Sport 2012/2013: Football
After a season of mixed results in the 2011/2012 football season, this year, MPW Birmingham have finished the season undefeated. Tricky away fixtures against MPW Cambridge and Bath Academy have inspired exceptional defensive performances from the team, whilst the matches played at home allowed our creative players to express themselves going forward.
The opening match of the season was against MPW Cambridge and played at MPW Birmingham’s home ground at the Doug Ellis Sports Centre in Perry Barr. After going a goal behind early on, MPW
Birmingham fought back in the second half to win 2-1 with goals from Will Haszard and Fergus Prutton. This was sweet revenge for the team who had been beaten twice last season by their Cambridge counterparts. The return game was played in Cambridge on April 30th 2013. With Cambridge looking to bounce back from their defeat earlier in the season, they started the stronger and led by two goals at halftime. As MPW Birmingham adapted to their new formation of 4-2-3-1, the team grew stronger as the game went on and won a penalty in the 60th minute. Fergus Prutton was again on hand to put the ball in the back of the net to put MPW back in the game. Minutes later Birmingham were awarded another penalty, this time with the Cambridge goalkeeper lucky to stay on the pitch. Again Fergus stepped up to take the penalty kick, but this time was foiled by the goalkeeper who made an outstanding save. With time running out, right midfielder Rupinder Khokhar took the ball from the MPW Birmingham defence and carried it to the outside right of the box. A sweet right foot shot saw the ball fly over the stranded goalkeeper and into the net to give Birmingham a deserved 2-2 draw.
This season saw two fixtures against independent college Bath Academy. The first was played on November 27th 2012 on a cold Tuesday afternoon at the Doug Ellis Sports Centre. As MPW Birmingham had not played Bath Academy before, we were unsure what to expect. When a group of South American students stepped off the bus, we thought we were in for a long afternoon running after players who come from the same continent as Messi and Neymar. Fortunately, the MPW Birmingham spirit was strong that afternoon and we burst into a two goal lead early on. By half time we were three goals up and looking comfortable. The second half was a different story though, and Bath Academy found their stride and were able to salvage a 5-5 draw.
MPW Birmingham were humbled by the home result against Bath Academy and when the away fixture came around on February 26th 2013, the team used the game as an opportunity to show they are not as complacent as the previous result suggested. Although Bath Academy took an early lead, goals from Gavindeep Sunder, Maj Khan and Fergus Prutton saw MPW Birmingham record a 4-2 victory.
Central midfielder Samar Sidhu shared his thoughts on the season:
“The 2012/2013 football season was destined to be an exciting one for MPW Birmingham. Having acquired new additions to the squad strengthening the core of the starting 11, the prospect of the most successful MPW Birmingham campaign was looking bright. The boys worked on some consistent, free flowing attractive football, which was then administered during our first home fixture against a strong MPW Cambridge side. This proved to be a tough test as we struggled during the first half to maintain concentration, having fallen behind in the opening minutes. The strength and character of our team was revived after our half time talk and this lead to us rising up to the occasion and defeating MPW Cambridge 2-1 in the closing minutes. We then hosted Bath Academy where we drew 5-5. This practice match allowed us to identify weaknesses in the team and act upon them during training. We were then invited to Bath Academy for our first away fixture of the season. The team displayed great strength and gelled together which allowed to be victorious with 4-2 win. Our biggest challenge was yet to come, facing Cambridge at their home ground. This was the most anticipated game of the season, as we wanted to round off the season unbeaten. Despite having the majority of possession, the boys fell behind to a well-constructed counter attacking move from the opposition. However the great team spirit was highlighted during the second half where our attacking efforts were rewarded with goals. Overall the season finished as the most successful MPW Birmingham has ever had.”