16th March 2018
Season Review: Falcons 2nd in Midlands 3B
The Falcons followed up last year’s promotion with an impressive season, culminating in a stunning Varsity Match win against Oxford Centaurs under the lights at Newmarket on the 4th March, and only just missing out on promotion and the league title at the final hurdle.
The Falcons squad consisted of several club veterans, providing stability and a great deal of maturity to a squad that had seen many of its key players from last season’s league title and Varsity winning side step up to play important roles in the Blues squad, as well as a number of young players for whom 2017/18 represented a first season of C.U.A.F.C football.
The season started with a 1-1 draw away against Bishop Grosseteste University’s 1st XI. A physically strong, and well organised outfit, the Falcon’s did well to go a goal up in the first half in poor conditions, and were only breached by an unstoppable strike into the top left-hand corner late in the second half.
The following game saw the Falcon’s host Warwick’s 2nds - eventual league winners – at home. Despite a difficult start, which saw the hosts conceding two early goals after as many mistakes in adverse weather conditions, Cambridge came in 3-2 up at half-time. A powerful Yusuf Mushtaq free-kick put the Falcons in command early on in the second half, and whilst Warwick replied with minutes to go to ensure a nervy finish, Cambridge never looked in danger of dropping points.
The first loss of the season came away against Coventry 1sts in the regional cup, despite a battling performance and a number of chances, the Falcons were unable to get on the scoresheet. However, there were positives to be found in a performance that proved that the side had the quality to push for promotion and compete against sides in leagues above their own. The same could not be said for the subsequent performance against Bedfordshire, as the team dropped points in a game from which they really should have taken all 3 points, losing 4-3.
However, despite the disappointment of the loss against Bedfordshire, the Falcons got back to winning ways with a 3-1 win away in a fiery away win against UEA , with Callum Parker netting in the last minute to put the game beyond our East Anglian rivals. The Falcons carried the momentum from this win into another local derby against Anglia Ruskin, easing to a comfortable 3-1 win, leaving the side top of the league as 2017 drew to a close.
The first game of the second half of the season saw the team travel to Warwick in a top-of-the-table clash. Despite a tense 90 minutes, the Falcons came away with an extremely welcome clean sheet and a valuable point in a 0-0 draw.
Whilst the point gained away at Warwick ensured that the league title was very much a possibility, the Falcons ceded control of the title race in an immensely frustrating 1-1 draw at home against Bishop Grosseteste. A freak goal that keeper Adib Badri had little chance of keeping out saw the Falcons go in 1-0 down at half time, and despite a dominant second half and a great strike from Callum Parker they were unable to reverse the scoreline.
The Falcons found themselves in a similarly difficult position against Bedford in a game played at Newmarket Town FC, however this time the team fought back with style in the second half to secure an important 3-1 win, with fresher Joe Young scoring two in the process.
The next game, the Falcons Varsity Match, was also played at Newmarket, and will no doubt live long in the memory. After going 1-0 up early on thanks to a Luke Sefton wonder goal, all seemed lost with 15 minutes to go as the Falcons somehow found themselves 3-1 down to their old rivals. Nick Hope pulled one back, however, before Harry Holt scored from close range to complete the comeback with only minutes remaining. Battling fatigue and cramp, the Falcons were unlucky not to score in Extra Time, before George Boughton heroics secured a 3-1 victory on penalties.
Turning their attention back to the league, the team secured a 2-1 victory against UEA, putting added pressure on Warwick and ensuring that the race for the title would go down to the wire. Whilst a 1-1 draw against Anglia Ruskin meant that the league title, and back to back promotions were out of sight, the Falcons can certainly be proud of a memorable season, and look forward to competing for the promotion they deserve in 2018/19.