To say these were ideal conditions for football would be a lie. To say they were ideal conditions for a reporter would be an even greater lie. However, the University of Sheffield Men’s Football 4s ensured that the shivering fingers, the wet hair, and a coat that will take the rest of Varsity to dry were worth it in securing a 2-0 victory over their Hallam counterparts to open the scoring on Hallam Sports Park Day.
The visitors in Black and Gold begun the game on the front foot, with Captain James Juster firing wide within the opening minute. That early warning shot was never really heeded by the host, and from then on, the visitors dominated the game. It took 17 minutes however for The University of Sheffield to break the deadlock against a team a division below them in the BUCS Pyramid. Daniel Johnson, a thorn in the side of the Hallam defence for much of the first half, saw his shot deflected behind for a corner. From the resultant in swinging ball, and after the threat of a pinball match ensuing in the box, Matthew Hutchinson struck the ball sweetly into the bottom left hand corner.
The Uni lead was doubled on the stroke of half time. Another scramble in the box led to the ball bouncing along to goal. Louis Butler seemed to get the final touch in the melee and wheeled away in celebration as the referee brought the half to a halt.
From then on, the game became a test of stamina, not only for players, but also spectators. Any action led to a weary groan as the pen came out to scribe match details. Fortunately, the second half passed with very little incident. Despite an increase in workrate, and a change in formation to 4-4-2 for Hallam, they simply did not have the quality to cause a Varsity upset. Indeed, it was The University of Sheffield who could, and probably should have increased their lead. Johnson again forced a fine save by Hallam keeper Max Kelly, who was also there to save at the feet of Simon Woodley after a square ball by fellow substitute Matthew Stubbs was tantalisingly inaccurate.
Despite the missed chances, it was a relatively comfortable and deserved victory for the University of Sheffield Men’s 4s, who rounded off their title winning season with a Varsity victory. Not a game that will live long in the memory in terms of quality. However, the ensuing cold may well live in the memory for a while. Pass the branded medicated lemon drink.