UBAFC 1s, 3s and 4s all won their respective leagues on 13 March to wrap up an outstanding four-title season in BUCS competition, adding to the 5s’ earlier triumph.
The 1s travelled to Southampton on 13 March knowing that only a win would seal them the Western 1A. Their hosts, though dismantled 7-0 in the reverse fixture, were out to spoil the party.
A nervy first half saw the home side hit the bar whilst Bristol squandered two good chances from close range to take the lead.
Bristol’s task was made harder when Southampton pounced on a rebound to take the lead. Goalkeeper Ross Cusdin made a fantastic save to keep the first effort out, but was powerless to stop the second.
Fortunately, Bristol struck back straight away and levelled the scores before half-time. A corner was won on the first attack after the restart. Al Harlington’s delivery was excellent and Matt Hinks was able to nudge the ball in from close range; 1-1.
After the break, Bristol played with greater confidence and tempo as they pressed to take the lead.
Consequently, a second goal for the visitors came soon into the second half. Matt Hinks was released down the left and lifted an effort over the onrushing keeper. Jasper Harlington was on hand to poke home at the far post and put the league title in sight.
However, a cagey last twenty minutes of the match followed. The momentum of the game had swung as Southampton were out to avenge their drubbing in the away fixture. Ross Cusdin made two magnificent saves to deny first a header and then a shot from in the box.
Bristol’s grip on the trophy looked all but guaranteed when Will Gale rounded the keeper and was brought down in the box, earning a penalty and a red card for the Southampton no.1.
Al Harlington stepped up to the spot only to see his effort from twelve yards saved by the makeshift goalkeeper – Bristol were not home and dry yet.
In fact, Southampton almost equalised in the dying moments of the game when a well-struck free kick rattled the bar, but Bristol were able to clear their lines and the full-time whistle came; the Western 1A was won.
This result more than compensated for the pain of a semi-final exit from the BUCS Trophy for the second year in a row. A 2-1 extra time loss at Bath 2s earlier in March, in which Harry Cruttenden fed Toby Thomas for Bristol’s goal, was a devastating result at the time.
However, the 1s have claimed their ultimate prize and now await a play-off to earn promotion to the BUCS Premier South league.
With the 1s’ league won in Southampton, dramatic scenes were unfolding back at Coombe Dingle. The 3s overturned a 2-1 deficit to win their league with a game to spare in a scintillating 4-3 victory over Exeter 4s.
A poor first-half was improved on in the second period, and a brace of penalties from Tom Ryan and late goals from Chris Speed and Thomas Buckler wrapped up the Western 3A for Aaron Farr’s men.
The 3s had only just left the 3G when the 4s arrived to take on USW 4s in search of topping the Western 4B.
The 4s started better than the 3s, and were soon 2-0 up and in the driving seat. A third goal came late on, with a James Tippett brace, including a penalty, and a Jorge Mataix goal sweeping the opposition aside on the day.
Thus ended one of the most successful Wednesdays of BUCS competition ever for UBAFC. Three league titles won in one day and four for the season – what a campaign it has been for Alex Hunt’s Red Army.
Written by Freddie Keighley, Online Sport Editor and third year History student.
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