By Kieran Warren, Sport Deputy Editor
For a gloomy wet Wednesday lunchtime, this inner university football fixture between the Bristol 1s and 2s was something of a crucial standing point for both teams, not to only establish their aims for this year’s league, but to claim bragging rights within the University itself.
The 1s were looking to further separate themselves from the rest of the pack, following their resilient display against Cardiff Met 1s the previous week. For the 2s, they were looking to get off the mark after a harrowing away day against Hartpury 2s.
From kick-off it seemed that Bristol 1s were not eager to wait around to cause trouble, with the 1s playing a strong possession-based game and launching some crucial attacks including a decisive 1-0 opportunity early on, only to be denied by the 2s goalkeeper, Max Diment.
Bristol 2s would retaliate thoroughly from this onslaught, missing out on a critical chance from a free kick, with the delivery missing the 2s players by a manner of inches. The game would take a seesaw approach with both sides going back and forth with the 2s developing one of their finest chances when winger Marcus Gui saw an opportunity to finesse it to the goalkeeper's near post, only for it to be saved strongly by the 1s goalkeeper.
The first half was a strong battle: of goalkeeper heroics from the 2s, and strong possession-based football from the 1s. However, it would be the 2s who would break the deadlock, when Gui struck the ball on the volley to sail it over the 1s keeper and nestle in the top left corner. This was a replica of Papiss Cissé's goal against Chelsea, and easily a contender for goal of the season. Following the goal, the 2s seemed to run riot, creating a large presence amongst their university counterparts, something which proved a crucial factor defensively to close out the half.
Following half-time, the 1s seemed to have been revitalised, showing impressive energy, aggression, and concentration in establishing control within the fixture. This is something the 2s did not seem prepared for. The 2s were pressured heavily from the hungry 1s, who didn’t take being the losing side with much grace. Errors were a common occurrence between the 2s teammates, with errors from the keeper and back line being a consistent trend, and one which cost them when an error from the 2s centre-back allowed Jack Bilbruck to latch onto a missed header and slot the ball past the keeper with a smooth right-footed strike.
The draw would not last long. The 1s did not stop their constant onslaught, further providing problems for the 2s defence, which would quickly crumble once again when a fantastic corner was whipped in for 1s player Pat Gibbs. Even with the lead finally in the 1s’ grasp, they did not refrain from applying the pressure, with a pinging long ball creating the final problem for the 2s. Bilbruck looked for his second, with a dink over the keeper, only for Tom Flint’s heroics to clear the ball off the line to keep the 2s in the game.
Following a consistent display of midfield battles and crunching tackles, the final whistle blew and the 1s walked away with a 2-1 victory, in a match played amongst friends within a BUCS League. The 1s have been put in a title-hungry position, whilst the 2s were left hunting for their first points.
I managed to catch the 2s captain, Ben Spano, after the game for an interview regarding the game. His response was a proud one for his teammates' work, despite the negative results, with the ‘real positives being how the team were working together and communicating’ which caused the 1s to ‘not have an answer to our defensive shape in the first half’, as stated by Spano. Furthermore, he commented that improvements for the squad would span from the ‘control’ on the ball.
Shots on target
How do you think the UBAFC 1s and 2s will fare during the rest of the season?