Football Blues too good for East Anglia in the snow

Phil Brook - Sports Editor 12 February 2010

Football: Blues 4 University Of East Anglia 0

Despite an injury to their captain, the Blues secured a stunning 4-0 victory for the second time in two weeks away to the University of East Anglia (UEA).

Having thoroughly outclassed UEA last Wednesday, the Blues were not expecting a repeat performance, captain Michael Johnson commenting that “we really expected a reaction to our win last week”. Yet happily it was not to be, Cambridge showing their class for large stretches of the game.

The worries about a UEA comeback were however overshadowed by the weather conditions. Only five minutes before kick-off, the heavens opened, coating the field in a layer of snow and completely obscuring the pitch markings, leaving the referee concerned and considering abandoning the match.

Yet a combination of rapid shovelling by the Blues bench, and the pressure of fixtures on both teams led to the continuation of the game. Indeed the Blues were already looking forward to their semi-final match in the BUCS cup. Yet the team did not allow the heady mixture of snow and semis to distract them from the game, and produced a good display throughout.

The weariness of two consecutive away games was not too much for the side who pulled together, almost unchanged to fend off impotent UEA attacks. The high line maintained by the defence pinned the UEA attack back, hampered as they were by the snow.

Yet going forwards, the Blues experienced similar problems, the ball moving sluggishly, whilst the wind made high balls a real gamble, frequently blowing them off course.

Cambridge eventually showed some class to produce a powerful attack. A nice drive by Chris Maynard sent the ball inside to Mark Johnson who from a good position in the UEA penalty area succeeded in pushing the ball forward again to Jack Hylands. Hylands finished off the move with class, firing the ball into the back of the net from an impossible angle.

Solid defence from Cambridge characterised the rest of the half, the team keeping its shape well. It closed at 1-0, leaving the teams to shiver on the touchlines as another flurry of snow made the pitch close to unplayable. Indeed with UEA now eager to cancel, the referee came very close, however more tenacious work with the shovels, continuing onto the second half, saw the match carry on.

The snow reduced visibility to close to zero and the teams struggled just to run. The teams battled on for around twenty minutes until at last theĀ  weather slackened to allow the teams to play some football. Whilst the ball was affected by the ground snow, the Blues were not, and they pulled together again showing class to put UEA under serious pressure.

Perhaps a key moment, albeit surprisingly, came when star striker came off for Kerrigan. In an increasingly long ball based game, to avoid the ground snow, Kerrigan proved perfect, battling hard for everything in spite of the swirling wind.

After only two minutes, the substitute proved his worth. Maynard again drove forwards, sending a steady cross to Kerrigan who was able to knock it past the keeper to put the Blues two goals ahead. Testament to their quality, the team remained tight and focussed and set up their third goal, though a long ball from Danny Gwyther to Jack Hylands who off loaded well. Kerrigan, on top form, connected to head the ball comfortably into the back corner.

With only five minutes remaining, the Blues pressed again. Hylands was rewarded for an excellent game, winning man-of-the-match for his performance, through a last minute cross from Kerrigan. Hylands won the ball against the odds and headed it across the goal line to seal the Blues an impressive repeat of the previous week’s score. Four-nil boosts their hopes for Varsity on 3 March.

Phil Brook – Sports Editor