The Falcons scored a last-minute winner to secure three points in their first game of the Men’s Midlands Tier 3 divisionSam Ernest

Cambridge University Association Football Club (CUAFC) were today (20/10) involved in British Universities and Colleges Sport (BUCS) debut action on both the men’s and women’s front. The men’s first team, captained by Ben Adam, beat the University of Leicester 2-1, while the second team were also victorious over Coventry University 4-3. CUAFC’s Women, however, lost 11-0 to the University of Nottingham.

Cambridge’s Blues went into their BUCS fixture having not played in the competition since Wednesday 4th March 2020, where they lost 1-3 to the University of Nottingham. After finishing bottom of the Men’s Midlands Tier 1, Adam’s side kicked off a fresh season in the Men’s Midlands Tier 2, looking to get some early points on the board against a team who came second in the the division last year. Meanwhile, the Falcons will ply their trade in Midlands Tier 3 this season.

Under the captaincy of Frances Steele, the women’s side will compete in the Women’s Midlands Tier 1 this season, after topping the second division with an impressive eight wins out of ten. Cambridge will be in for a tough, but nonetheless competitive, next few months.

CUAFC Men 2 - 1 Leicester University

On a wind-swept Wednesday afternoon (20/10), Cambridge got their BUCS season, and life under new manager Tom Blatch, off to a winning start as they beat the University of Leicester 2-1. Missing talismanic striker Kosi Nwuba, Cambridge lined up in a 4-2-3-1 formation with Robinson’s George Pugh, fresh from a brace against Homerton at the weekend (17/10), leading the line.

Leicester started brightly, with their No. 9 stinging the gloves of Cambridge keeper Tim Wallace twice early on. As Cambridge came under increasing pressure and struggled to get out of their own half, it fell to the tried and tested backline partnership of captain Ben Adam and Henry Lambert to repel the incessant Leicester front three, with Lambert pulling off slide tackles in the box that, at the feet of a lesser defender, would surely have resulted in a penalty. Meanwhile, Adam’s long-passing ability was Cambridge’s main threat going forward in the first 25 minutes, as the Blues attempted to hit Leicester on the counter.

Cambridge’s best chance of the opening half hour came when one of Adam’s long balls found marauding right winger Fortina Oshasha in acres of space in the Leicester half. Following some fancy footwork, Fortina fired a clever ball across the face of the goal, with fellow attacker Brody Wooding arriving milliseconds too late to tap it into the net.

Leicester’s No. 9 kept threatening the Cambridge goal, doing everything right but scoring; firing wide, firing over, and taking one too many touches. In the 34rd minute, he danced past the Cambridge centre backs, facing down the keeper for a one-on-one that looked sure to end in a goal. However, left-back Alex Bragg had other ideas, arriving seemingly out of nowhere to take the ball away from the Leicester man with an expertly timed tackle.

Against the run of play, it was Cambridge that drew first blood, after right-back Sonny McPherson earned a foul in a promising wide position in the 40th minute. Taking the free-kick, Oshasha played a roguishly high ball into the box that proved impossible for Leicester to clear, eventually falling to midfielder Matt Harris whose fiercely driven shot at the Leicester keeper was tapped in by striker George Pugh with a proper poacher’s finish.

Just four minutes later, however, Leicester equalised with a set-piece goal of their own. Cambridge conceded a free kick in an almost identical position to their prior goal, leaving an opposition man unmarked to head the cross home. At the blow of the half-time whistle, 1-1 was a fair result. Cambridge started slowly yet grew into the game, whereas Leicester, having dominated much of the opening 45, did little with their supremacy.

Blatch’s half-time team talk reaped early rewards, as just nine minutes into the second half Cambridge grabbed their second of the game, all thanks to the promising partnership developing on the right between Oshasha and McPherson. The unplayable Oshasha was found in a great position by one of Adam’s trademark balls from deep, then dribbling past multiple defenders to find himself near the corner flag with few options available. Just as the attack looked like it was about to fizzle out, enter McPherson, marauding up the pitch from right-back to help his teammate out. Oshasha found McPherson, who in turn found Cai La Trobe-Roberts, who then marked his Blues debut with an intelligent dribble into the box and dink over the keeper.

The remainder of the second half was a somewhat quieter affair than the end-to-end action preceding it, with the combination of tired legs and unpredictable wind affecting the quality of football on offer. After going one up, Cambridge displayed composure and resilience to see out the remaining minutes. This poise was exemplified by the performance of Wallace between the sticks, who didn’t put a glove wrong all game and remained alert throughout.

Oshasha was also an ever present thorn in Leicester’s side, with the visitors resorting to cynically hacking at the Cambridge winger’s legs in an effort to stop the onslaught he was providing down their right-hand side. It didn’t work and Leicester finished the game with ten men, as the frustrated left-back opted for an early bath over more exposure to the marauding Blues in the 86th minute.

But with the game nearly wrapped up, it nearly all went wrong in the 89th minute, when a bewildering set of mistakes led to another one-on-one situation between Wallace and a Leicester attacker. Once again, Wallace’s goalkeeping heroics saved the day, as he acrobatically denied the Leicester man’s fierce shot and put his body on the line to secure the three points for the Blues.


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After the match, Blues captain Adam commented on the victory: “It’s an amazing feeling, everyone put in an amazing shift. Our heads were down at half-time and we came back in the second-half and got a win”. Meanwhile, vice captain Louie Roberts described life under new manager Blatch as “impeccable vibes”. The Blues will be hoping that the impeccable vibes and results continue into next week (27/10), as they welcome a University of East Anglia side that beat De Montfort University earlier today.


Cambridge Starting XI: Tim Wallace, Sonny McPherson, Alex Bragg, Henry Lambert, Ben Adam (C), Matt Harris, Brody Wooding, Louie Roberts, George Pugh, Cai La Trobe-Roberts, Jed Odagbu

Substitutes: Matt Hawthorn, Reece Linney, Paddy Mortimer, Lumi Kanwei, Fortina Oshasha

Leicester Squad: Andre Lawrence (C), Riccardo Roma, Ryan Bailey, Dan Limb, Tyrese Cockings, James Taylor, David Oduro Kwarteng, Elliott Collett, Leo Alleway, Jack Scowcroft, Henry Jones, Kwadwo Twumasi, George Kontogiannis, Joshua Chiso, Elton Atat, McGerald Woha

CUAFC Falcons 4 - 3 Coventry University

The Falcons, CUAFC’s second men’s team, also enjoyed the taste of victory today, winning 4-3 against Coventry in the adjacent fixture to the Blues at 2pm. Skipper Nick Sweeney opened the scoring at 1-0, while Jyotirmoy Paul impressively bagged a hat trick, which included a last-minute winner, to narrowly gain the edge over their strong West Midlands opposition. Turning to next Wednesday (27/10), the Falcs will travel to the University of Bedfordshire for their second game of the Midlands Tier 4 season, facing a side who lost 1-3 to Anglia Ruskin University.

University of Nottingham 11 - 0 CUAFC Women

Elsewhere, Varsity understands that Cambridge’s women suffered a heavy 11-0 defeat to Nottingham in the later kick-off at 5pm. In what proved to be a difficult game against extremely tough opponents, Steele’s group faced a side that reportedly trains everyday, contrasting with the three hours per week of Cambridge’s squad. Briskly looking ahead to next week (27/10), the team will host the University of Worcester, who fell short in a 5-1 loss to Birmingham today.