Oxford's men celebrate their victory Louis Ashworth

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● Oxford win both matches for the third consecutive year. The first time that has happened since 2000.

● It’s the inaugural double-header for the fixture

● Becca May scores a hat-trick as the Women’s Varsity finishes 3-1 to Oxford

● Full Time: 3-2 to Oxford in the 133rd Men's Varsity Football Match

6:11pm Right, folks, that ends Varsity's live coverage of the 2017 Redburn Varsity football matches. It was a disappointing day from a Cambridge perspective, as the men lost a thrilling game 3-2 after the women had fallen afoul of hat-trick heroine Becca May earlier in the day. That now makes it three consecutive Varsity wins in both the men's and women's games for Oxford, a feat not achieved since the early 2000s. I hope you've enjoyed our coverage, but for now it's goodbye from Paul, Dev, and Imran. Goodbye!

6:03pm Man of the match is Oxford's Michael Moneke, who was a rock today at centre-back. His fifth Varsity match ends sweetly, and his experience was evident during the game. Oxford celebrate holding the trophy aloft with gusto.

6:01pm It's presentation time! All the players walk up to receive their medals, the Cambridge boys sportingly applauded by their opponents. There were some really gutsy performances out there in Light Blue today.


The final whistle blows, and it's Oxford who win the 133rd Varsity football match! A slow-burning second-half burst into life at the end, with three goals in the final third of the game. Great stuff to watch, and it looks like even Gary Lineker approves! Cambridge will be disappointed to have lost that game after weathering a first-half storm from Oxford. They fought gamely in the second half, but a crucial five-minute period, where Oxford scored twice, including an own goal, ended up costing them dear as they left themselves with too much to do. 

5:53pm Mad phases of play! Long throws cause havoc in the Oxford area, but the shot is blocked. But suddenly Oxford are through two-on-one! It's Thelen away on the left, and he squares it to Dinneen for a simple tap-in at the back post... but no! Henry Warne pulls off another incredible save, the shot straight at him, and somehow Cambridge survive.

5:51pm Joe Gregory urges the Cambridge fans to make themselves heard as the half comes to a dramatic conclusion. Can Cambridge somehow manage another goal?

5:50pm Three minutes added on! Can the Light Blues pull off the comeback?

5:50pm How much added time will there be? It's all hands on deck for Cambridge now as they seek the equaliser.

5:49pm Moneke denies Crease in a foot race on the left – the Oxford man has been simply outstanding today. 2 minutes left. 

5:46pm Almost a calamity there for Henry Warne, who scuffs his clearance to Thelen. The Oxford man, however, fires his shot over. And breathe.

5:45pm Cambridge are now on the up, there's no question about it. But have they given themselves too much to do with insufficient time in which to do it?


What a beautiful goal from Cambridge! A sumptuous, curling pass over the top completely unravelled the Cambridge defence, and the chance was dispatched with aplomb by an onrushing Marcus Nielsen, the substitute. I cannot emphasise enough the quality of the pass from Wolf. Cambridge are back in it!

5:38pm How the Oxford coach still has a voice is a mystery to me as he continues to shout at his own players despite his team's dominance. I don't really want to imagine how he'd react if they ever lost.

5:36pm Substitution for Oxford: Dan Brown replaces Wroe.

5:36pm Goéric Huybrechts's shot is miles wide. 15 minutes are left, and Cambridge look like a beaten team at the moment. It's a tall order to grab two goals against a sharp Oxford side – Moneke at centre-back is having a storming game.

5:33pm Dinneen is already making a difference on the Oxford right, down by the press box. He dances past Gregory and cuts it back for Thelen, who sets up Wulfie Bain for a curling effort that's only just wide. Oxford are going for the jugular here.

5:31pm Heated tackles and exchanges between Bolderson and Moneke. Cambridge need to keep calm here.

5:29pm After a quiet opening to the half, the second-half has sprung into life. As in the first, Cambridge are really struggling to cope with the dual attacking threat of Thelen and Crespo who are running amok on a tiring Cambridge defence. Don't be surprised if there are more goals this afternoon!

5:28pm Substitutions for Cambridge: Huybrechts and Herring off, Crease and Nielsen on. 

Feeney, for some inexplicable reason as their second-best player, is coming off for Oxford to be replaced by Dinneen. 20 minutes left.


