MPW Cambridge and MPW Birmingham Football Match
After the long bus journey up to Birmingham, the MPW Cambridge team faced a strong organised MPW Birmingham team on a sunny afternoon.
With previous games against MPW Birmingham being very one-sided, with the last game away losing 7-3, we had high hopes this time that we would be able to possibly take a victory back home. However, we were aware that the Birmingham side would be as strong as ever and knew of the huge task ahead.
Birmingham won the coin toss and chose the opposite end, so we had kick-off. One of our two strikers, Louis, started the game off and straight away the whole team looked much better and much more professional than last year’s team.
As we were playing on astro-turf, the team were a bit sceptical about putting in big tackles but the centre back Ben didn't give this a second thought. Sliding in and always getting stuck in within the defence whilst keeping the back line flat and strong.
After some great defending the ball went out for a corner to the Birmingham side. With a good delivery but scruffily deflected finish, the Birmingham side scored, although the keeper did manage to get a fingertip to it. While we went 1-0 down within the first 25 minutes, this was already an improvement from last year and the team remained positive. The team kept their heads up and carried on keeping possession and dominating in the midfield.
With a show of play from Ben, Ollie and Louis, we were in a scoring position. Sadly, the shot was saved. But straight after, Faris sweeps in and slots the ball in the left hand side of the goal, leaving the keeper motionless. 1-1 with only 10 mins to go in the first half we were feeling good. Throughout the game there were stand-out performances across the whole team. Alex, the left centre back putting in some crucial tackles in both halves. In the 38th minute, after one such challenge, a free kick was given to the MPW Birmingham side. As the whistle blew their No 10, Connor, took the free kick and scored a brilliant goal, leaving our goal keeper sprawled on the floor and making the score 2-1. After this goal, the team played incredibly well keeping the ball for the rest of the half.
Ther half-time score at 2-1, we felt we were 'in it'. Spirits remained high, on the pitch as well as on the sideline, with our subsitutes eager to come on and put their mark onto the game.
The second half started with MPW Birmingham kicking off. Straight away, the Birmingham side had an attack and forced a save. After the ball was distributed back into the field, Faris and Ollie were making great runs and through balls on the left wing. This was an incredibly close game possession-wise. In the second half, the right back Tom put in some brilliant tackles stopping their attacking force. Also on the right, we had Severins and Harry, another brilliant duo making great passes and runs.
A while into the second half and Birmingham had another chance. With a shot from their left winger across goal, our goal keeper was forced to make a save with a firm hand. Unfortunately, it was not firm enough and was destined to be a goal. But Faris came sprinting in and performed a brilliant goal line clearance keeping their lead to only one goal. After this brilliant play Ben received the ball in midfield and played a ball to Ollie which then eventually made it to Harry who ran on and scored by shooting through the keeper’s legs making it all square at two apiece. As time went on we realized we had a chance, so we started playing around keeping the ball and slowing everything down. With 8 mins to go, Birmingham had multiple corners and shots all were saved and cleared until one of their shots crept in the bottom left corner. Again the keeper got a solid hand to it but it wasn’t enough. 3-2 the team were slightly annoyed but still kept their heads up. With only 5 mins to play we went all out. Ben had 2 brilliant shots, one hitting the post and one just shy of the goal. We kept attacking until the final whistle.
The final score was 3-2 to Birmingham. It was a brilliant game for both teams. A close battle between the sister schools. With the rematch in February it would be a great game to watch as the Cambridge side will be stronger and I really believe we will win!
Congratulations to the Birmingham side for the win.
Our man of the match was Faris Ashraf for some great runs, passes, a goal and a goal line clearance.