The University of Sheffield Men’s Football 1st Team lost their first game of the season as they fell to a 1-0 defeat against Newcastle at Norton Playing Fields.
Sheffield, who recorded a fantastic 2-0 victory away at near neighbours Sheffield Hallam last time out, made a slow start as Newcastle had large amounts of possession early on in the game.
Jack Farthing, the Sheffield keeper, was forced into making a couple of smart saves as Newcastle put some pressure on the Sheffield defence. Newcastle’s Number 9, Olly Walker, caused the Sheffield defence problems all afternoon with his physical presence and had his header from a corner brilliantly turned away by Farthing as it was destined for the top corner.
However, Walker got the better of the Sheffield keeper just minutes later as Farthing’s attempted pass out to left-back Callum Wilson was far too short allowing Walker to capitalise for a tap-in to give Newcastle the lead.
Sheffield responded positively to falling behind and pushed up-field to try and cause a very organised Newcastle defence more problems. Newcastle were putting bodies on the line and brilliantly blocked a volley from Liam King on the edge of the area in the 34th minute which looked goal bound.
Despite Sheffield’s good spell, it was Newcastle who had the better chances to double their advantage just before half-time. It was again Olly Walker who had the chance as his low driven shot was this time turned away by Farthing for a corner.
By the half-time whistle Sheffield were left very frustrated as they found themselves 1-0 down to a costly error by keeper Farthing but had also failed to test the Newcastle keeper throughout the half.
With around half an hour to go, Sheffield started to have more success further up the pitch and began to create more clear cut chances. They were so unlucky not to equalise as one move involving Chike Ejezie down the left wing resulted in Newcastle having to clear the ball off the line before John Brelsford blasted over.
As Sheffield started to pile on the pressure onto Newcastle’s defence, David Lodge had a fantastic opportunity to find the elusive equaliser but was again denied by the Newcastle keeper.
The frustration throughout the Sheffield team became clear in the 75th minute as players from both teams were involved in an altercation. This resulted in both the referee and the management teams calming both sets of players down.
Despite Sheffield’s second-half dominance Newcastle were still proving a threat on the counter-attack. Olly Walker was holding the ball up well for the away team and won a free kick as he forced Joe Medcalf into making a foul which ultimately led to him being booked.
Sheffield’s last big chance of the match came in the 85th minute as John Brelsford’s delightful effort deserved better as it went just over the bar with the Newcastle keeper rooted to the spot.
Despite the defeat, Sheffield manager Steve Basford felt that there were still many positives to take after the second-half performance.
He told Forge Sport: “We’ve got a lot of new boys in the team this year as we lost six players from last year’s first team. We actually had from last week’s starting eleven, five injuries into this week. So the boys that have come into the squad from the 2s, I’m very proud of and they have done really well”.
Sheffield captain and goalkeeper Jack Farthing was also disappointed the team were not able to take anything from a game he felt they dominated for large periods.
He told Forge Sport: “Second-half I thought we were awesome, we were all over them and they played long ball. We had things cleared off the line, many chances but we didn’t really look like putting the ball in the net which is always a bad thing”.