The Barcelona man makes it three. Thelen found himself in behind Gregory and cut it back for Crespo. His shot was unbelievably blocked on the line by Makings, but the rebound was gathered by Crespo, who slotted it unerringly into the bottom-right corner to send the Oxford fans into delirium. 


Crushing way to go behind for Cambridge. That man Dom Thelen got free on the right and crossed low and hard, and a retreating Salama could only divert the ball into his own net on the slide. Nothing Henry Warne could do. 

5:22pm It's Oxford's turn to scramble in their own area, as Moneke denies Herring with a sliding block.

5:21pm WHAT A SAVE! Henry Warne has kept Cambridge level with a point-blank block from Crespo. The follow-up shot was heroically blocked by Makings. Nothing left on the pitch by either side.

5:19pm Nerve-wracking stuff for Cantabs, as Warne drops the ball and there's yet another scramble. Wulfie Bain goes down claiming he was caught late as Cambridge sought to clear, but the ref didn't see anything untoward. Set-pieces are proving to be tricky customers to deal with today.

5:17pm End-to-end stuff! Luke Stamper's sliced clearance and slip against Bolderson gifts another corner to Cambridge. The keeper flaps at it, and there's a scramble in the box that's cleared. But then Oxford go on the counter-attack, led by Thelen, and now Oxford have a set piece in a dangerous area.

5:15pm Cambridge try to play Oxford at their own game with a long throw-in of their own that causes confusion in the Dark Blue box leading to another Cantab corner which Raffi Salama heads wide.

5:13pm Five-time Varsity player Michael Moneke is down with a head injury after clearing a corner. The game is still at an ebb, and is starting to become a cagey affair. But this perhaps benefits Cambridge, as it's stifling the flowing, powerful movement Oxford displayed is the first half.

5:11pm Cambridge have made a much more positive start to the second-half, putting the Oxford defence under pressure and not allowing them to play their passing game.

5:09pm Oxford, not for the first time today, are resorting to Rory Delap-esque long throws, aided by the wind. Well defended this time by Cambridge.

5:09pm Game is at a lull. So, here's a picture to lighten up your page!

5:04pm Players are back out for a big second half. Will that late first-half goal from Bolderson be a springboard for Cambridge to push on? Or will Oxford regain their equipoise and find a winner? Only time will tell. 

4:59pm As a consolation to all Cantabs, it's already clear who the winner is on the journalistic pitch. With Varsity and Cam FM unaccompanied at The Hive, it's Cambridge 2 Oxford 0 as far as student journalism goes. 

4:56pm It's 1-1 at half-time following an incredibly dramatic first half. The scoreline perhaps flatters Cambridge who found themselves dominated by Oxford in the first 35 minutes. A moment of brilliance from Ben Bolderson though on the stroke of half-time has brought the Light Blues right back into it. All to play for in the second-half. 



And, just like that, Cambridge are level! Some concerted pressure in and around the area almost allowed Huybrechts and Herring to pull the trigger. But the half-cleared ball saw Jack Congdon fire in a cross that made its way to Bolderson at the back post. Faced with the keeper and a bouncing ball, he lofted the over Windmill with a delightfully composed finish to level the scores. Terrific finish. Game on!

It's all happening here as the referee disagrees with the linesman over a throw-in decision. If only they had video technology to help them out

4:38pm With half an hour on the clock, Oxford are making good on their billing as favourites. Dictating the tempo of the game in the middle of the park and with Thelen, Crespo, and Feeney proving a handful for the Cambridge defence it's clear that Cambridge need to change something if they want to stand a chance of getting something out of the game.

4:38pm Madness! Henry Warne comes to claim the ball, but drops it and is blocked by his own player. Crespo's cross back in is cleared, and, fortuitously, it goes straight to a Cambridge player for a two-on-two counter-attack. But George Herring's pass couldn't release Rodrigues, and the chance goes begging. Clearest chance from open play for Cambridge, and it says a lot that it came from a rather flukey source.

4:36pm More nice, incisive Oxford passing leads to Alex Urwin being taken down on the left. Another set piece to defend for the Light Blues.

