16th March 2018
Season Review: Men's Blues win BUCS Midlands 1A
This season has been an outstanding one for the Blues as they fought their way to BUCS Midlands 1A glory, losing only one game in the process. This achievement exceeded even their own expectations in a league featuring several strong university football outfits.
The Blues squad was bolstered by German graduate Michael Hofstetter and the spine of last year’s Falcons team who went a whole season unbeaten, winning their league and Varsity match in the process. This quality of being hard to beat certainly carried over into this season, and the team started their season with a hard-fought goalless draw away to Loughborough 2’s on their pristine Nike Academy pitch.
A home game at fortress Clare against Warwick followed and, despite dominating the game, the Blues found themselves one goal down with 20 minutes to play. However, they showed a real calmness and intensity to overturn the deficit, with striker Henry Alexander getting the equaliser and Stefan Wolf scoring a last-minute penalty to clinch the three points.
This victory started a winning streak as the Blues emphatically dispatched Oxford Brookes 4-1 away from home and, in the performance of the season, beat a very strong Nottingham side 3-0 away from home. This solid defensive display, led by captain Jack Congdon, combined with clinical finishing on the counter attack, epitomised what Cambridge had been about all season.
The Blues continued their winning ways with a 1-0 home victory over Loughborough 2’s and progressed into the next round of the cup by overcoming Cardiff Met on penalties, with fresher Nick Gallagher confidently stepping up to score the winning penalty to secure a victory that should really have been completed in 90 minutes. The Blues then travelled to Warwick for their final league game of 2017. The match ended in a thrilling 3-3 draw which was entertaining yet frustrating as Warwick scored a last-minute equaliser to deny the Blues top spot at Christmas.
The squad enjoyed a successful winter training tour to Malaga at the start of January, winning both their friendly matches against local opposition, and returned eager to continue their hard work and finish the job they had started. The Blues came from behind twice to beat Oxford Brookes 4-3 at home, a result which saw them go to the top of the league. A frustrating 3-3 draw after leading 3-1 against Nottingham followed, which denied Cambridge the opportunity to extend their lead at the top and meant that the league title hinged on their two remaining games against Oxford.
The Blues managed to put a disappointing 2-0 away defeat to Bristol in the cup behind them to beat Oxford and win the league on home turf. With Cambridge leading 1-0 at the break, Oxford really threw everything at them in the second half, but the Blues defended their lead heroically to ensure that glory was theirs. The Blues then faced a trip to Oxford a couple of weeks later, and slipped to their first league defeat of the season with the game finishing 2-0 to the hosts.
This defeat was hard to take but does not detract from what has been a truly remarkable season for the Blues. Topping a very competitive league - losing only once all season - is something that everyone at the club is hugely proud of. Thoughts now turn to the Varsity Match at The Hive, Barnet FC, on March 25th.