Henry Hill had a rather depressing evening watching the Football
Injustice is an understatement to describe the outcome of the women’s football yesterday, as KCL emerged winners in the cruellest of fashions. After an entirely one-sided affair, which somehow finished 0-0, KCL held their nerve to record a surprising and bitter victory in the penalty shootout.
UCL were right to be optimistic coming in to the game on the back of good form. Coach Fatemian echoed this, being “hugely confident in the team.” And his belief resonated on the pitch, as UCL controlled the match throughout. With Jess Wadey anchoring the team in the middle, UCL were smooth and calm with their passing movement, regularly releasing the ever-dangerous Faten Issa upfront.
If there was a possession stat for the match, I would imagine it read 90%/10% in UCL favour, and that’s not even an exaggeration. From a dangerously placed free kick (which I am still fairly sure was a penalty…), UCL almost opened the scoring in spectacular fashion, the ball just missing the post. But for all the good work and chances the goal would not come.
No football match would be complete without the appearance of WAGS, and neither side disappointed. Finn McLaughlin laughed nervously at the idea of UCL losing, whilst the less impressive ‘Jimmy’ of KCL was left nibbling his thumbs after KCL’s meagre first half performance. Jimmy was definitely just in it for the money and glamor … typical WAG.
Indeed there was not much for the KCL support to cheer about in the second half either. The most excitement that occurred in their stand was the announcement of free Red Bull on offer. Their strikers could’ve done with an energy drink; their one notable attack being quickly smothered by UCL’s keeper. She touched the ball 5 times in the whole match.
Christina Sofianos led from the back, urging UCL forward. Issa found herself in space but the net eluded her. Even Jimmy remarked that UCL had a “Neymar-esque” figure in Issa, and the difference in quality was obvious. To give Kings credit, they defended well in numbers, giving no space to create clean chances. They had clearly taken notes from London Transport on how to park a bus at the back, as UCL continued to be denied.
The game ended 0-0, and with that came that sinking anxiety you get when England go into a penalty shootout in a major tournament, it might just not be our day. And so it would show as UCL missed their opening two efforts. For every great save UCL’s keeper made, a ballooned penalty would follow. In the end King’s goalie stepped up to seal a victory that no one would have predicted, but only served to prove what a funny and emotional game football can be.
While the result was ultimately disappointing, UCL were fantastic throughout, and will no doubt already be looking forward to next year.
I don’t think anyone practiced penalties at UCL. Then again, I am not quite sure if I can call this a match, as it only lasted 60 minutes. So on that basis, KCL ended up 2-1 victors in the first 2/3rds London Varsity series.
The start couldn’t have been better. UCL immediately put Kings under pressure and it wasn’t long before it was 1-0. Rather comically, and to the elation of the great fan support, the ball flew straight in from a corner. The pitiful goalie was left as stranded as a CV with Kings on it. The mysterious UCL substitute ‘Adam,’ who was as useless as a player as he was a source, claimed to be “pretty sure UCL would win,” and at 1-0, I think 99% of the crowd were too.
However, it wasn’t long before KCL equalised. After bumbling up the pitch the ball made its way to the striker who found the net from 18 yards. Truth be told, it was actually a decent finish, but enough pleasantries towards Kings. UCL keeper Alex-William Taylor did brilliantly to keep it 1-1 from a fiercely struck free kick, and the first half finished finely poised.
According to a drunken man at the bus station, Dulwich Hamlet Stadium is known locally as ‘The Theatre of Dreams,’ (I am not sure either), but the second half would only prove to be a nightmare for UCL.
They were creating all the chances, McNeil upfront consistently causing the Kings defence problems. Against the run of play, however, Kings somehow went ahead. I say somehow, but the truth was a disastrously closed down clearance leaving their no.9 to easily put away for 2-1. Things wouldn’t improve either.
At this point, die hard UCL fan and leader of the local firm ‘Dylan Trenworth’ reckoned UCL should “go all Guardiola on them,” but the reality was more Allardyce-esque, as the yellow cards stacked up and chances remained low. That said, UCL’s Toby Petyt almost recorded the moment of the match. Jinking through 3 players, the no.6 saw his fine effort narrowly miss the far post. To increase the disappointment, I spilt my beer in the excitement. Still 2-1 Kings.
But wait, whats that?! A penalty?! For UCL?! In the last few minutes?! Yes!! Now this goes back to my earlier point, did anyone practise penalties? You would of thought after watching the girls dismal effort earlier UCL would know better. But no. Like Asamoah Gyan missing in the 2010 World Cup, the no.13 blasted his penalty over the bar, crushing the hearts of a nation… Not quite, but you get the point.
The game petered out to a defeat. But if this had been a 90 minute match, I am fairly sure we would have won. Credit to the boys, but hard luck this time.
A bit like an open day at Kings, this was a match to forget for UCL. And for god sake will someone practice penalties.
All image credits: Carolyn Brown, Pi Photographer