UCFC Ladies 6 – KCL Ladies 2
A year ago, UCL ladies were left stunned after a bitter penalty shoot-out defeat to King’s in a game they had dominated. This year, they were a team on a mission, overwhelming Kings from the beginning with dynamic one-touch football to blow the opposition away 6-2. Danika Bethune and Sophie Britton were stars of the show as UCL boosted their prospects of the Varsity Series Victory.
The game took place at the Tooting & Mitcham Stadium, Morden’s gloomy answer to Wembley. Travelling to the darkest corner of the Northern Line must have felt far more like an away match for UCL, but they played like a team very much at home in front of a lively crowd. It must be noted the lack of appearance from UCL Men’s to support the Ladies was very disappointing, unlike their Kings counterparts.
UCL started fast, using the pace of wingers Bethune to consistently cause Kings problems. It wasn’t long before UCL began to pepper the Kings goal, Bethune and Britton- aka ‘Brittany B*tch’- combining well to open the scoring for UCL. The second goal wasn’t far around the corner. Composed play in the midfield once again found Bethune on the right wing, who played Britton in to double UCL’s lead. Brittany Spears lyrics where cried out by the UCL support, and Kings defence were certainly finding her play far too toxic to handle..
King’s would find a response, bundling in after some sloppy play in the area. But it wasn’t long for UCL’s two goal cushion had been restored. A deep corner from found Layla at the back post who smashed it home. UCL coach Caveh commented how the short format of last year’s game had “left the girls rattled” as they pushed for that elusive goal. But this year the girls looked far more comfortable as they systematically went about breaking the Kings defence down.
With the score 3-1 to UCL at halftime, I asked ‘Rachel’ from Kings how she thought the match had gone. “Meh” was the one word she could conjure up, and in truth it was an honest response to UCL’s dominance.
The second half started in much the same fashion, with UCL pressurising from the start. The fourth goal was not a glamorous affair- panic in the box eventually seeing the ball squirm home. The next two goals, however, were the result of some excellent team play and delightful finishing from Bethune. Finding herself in a more central role, on both occasions her pace was used to great effect as she latched on to two perfect threw balls to slide home left footed past the keeper.
Resident ‘WAG’ Finn Mclaughlin- joining me again for a second year of varsity action- informed me my chants of “we want 10” were unsporting, although UCL and the brilliant Bethune created enough chances that it could have happened.
In fairness to King’s, they kept going right to the end, and were rewarded for their sportsmanship when a mix up in the UCL defence allowed their striker to expertly flick the ball over the keeper and slot home. The game finished 6-2, and jubilation ensued. Center back and captain Christina Sofianos said she felt “like a champion” after last year’s defeat, whilst Coach Caveh was equally thrilled. “I couldn’t ask for more from the girls, they were perfect.”
And perfect they were. King’s did play well on the day, but this time round UCL’s devastating finishing was too much too handle.
Photo credits: Henry Hill