4:32pm A volley on the edge of the area by Andy Sears-Black is deflected, taking the sting out of the shot and ballooning the ball up, straight into Windmill's hands. But that will give Cambridge some more heart as they seek to overturn this deficit, with half an hour gone.

4:31pm Cambridge are still looking disjointed in possession here, and Oxford seem sharper, first to more 50-50 balls and headers. There needs to be a response for those of a Light Blue persuasion.

4:28pm Despite his side taking the lead, the Oxford coach is still incensed for some reason. Louis is still distressed. 


You have to say that it had been coming. A corner is whipped in and an Oxford head rose highest, with the header crashing onto the underside of the bar. It was uncertain if the ball had crossed the line, but it was Dom Thelen who made sure by smashing into the net from close range. 

4:24pm Oxford's midfielders Wulfie Bain Dan Brown are bossing the game at the minute. Oxford are making inroads down the left via Alex Irwin and the ever-menacing Feeney, but Cambridge are holding out.

4:24pm The Oxford coach has turned an incredible shade of red as one of his players kicks it into the stands. Like an overly aggressive dad, living vicariously through his 8 year old son he's providing expert insight such as "shoot" and "get the second ball". The Tab's 64th Biggest BNOC in Cambridge and Varsity photographer for the match, Louis Ashworth is visibly distressed.

4:18pm First attempts on goal for Cambridge as a floated free kick is stabbed wide by Rodrigues, but he was offside. Another long-distance shot by George Herring is easily held by David Windmill. 

4:15pm Blustery conditions aren't helping Cambridge's passing game – but I'll keep the oft-cited Stoke analogies at that.

4:14pm The resultant corner is only just over from Feeney's header. Oxford are definitely the better team at the moment.

4:13pm The Oxford fans are in full voice as they once again attempt to put off the Cambridge goalkeeper, Henry Warne, with chants that are far too explicit for this blog...

4:13pm What a block from Henry Makings! Joan Crespo played in Feeney, who cut inside Raffi Salama and pulled the trigger, but Makings's last-ditch sliding intervention denied him at the crucial moment.

4:09pm Cambridge are boxed in a little bit in these opening five minutes. Thelen and Feeney are looking threatening, turning the defence and running in behind. Cambridge could do with some calm possession to soothe the nerves here.

4:07pm OFFSIDE GOAL FOR OXFORD Dom Thelen robs the Cambridge defence, but slips as he shoots. The bobbling shot is stabbed home by Michael Feeney, but he's offside – relief for Cambridge. Early danger there for the Light Blues.

4:03pm Whistle! Referee Paul Tierney gets the game underway.

4:01pm Formalities and presentations are being made – we're just moments away from kick-off now!

3:59pm Striker Dominic Thelen is the one Cambridge need to watch out for the most. He's bagged 16 goals in 23 appearances this season. 

3:57pm The teams emerge onto the pitch! Keeper Henry Warne leads out the Light Blues; defender Laurence Wroe does so for Oxford.

3:55pm Today's Cambridge teams are also wearing rainbow-coloured laces in support of Stonewall UK, a charity that seeks to campaign against homophobia in sport. You can read more about the campaign here.

3:53pm Fun fact: the referee for the men's game is Paul Tierney. He turned professional in 2014, and joined the Select Group of Referees in the 2015/6 season. For those of you who watched Match of the Day last night, you might recognise him: he was the one who, perhaps controversially, sent off Tom Huddlestone in Hull City's 4-0 loss to Everton at Goodison Park yesterday.

3:48pm It might be fair to say that the Dark Blues are the favourites for this game. They've finished above Cambridge in the BUCS Midlands 1A League, and beat them 4-2 in Oxford. The reverse fixture in Cambridge ended 0-0. Oxford also beat Cambridge in a pre-season tournament in China and won this fixture 2-0 last year. They also won in 2014 on penalties after the game finished 1-1 AET. So the Oxford men, like the women, are looking to make it three wins in three years. Cambridge are looking for revenge, their last win being in 2014, a 4-2 triumph on penalties after the game had finished 0-0 at Craven Cottage. 

3:44pm Here are some facts, statistics, and other details for those of you who like that sort of thing to arouse your excitement before a game. The first Varsity football match took place in 1873, Oxford winning 1-0, and it is the oldest football rivalry, played every year apart from during the First and Second World Wars. The overall scoreline is Oxford 50-49 Cambridge, so a win today would be an equaliser in the grand scheme of things for Cambridge.

