Team sheet; Kraus, Jaimin, Marcus, Hall, Chandi, Lewis, Haslam, Clobber, Roche, Platt, Livesey. Subs; Walton, Jayaram, Probert.
With one point needed from our next two games to secure the league title, the UWMCCFC arrived at Tarkett confident they would be leaving as champions. Once again, success for the club in BUCS Indoors earlier meant that the pressure was firmly on our players to complete the perfect day. Our only previous encounter with Maths & Stats this year had been the first game of the season. On that occasion the UWMCCFC won 3-1 but had to defend for the majority of the game. Captain Platt, knowing that Maths had been under-strength in that game, expected more of the same.
Indeed, Maths would start the game on the front foot; controlling the midfield and creating havoc in our box on multiple occasions. Only a perfectly timed tackle from Chandi and a one-on-one save from Kraus kept the scores level in the first ten minutes. Platt and Livesey struggled to get involved in the game and when they did were unable to find a decisive pass in the final third. About twenty minutes in, a Maths free-kick hit the bar and fell to one of their players who turned it home. However, a correct shout of offside from Kraus and expert referee Hall managed to convince the easily manipulated referee to blow his whistle. The UWMCCFC were not let off the hook for long because very soon after a nice move from the Maths front-men created a chance for the oddly-named “Coby” to slot home from eight yards. A goal behind and not playing well, the UWMCCFC held out for the final ten minutes of the half, hoping to regroup during the break.
To say that we had created little up front in the first half would have been an understatement. However, Platt tried to rally his troops by pointing out that despite our best efforts we were still only one goal behind. Platt brought on Jayaram and Walton at half time in an effort to add defensive strength on the flanks and gave instructions to play with a bit more confidence. In essence, the plan was to stay in the game until the final ten minutes and then release Miroslav Roche on the tired Maths defence to try and nick a draw.
The first fifteen minutes of the second half were, as planned, uneventful. A lot of credit must go to Chandi and Jaimin who were tireless in both attack and defence. Marcus and Hall made an unbelievable amount of interceptions and tackles. Furthermore, Lewis and Haslam started to work their way into the game and as a direct result, our attacking play drastically improved. With fifteen minutes to go, Livesey won a free-kick about 25 yards out which Platt bent over the wall and onto the cross bar. With the clock ticking down, Platt deemed it time to bring on Roche. With five minutes left, the UWMCCFC won what must have been our tenth corner of the day. Platt whipped it into the box and found Haslam who volleyed it towards goal. His shot was blocked by the maths keeper and fell to none other than Roche who swivelled and bundled it into the back of the net. Cue the loudest celebration I’ve ever heard from a UWMCCFC team. After the goal and the mandatory accompanying clichés (“it’s still nil-nil”, etc.), our boys had five minutes to keep Maths out in order to win the league title. Under strict instructions not to push too high, it wasn’t until the final moments of the match that Livesey broke forward and put the Maths centre back under pressure. The ball fell loose from an aerial battle and Platt was there to take it under control and burst past another Maths defender. In what was to be the ultimate headsgone moment, the defender in question took Platt down on the edge of the area and gave the referee no option but to point to the spot. Looking to protect our 100% win record this term, Platt coolly sent the keeper the wrong way. Hall would later claim that Platt put so much disguise on it that “it did me from behind”. Regardless, and much to our delight, there wasn’t enough time for play to restart and the referee blew the final whistle.
For the third time in three years, and with one match to spare, the UWMCCFC once again take the league crown. In previous years the cup has been decided by a semi-final and final depending upon league position. However, with no further rounds of the competition scheduled to date, it is possible that next week’s match against Physics will be the final one of the year. In that case, the UWMCCFC will have added to the already impressive achievements of the club this year.
Goals scored; Roche, Platt