By Daniel Dyson, second year Politics and French student
Bristol 1s and 3s both find themselves one game away from being crowned champions of their leagues.
A thumping 7-0 win over Southampton 1s at home on Wednesday 27th February puts the 1s in a commanding position going into the final league game of the season.
This match appeared no easy task for Bristol, as Southampton were also chasing the league title prior to the game. However, they were able to sweep the south coast side aside with ‘some of the best football we’ve played this season’, according to midfielder Ed Mahoney.
Bristol dominated the entire match, blowing their opponents away by scoring four first half goals. Three followed in the second-half, with the game’s goals coming from Jasper Harlington, Matt Hinks, Al Harlington, man of the match Will Gale and a hat-trick from striker Cam McEwan.
The win means Bristol sit in second place on 18 points with one game remaining, one point behind first-placed Bournemouth 1s who have played all ten of their fixtures for the season.
A win in the final league game away at Southampton on Wednesday 13th March is needed. The league is decided on head-to-head results - which Bournemouth have the better of - rather than goal difference in the case of two teams ending on equal points. The 1s will be encouraged by the nature of this win as they travel to Wide Lane.
There is also a realistic chance of cup glory as the 1s face a BUCS Trophy semi-final away at Bath 2s on 6th March. Bristol have won both league fixtures against Bath this season – a 5-2 win away and a 2-0 win at home – so will be hopeful of progressing. On 27th March, either Newcastle 1s or Nottingham 1s await the victor of the semi-final.
Meanwhile, Bristol 2s were defeated in the semi-final of the Western Conference Cup following a 4-1 defeat at the hands of Plymouth Marjon 1s.
Having suffered a heavy 5-1 defeat against the same opponents before Christmas, progressing to the final was always going to be a tough ask. The 2s’ task was not made any easier when the coach broke down on the way to the game, leaving Bristol with only ten minutes to warm up.
2s lose 4-1 and are out of the cup in the semis to an exceptional Marjons side who are on for a league and cup double. Have to be applauded.— UBAFC (@ubafcofficial) February 27, 2019
In truth, Marjons controlled the game and Bristol struggled to make an impact, with Sam Pagano providing the only solace by converting a penalty to put his team on the scoresheet.
Despite what captain Jonny Willis described as ‘a disappointing end to a promising season’, the 2s should take no shame losing to a superb Marjons side who have won all of their league games this season.
The final UBAFC team in action was Bristol 3s who are now in a two-horse race for the title against Plymouth 1s after winning 3-0 away at Exeter 4s.
Huge 3-0 away win for the 3s. Now one win away from 2 remaining games from clinching the title. Superb.— UBAFC (@ubafcofficial) February 27, 2019
On a difficult surface, the game started evenly with repeated pressure from both sides for the first 30 minutes, before Ryan Tully was able to square the ball to Chris Speed to make it 1-0 to Bristol.
Exeter fought back hard and would have gone into half-time level if it wasn’t for two incredible goal-line clearances from the skipper George Mayo.
Ten minutes into the second half, Chris Speed pressed Exeter’s goalkeeper into a mistake before being brought down whilst taking the ball round the keeper. A red card followed and a penalty was calmly slotted home by Tom Ryan.
Bristol controlled the rest of the game and extended their lead through their infamous corner routine, which saw Speed claim his second of the game with a powerful finish into the top corner.
Following this convincing victory, the 3s are now three points ahead of Plymouth with two games remaining for both sides. Therefore, Bristol are in the driving seat for promotion, knowing just one win will wrap up the title, regardless of Plymouth’s results, due to the head-to-head rule.
A mouth-watering afternoon of football awaits the Coombe Dingle faithful on 13th March. Bristol 3s can claim the Western 3A and the 4s can clinch the Western 4B in a day where UBAFC can potentially win three leagues, adding to the 5s’ table-topping campaign.
Featured image by Zack Shooter
Just how successsful can UBAFC's season be? Let us know your thoughts!