NUFC play with their heads as they see off Manchester

20th October 2010

University of Nottingham Men’s Football 1st XI vs. University of Manchester Men’s Football 1st XI
6th October 2010
Pre-season friendly, Highfields

Nottingham Uni. continued their 100% record in pre-season with a 3-2 victory over the University of Manchester. Having squandered a 2-0 half-time lead, Nottingham managed to see off their opposition thanks to a Tom Alnutt header mid-way through the second half.

During the warm-up, coach John Sheridan was keen to emphasise the importance of a strong start, and with the former Derby and Nottingham Forest coach barking orders incessantly from the touchline, Nottingham immediately put Manchester on the back foot. Captain Lytton-Dickie and O’Neill marshalled midfield, with Askey, newly nick-named ‘Berbatov’, leading the line up top, and it was Askey who opened the scoring. A deep cross from the right wing landed perfectly on Askey’s head and he steered it back across goal and past the keeper to the delight of his team-mates.

Manchester briefly threatened with former Bolton player Robert Sissons’ free kick their best chance on goal. However, Youcef Oudjidane was imperious at the back, and suffocated Manchester’s attacking threat.

The ever audible Sheridan then produced his moment of genius from the touchline. The boss ordered Michael O’Neill forward for a corner to provide a greater attacking threat in the air, and the resulting corner was floated into the penalty area and powered home by the head of O’Neill. 2-0 Nottingham.

Furman and Tors were providing skill on the flanks for Notts and Askey was looking more and more comfortable upfront as Nottingham grew in confidence. The half-time whistle was blown, signalling a great 45 minutes for the home side in which their keeper was never tested.

During the break, Sheridan looked to try different players and formations out due to the pre-season nature of the game. This decision changed the match, and Manchester came back at Nottingham, setting a demanding tempo for the second half.

Firstly, a set-piece hit from deep was met by the head of their “Crouch-esque” striker for 2-1 as Nottingham’s defence started to look shaky, lacking the leadership of the injured Alex Martin and the substituted Lytton-Dickie.

Manchester, with renewed confidence, were a completely different outfit, constantly peppering the home team’s goal, and it was soon 2-2. Notts’ hard work and slick football during the first half was undone as Manchester’s tricky winger skipped past the right back and put a delightful cross into the box, thumped home by the head of their striker yet again. Four headed goals in one match, surely there couldn’t be another?

Step-up Mr. Alnutt. The ball was perfectly flighted into the box and Alnutt managed to escape his marker and head in from a few yards out, sparking some great celebrations as he ran to the corner flag and proceeded to punch it Tim Cahill style.

And although Nottingham held onto the win, there was some late bed news. With ten seconds to go, a poorly timed tackle by Youcef Oudjidane was dealt rather harshly by the referee with a straight red card. Perhaps he was influenced by the jeering Trent fans, eyeing up their rival competition ahead of the new season.

With 2 weeks to go until the season commences, Trent should be nervous as the University of Nottingham played some very good football, and must be amongst the favourites for promotion this season.

– Paul Millington