March 15, 2017, by Kate Rothery
UoN Sport staff host football fundraiser
University of Nottingham Sport staff have laced up their boots and challenged fellow University staff football teams to raise money for a local Air Ambulance Trust charity.
The staff football team will play a series of friendly fixtures against local rivals, with the latest against De Montfort, all with the aim of raising vital funds towards the £2.1m needed each year to fly the Lincs & Notts Air Ambulance.
So far the team have won 2 out of 2 (check out the latest match report below) but still have a way to go before reaching their £500 fundraising target for the Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire Air Ambulance Trust.
To donate, please visit our fundraising page here: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/staff-football
Match Report (by Bharat Samra): 26/02/2017
Following on from their 2-1 victory over Nottingham Trent Sports Staff in mid-January, Eric Williamson and the UoN Sports Staff team set their sights of success a little further as De Montfort University’s sport department travelled from Leicester to take on our boys in green and gold (despite only having access to blue kit on this particular occasion).
With howling winds quivering through the goal nets, a referee in his 70s whose kit resembled the same era, and a supposedly strong opposition in DMU, the pre-kick-off conversation was one of uncertainty within the UoN squad. Matters were made worse when our team of 14 was reduced to 11 without warning as the first whistle was looming, forcing a reshuffle of players and positions.
The opening 15 minutes of the match were fairly tight, with little fault to be had by either sides’ performance. A defensive miscommunication shortly after however, resulted in DMU getting an opportune chance on goal, with a tidy finish past UoN’s keeper Dan Owen to put the Leicestershire side up 1-0. A similar scenario followed soon after, when a simple throw-in from the halfway line for DMU opened up our midfield, causing our defensive structure to scramble which DMU took full advantage of, netting a second goal before the 30-minute mark. At this point, it was clear the visiting team were comfortable playing together and were an experienced side. Despite this, our spirit stayed strong and our play continued to look promising, with great balls being placed by our back line and equally efficient runs being made by the attack.
Enter Moe Maghrbi. A difference maker in this game to say the least, Maghrbi, UoN Futsal player and coach, came into the match from the bench after arriving late in the first half. His impact was instant. A force down the wings, Maghrbi favoured taking DMU’s defence head-on down the left side and cutting into the box on his preferred right foot. DMU looked dismantled. Eventually, Maghrbi’s talents helped halve the lead our opposition had over us after he collected his own shot from a poor save from their goalkeeper, then lined the ball to striker Andy Drummond for a straightforward tap-in just before the break. We were optimistic heading into the half 2-1 down, and the excitement hadn’t even started.
Swapping ends after a short interval, the wind was against us and we were well aware DMU would come back battling. We refused to back down without ensuring it was a fair fight, and Andy evened the score at 2-2 early in the second half with an almost identical goal to his first (also his third goal in two games). The remainder of the half was well fought by both teams, with DMU having an array of opportunities to regain the lead, being denied on multiple occasions by the experienced goalkeeping of Dan Owen in addition to the bodies UoN piled behind the ball to protect their net, particularly that of centre-backs Mark Burke and captain Jordan Stanley-Smith.
Enter Ben Sanders. Unable to play the full 90 minutes due to being on shift, Sanders used his 30-minute break to sub on as a striker with 20 minutes remaining to pair with Maghrbi, pushing Drummond back into central midfield. Making an almost immediate impact, Sanders flicked on a beautifully lofted long ball from Bharat Samra which put Maghrbi in a one-on-one situation with the keeper. Keeping cool, calm and collected, he confidently curved the ball into the bottom right corner for a well-deserved goal after assisting on both prior. UoN had done it. We had come back from a two-goal deficit to lead the game, but we weren’t safe yet. Minutes later, our lead grew as roles reversed and Sanders was on the receiving end of a perfectly-weighted pass from Maghrbi – achieving his third assist – as the big man slotted home the ball solidifying his status as a super-sub in just a short amount of play.
Now 4-2 up after being down 2-0, our energy was sustained until the referee slowly blew for the final whistle of the day. What a comeback victory for UoN. While DMU arrived with a lot of talented individuals, it was our ability to operate as a cohesive unit: a team, that allowed us to remain optimistic against all odds, and make an enthralling return to relevance in a game where others may have given up and disappeared. Applaudable performances were had throughout the squad, with everyone putting in a tremendous effort in and working for each other for the success of the team.
Man of the Match: Moe Maghrbi
Line-up and Stats:
GK -Dan Owen
LB – Tom Daw
CB – Jordan Stanley-Smith (c)
CB – Mark Burke
RB – Bharat Samra
RW – Eric Williamson
CM – John Burgess
CM – Luke Harvey
LW – Joe Hall
ST – Dan Keogh
ST – Andy Drummond (2 goals)
ST – Ben Sanders (1 goal, 1 assist)
ST – Moe Maghrbi (1 goal, 3 assists)