3:42pm So, it is Oxford who have the momentum today as their women beat Cambridge 3-1 earlier today. Cambridge, having won the men's 2nds, men's 3rds and women's 2nds matches earlier this month, were seeking a clean sweep of Varsity wins, but Becca May put paid to that aspiration with a hat-trick. Can the Light Blue men triumph over their Oxonian rivals? We'll find out in the next few hours.

3:38pm Cambridge: Henry Warne (c), Jack Congdon, Joe Gregory, Andy Sears-Black, Raffi Salama, Henry Makings, Goéric Huybrechts, Stefan Wolf, George Herring, Jocelino Rodrigues, Ben Bolderson, Marcus Nielsen, John Harrison, Rufus Saunders, Jonny Crease, Max Burley, Andrew Celsus

3:36pm Here are the squads for the men's match!

Oxford: David Windmill, Luke Stamper, Sam Hale, Dan Brown, Laurence Wroe (c), Cian Wade, John Dinneen, Wulfie Bain, Dominic Thelen, Joan Crespo, Michael Feeney, Steve Pilley, Till Wicker, Alex Urwin, Michael Moneke, Sean Gleeson

3:20pm Well, folks, the final whistle has just been blown on the women's Blues' season, losing 3-1 to Oxford at The Hive Stadium. However, they can hold their heads up high after a stellar season overall. Ultimately, however, some profligacy up front and better finishing from Oxford's Becca May – who netted a hat-trick – proved to be the difference. You can sink your teeth into Paul Hyland's match report while we await the men's match, which kicks off in 40 minutes. Let's hope Barnet FC have some good grub. Until then, it's a brief goodbye from Varsity. See you then!

3:08pm Becca May collects the match ball and a much deserved Player of the Match award for her hat-trick as Oxford captain; Caroline Ward lifts the trophy. There's always next year for Cambridge, I suppose. 

3:04pm Cambridge will feel hard done by following that loss. Ultimately the game came down to a number of missed chances from the Light Blues that cost them in the end. All credit to Oxford, though, as they massively improved their performance in the second half to secure a third consecutive victory in the Varsity match.


2:53pm Game is almost up for the Light Blues. Oxford are running down the clock here with substitutions and injuries.

2:51pm 90 minutes are now up. Cambridge have a free kick to launch into the Oxford penalty area. Only 2 minutes added on, and the free kick harmlessly sails into the grateful arms of Martin.


It's a hat-trick for Becca May! And it's also curtains for Cambridge. The Light Blues' high line is exploited, as a simple ball over the top allows May to outpace the Cambridge back line. May collected the ball, rounded Bleehen and slotted into an empty net, sending the Oxford contingent in the crowd into raptures.

2:46pm It's getting incredibly tense here as the game enters the final ten minutes. Cambridge are going all out in attack which is leaving them vulnerable on the break. This is definitely the most entertaining match in North London this afternoon

2:45pm Substitution for Cambridge: Alexis Crockett replaces Xelia Mendes-Jones, whose missed chances might come back to haunt the Light Blues.

2:43pm Less than 10 minutes remaining, and Cambridge trail Oxford 2-1. The pace of game has slowed noticeably as the players begin to tire, but it's still an enthralling contest and all is still to play for.

2:41pm Cambridge seek another equaliser as Luff almost latches onto another through-ball, but Martin is first to it and is clattered in the process. A few minutes later, Hirst forces another save out of Martin, but it's easy enough for the Oxford keeper.


An outrageously good goal from Becca May puts Oxford back in the lead. Despite being surrounded by three Cambridge defenders in the area and forced out wide, she chips Bleehen from an incredibly tight angle, and the ball nestles into the side netting of the opposite side of the net. Gloriously composed finish

2:35pm Hirst is wreaking havoc on the left. She ghosts past Maddie Hooper again, but can't find Luff in the middle. 

2:34pm It was a scrappy goal but Cambridge won't care. The Light Blue fans are finally making themselves heard.

2:34pm Martin flaps at a corner but the ball is cleared. Linnea Gradin's follow-up shot is wide, but Cambridge now have their tails up. 


