Gedwards attack down the wing Abbie Hastie

Jesus scored a last minute winner to beat Girton/Medwards (“Gedwards”) 3-2 in the quarter-finals of the Women’s and Non-Binary Cuppers Football on Saturday afternoon.

Last year’s champions Jesus started the match on top, largely due to excellent midfield play by Anna Herr, who supplied striker Kaya Hardie with aplomb. They couldn’t make this pressure tell though, and it was lowly Gedwards who struck the first blow. Tasha Thornton-Clark incisively found her fellow winger Tessa Doubleday who kept the ball alive, laying it off to nascent-midfielder Megan Clarke. Clarke spotted the Jesus keeper off her line and lifted it over her from the outside of the box to open the scoring.

She was almost immediately called into defensive action, clearing a Jesus corner before sending her team upfield. Thornton-Clarke turned the Jesus left-back inside-out, before crossing to Doubleday again, who finished to double Gedwards’ lead.

This goal roused the Jesus supporters who, unused to their team staring down the barrel of defeat, encouraged them to make their strength count in midfield and behind Gedwards’ backline. There were signs of increasing Jesus penetration, despite Clarke’s commitment to covering every blade of grass. Herr found Hardie with a through ball just before half time, and she converted to raise Jesus’ hopes of a comeback. Unsubstantiated rumours that the goal was “miles off” did little to raise Gedwards’ morale.

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In the second half, Jesus continued to have the bulk of possession and rode out Gedwards attacks down both wings. Nevertheless, Gedwards’ defence was resolute, repudiating attack after Jesus attack. Eventually the pressure told, and seven minutes from the end Jesus equalised through Hardie, who latched onto a Beattie Green through ball after a slip by the Gedwards centre-back.

Jesus’ victory was not preordained though. Both Thornton-Clarke and Doubleday had chances to win the match for Gedwards, but were denied by the keeper and the ultimate cruelty of a scuffed shot. This left the way open for Anna Herr to pop up at the death and sweep home into the far corner from the edge of the box. Euphoria followed for the Jesus crowd, while 3rd Division Gedwards were left wondering what might have been.

Varsity POTM: Megan Clarke (Gedwards)