Men’s football Uni firsts 2 Leeds Met seconds 0
A highly polished and efficient performance which saw Uni’s first team run out comfortable winners for the third time this season against an under-par Leeds Met side.
In breezy conditions the hosts enjoyed the perfect start. With less than a minute on the clock Sean Rushton broke down the left wing and delivered a deep cross which was met firmly by Ryeoil Kim, the ball nestling in the bottom corner.
Sheffield kept the pressure on throughout the early stages with Rushton looking lively on the left wing and the strike force of Oliver Wayne and Cameron Gray causing Leeds’ defence plenty of trouble with intelligent runs in behind.
Wayne went close to doubling Sheffield’s advantage after 10 minutes, putting his free header wide from eight yards.
The visitors had a torrid first half as Sheffield’s midfield dominated proceedings, and anything which did break through was comfortably dealt with by the centre-back pairing of Tom Macleod and David Venn.
The chances for Sheffield just kept coming as Dan Quinn had a shot cleared off the line after neat first touch passing had cut through the Leeds defence, and minutes the hosts later should have had a penalty. Wayne was brought down by a tackle which was both high and dangerous, but no decision was given.
Half-time could not come quickly enough for Leeds, who looked increasingly frustrated at proceedings whilst Sheffield were left wondering how the score remained at just 1-0.
An unexpected snowstorm accompanied the start of the second half, and it seemed to suit Leeds who came out firing, instantly pressing Sheffield back deep into their own half and forcing early defensive errors.
Despite their early dominance Leeds still could not force an opening, and as the second half went on and the snow subsided, the home side began to ease their way back into the match.
Rushton blazed over from 12 yards before a deep corner was not dealt with and Matthew Amukapemu was left with a simple header at the far post with twenty minutes to go.
It was a sucker punch for a Leeds team who showed endeavour and enthusiasm, if a lack of cutting edge in front of goal.
Sheffield seemed content to settle at 2-0 and sat back in the final stages, happy to allow Leeds to have possession in their own half.
Despite this Sheffield still had the better chances in the last 10 minutes. Gray was inches away from Rushton’s left-wing cross, whilst Amukapemu forced his way into the area and drew a good save from the Leeds’s keeper.
A 3-0 score line would not have been flattering for a side who dominated for large parts of the game, and left the Sheffield goalkeeper with very little to do except try to stay warm.
Captain Tom Macleod claimed the performance was Sheffield’s “best of the year” and kept them in the hunt for the league title in which they lie just behind bitter rivals Hallam with just three games to go.