Bachrati floats in a free-kick on the left. The ball is allowed to bounce in the box, and Hickman runs in to head towards the opposite corner. The ball bounces along the ground and hits the inside of the post, almost in slow motion, but creeps over the line. We're level again at The Hive!

2:29pm Cambridge substitution: Daisy Luff is on for Liz Ashcroft 

2:26pm Substitution for Oxford: Allie Reilly replaces Katie Plummer out wide.

2:26pm The Oxford supporters have just cheered a long punt up field. I don't think they're drunk, just easily amused

2:25pm The game is starting to open up now, and it's more end-to-end. However, good blocks and interceptions by the two defences prevent any chance to the scoreline.

2:25pm Free-kick on the edge of the area for Cambridge after Hirst – who else? – robs Maddie Hooper on the right and is tugged back. Hickman and Edwards are standing over the ball.

2:23pm Long-range attempt at goal by Katy Edwards sails wide harmlessly. 60 minutes gone, and Cambridge are up against it now.

2:22pm Good press from Oxford, who are ebullient in this half. They're forcing Cambridge into making more mistakes in possession and closing down Gradin, Bachrati and co. well in defence.

2:20pm Katie Plummer goes to ground under minimal contact in the area. Protests waved away by Massey-Ellis.

2:20pm Oxford are giving Hirst a lot of time and space on the left. Another dribble from her sees the Oxford defence back off again and again, but they're not punished as her overhit pass isn't kept in by Mendes-Jones.

2:15pm The partisan crowd are cheering every Oxford pass and tackle as the Dark Blues are starting to properly assert themselves in the second half. 


A lovely cross-field ball by Ashcroft found Hirst, who cut inside, advanced, and played in Mendes-Jones, who had made a lovely run inside. But her shot is blazed over the bar! Big chance passed up again by the Light Blue centre-forward.

2:12pm Against the run of play, Oxford take the lead. Gerda Bachrati perhaps sold herself in sliding in for a challenge on her Oxonian counterpart, Caroline Ward, and didn't get there. Ward then played a slide-rule pass for May to run onto, and, one-on-one with Bleehen, she slotted home calmly into the bottom-left corner. Oxford have come out a completely different team at the beginning of this half.


2:06pm And we're back underway here as Oxford start the second half.

2:06pm We're also privileged to have Sian Massey-Ellis as today's referee. Massey-Ellis has the distinction of officiating in the Premier League and Women's Premier League, and has officiated international football at the World Cup qualification tournament. She turned professional in 2010, became part of the Select Group of Referees in 2011, refereed a FA Women's Premier League final and, to cap it all off, received an MBE this year for services to football. Safe to say that this match accordingly has the high-profile attention it deserves, especially with Hope Powell herself there at the start of the game.

2:02pm The difference in confidence between the two teams and the first-half performances belie their respective league positions. For readers who aren't aware, Oxford play in the BUCS Midlands 1A League, whereas Cambridge were in the Midlands 1B League this season. However, Cambridge enjoyed a near-flawless campaign, with 10 wins out of 10 games, and reached the final of the Midlands Conference Cup, which they lost narrowly 2-1 to Birmingham 2nds. Oxford, despite playing in the higher division, have had a tough season, lying second-bottom with only seven points to their name and a not-too-healthy goal difference of -32. Their last game was a 3-5 home defeat to Wolverhampton, and they've also had some stinkers on the road, with a 10-1 defeat at Wolverhampton, 9-0 against Nottingham and 6-0 against Nottingham Trent. Perhaps this showed in those first 45 minutes, as Oxford struggled to get going up against Cambridge's superior possession. However, the score is still 0-0, and everything is still up for grabs.

1:57pm At half-time Cambridge will be disappointed not to be in the lead after Xelia Mendes-Jones went agonisingly close on two occasions. Oxford will need to find a way of providing more support for Becca May up front if they want to seriously test Laura Bleehen in the Cambridge goal.


1:53pm Great sliding block from Louise Nolan to deny Ashcroft after she was put in by Mendes-Jones. Her rebound shot from no angle is easily held by Martin. And that's the last of the action from a goalless first-half. 

1:47pm Oxford might have to look at changing their tactics as Becca May keeps finding herself isolated up front. 

