when had to be clear off the line.
Both coach and captain have promised to address this in training this week and both will be satisfied, that unlike last week, the team kept direction when they had taken the advantage.
If the Blues can become more clinical, then the team looks set fair as both defensive and midfield units have already established themselves. Something that captain Johnson picked up on after the game as he was pleased that “the banks were sorted” and that “the defence swept up everything”.
In the first half, Brookes were limited to only two real chances and desperation was evident in the second half when shots were limited to outside the box.
Brookes had a poor game overall and once the Blues started to dominate the second half, rash challenges started to fly in showing that any Oxford/Cambridge match has its spice.
It is arguable that Brookes should have been left with ten men as another clumsy challenge by the lumbering centre-back resulted in a penalty for the Blues. Bizarrely, despite awarding the penalty, the referee booked the Blues player who was brought down.
It was the nadir for a referee who had a poor game but Johnson, ignoring the commotion, calmly stepped up and slotted it home leaving the keeper with no chance.
Overall, it was one for the keeper to forget as it looked like he could hardly catch a beach ball if he tried.
Still the Blues pushed. The triumvirate of the front three of Dan, Stock and Baxter constantly tormented the Brookes defence. But it was Rutt who provided the highlight of the half.
As the ball bounced to the edge of the area, he caught it just right to send it flying into the net.
This just added to the sense that this was the best performance of the season.
The Blues have now set down a marker and go into the next game hoping to keep their unbeaten run intact.
Michael Alhadeff – Sports Reporter