The football Blues were crowned BUCS Midlands division champions on Wednesday after edging University of Birmingham 1-0 at Wilberforce Road. They accomplished the feat with a game in hand, which reflects the overall dominance in their division throughout the season.
Cambridge were eager to wrap up the league with one eye on the BUCS Trophy final against Nottingham Trent next Tuesday, but it was not plain sailing. Both Cambridge and Birmingham struggled to keep possession at the start. Nonetheless, both sides bravely ventured forward but none of the attempts were threatening. Credit must be given to the Blues’ defence and goalkeeper Fergus Kent in the face of increasing pressure from Birmingham down the right flank as the match wore on. Perhaps due to the intermittent hail, the home team’s crosses were not finding their mark in a frustrating opening half hour.
The bright spark for Cambridge came from forward Ben Tsuda, who made several mazy runs that started to open up gaps in the Birmingham defence. As the Blues started to wrestle control of the match, their efforts finally paid off when captain Ross Broadway glanced in a header from a free kick on the left flank. It was a just reward for Broadway whose work rate in midfield was outstanding throughout the match.
However, all the good work was almost undone before half time when right back Simon Court conceded a careless penalty after he brought down a Birmingham forward. Much to the relief of the home team, Kent guessed right and palmed the ball away for a corner. The Blues thus entered the break with their lead intact and Birmingham ruing what might have been. Although Birmingham had more possession and created more chances, it was the Blues who looked on the ascendancy and were only 45 minutes away from a league win.
The start of the second half was greeted by a longer period of hail which hampered visibility as the match descended into a scrappy affair. Once again, it was Cambridge who provided the spark that the spectators needed. Forward Rick Totten came alive with several runs that threatened the Birmingham defence while Danny Forde had a shot that was well saved.
As the hail died away, the Birmingham forwards got their act together and started to manufacture meaningful attacks. In their best spell of the match, a curling effort from the edge of the box was tipped over by Kent while an open header just missed its mark. The Blues’ defence held firm and were well organised. Thereafter, Cambridge were guilty of not converting their chance son numerous counter attacks. The Blues have to be more clinical if they want to avoid disappointments in the BUCS Trophy final and Varsity match.
Nonetheless, the day belonged to Cambridge as they ran the clock down to get the win they needed. As the whistle blew, the Blues celebrated jubilantly with their coach Che Wilson. Speaking to TCS Sport after the match, Wilson expressed how proud he was of his players. He added, “Everyone played their part and made a great effort although it was a scrappy match. The players deserve this league win after their efforts throughout the season. We will now focus on the BUCS Trophy final against Nottingham Trent. We are confident but not complacent.”
Perhaps the person with the biggest grin after the match was captain Broadway. “At the start of the season in September, we never thought we could win the league. But we worked hard, came through against some tough opposition and we are all proud of our efforts.”
Looking ahead to the Varsity match, Broadway said that both Oxford and Cambridge will be confident, but he is hopeful that Cambridge can win the treble.