1:46pm WHAT A CHANCE FOR CAMBRIDGE! Mendes-Jones chases a ball over the top, in a direct footrace against Lucy Harper. Martin decided to stay at home, and the Cambridge striker collected on the edge of the area, set herself, but her curled effort bobbles wide of the post! Best chance for the Light Blues all half. 

1:43pm The sun's finally come out on a rather mild day here in North London as both teams pick up the tempo in search of the opening goal.

1:43pm Great work from Becca Hirst to chase down a seemingly lost cause on the left, but her cut-back and shot is straight at Martin. Nevertheless, that was great enterprise from the Tranmere Rovers player up against Alexandra Haigh.

1:39pm Easy save for May Martin following a driving run and shot from Hickman. Cambridge are definitely the better team at the moment, but they need to make their advantage count.

1:38pm At the half hour mark it's still goalless here at The Hive. Neither team has properly taken advantage of their possession although Cambridge have definitely had the better chances 

1:36pm Bleehen makes another save, but it's another easy catch from a long-distance drive from Oxford captain Caroline Ward.

1:33pm Cambridge are working really hard both on and off the ball here. Katy Edwards, Ceylon Hickman and Zoe Cohen are working their socks off in the middle. Beccie Graves is utilising the space out wide and bringing Ashcroft into the game on countless occasions, opening up the opportunity to get in behind Oxford, who are forced to concede a succession of corners from which nothing results.

1:29pm Liz Ashcroft dispossess Ellie Blackhouse just outside of the Oxford box. Oxford's defence looking under pressure

1:28pm Terrific, last-ditch tackle from Claudia Hill to deny Mendes-Jones as she seemed set to race through one-on-one with May Martin. Potentially a goal-saver. 

1:27pm Katie Plummer on the Oxford left is starting to come into the game more, but Beccie Graves is dealing well with her at right-back. Still no great opening for the Oxford team

1:25pm BREAKING NEWS: Laura Bleehen has made a save! Easy catch

1:23pm Ellie Backhouse and Claudia Hill scramble the ball away in the penalty area, with Ceylon Hickman lurking – nervy moment there for the Dark Blues.

1:21pm The Oxford contingent in the stadium are certainly a boisterous bunch, but, in truth, they haven't had much to cheer about yet. Cambridge's confidence levels are clearly high, coming off the back of 10 wins out of 10 in the league and reaching the cup final.

1:19pm Oxford's Louise Nolan slips in the box, but the brief moment of panic comes to nothing.

1:16pm Fantastic pressure from Katy Edwards – it was her hustling that created the chance for Mendes-Jones, and she's at it again to close down the Oxford left-back. High-intensity game in the early moments: it's definitely not a cagey affair at the moment.

1:15pm So close for Cambridge! Hickman, once again, put through a delightfully weighted ball for Mendes-Jones, but her drive on the angle went the wrong side of the post by a matter of inches.

1:13pm Great turn of pace from Xelia Mendes-Jones to sprint away from her marker on the right, but her shot on the angle sails comfortably wide in the end. Bright start for Cambridge, though.

1:10pm More good work from Cambridge. Hickman put Ashcroft through on the right, and her cut-back for Hickman was good, but the shot was well-blocked by the Oxford defence.

1:07pm Early pressure for Cambridge – free-kick and a corner both cleared by Oxford. But the Light Blues are enjoying a spell of calm possession to soothe the nerves here.

1:04pm The women line up and are almost ready to go. Hope Powell was present to be introduced to each team member, emphasising this momentous occasion. Captains Bachrati and Ward shake hands with referee Sian Massey-Ellis



Reporting on the match are Devarshi Lodhia, President of the Wolfson College Football Manager Society, and Imran Marashli, a somewhat erratic goalkeeper for Gonville & Caius Association Football Club – but that’s enough about us: let’s have a look at the Oxford and Cambridge teams instead.

12:58pm The teams walk out onto the pitch. Music is blaring, the atmosphere is building, and we're almost ready to kick off this 32nd women's Varsity match.

12:45pm Good afternoon, all and sundry, and welcome to Varsity’s live coverage of the 2017 Varsity football matches! This year’s games are brought to you from The Hive Stadium, the home of Barnet Football Club, and we’re all set and looking forward to two exciting fixtures, with the women’s match kicking off at 1pm and the men’s match at 4pm. Hold onto your seats for the next few hours!