Jesus women show up their Oxford counterparts

Kate Needham 15 November 2007

This weekend Jesus College Oxford hosted a gripping women’s football match with their Cambridge sister college, an annual event which tends to always end in tears for Oxford. True to form, the ever-determined Jesus women’s team put 3 fantastic balls past the Oxford keeper.

It wasn’t a typical line up for Cambridge.

Due to injuries, the team was supplemented by two Oxford substitutes standing in for defence and midfield. The first half was consequently quite scrappy, with most of Cambridge’s players having never played together before. Oxford put in some strong challenges too, particularly in defence, managing to break Cambridge’s flow of play.

There were some good breaks and sliding tackles on the right wing by Kate Needham, and excellent play by centre mid Clare Longden, who was running rings around Oxford’s midfield throughout the game. Cambridge chances were well defended by what felt like the whole Oxford team, until the inevitable break finally came 10 minutes before the end of the first half.

A brilliant ball was fed into midfield allowing Needham to battle it through to the other end, finding Kate “Goal Machine” Morland, to decisively drive the ball into the back of the net.

Before the half-time whistle blew, Oxford’s midfield struck back at the Cambridge defence, their centre-mid making a spectacular run through the midfield, breaking through the defence and causing a couple of hairy moments for substitute keeper, Claire Davey.

The shot powered from outside the area, only narrowly went wide of the post; a heart stopping moment for both sides. however, valiant defending from Liz Whyte, Sarah Creber and Lizzie McLaren, ensured that this was the only major threat of the first half.

One nil up at the beginning of the second half, Cambridge played a much more confident game with some great defensive clearances from Whyte and McLaren.

Greater pace and relentless drives from midfield also provided lots of chances for forwards Morland and Sharhard. Keeping the pressure up, Longden took a superb corner, sending the ball into the heart of box where Creber managed to escape her marker and put in a fantastic header; 2-0 to Cambridge. A highly rattled Oxford proved determined not to give up the fight, sending an unstoppable shot into the top corner; and making it a tense 2-1.

Boosted by their goal, Oxford’s centre mid led the team again in a strong attack on Cambridge’s defence. But her promising charge into the area was met by a brave challenge from Davey, resulting in the midfielder being substituted because of an injury. Without their best player, Oxford suddenly looked incredibly shaky. Watson worked the ball through the defence, taking a great shot that just topped the cross bar. From the resultant corner, Longden fed a brilliant curling ball into the box, onto which Creber put a premiership finish.

Kate Needham