UEA battled their way to a 3-1 win over Essex in Women’s Futsal, thanks to a dominant second half performance.

The home side took the lead five minutes into the second half, when a shot from distance was parried by the Essex goalkeeper and UEA’s Rosa Bisbrown followed it up with a powerful volley into the roof of the net.

The second goal was almost a carbon copy of the first, as the Essex goalkeeper once again failed to hold on to a shot from long range and Bisbrown was on hand to poke home from around a metre out.

The goal that pulled Essex back into the contest had an element of fortune to it. A UEA attack broke down and sent the ball spiralling towards the halfway line. An Essex player won the 50-50 challenge with UEA’s last defender, which sent her through on goal. The chance briefly looked to have escaped her when she took a heavy touch, but she managed to reach the ball before the UEA goalkeeper, and slammed in her side’s only goal.

UEA then sealed the win in the closing stages with a fluid passing move. They dragged the Essex defenders out of position, opening up space in the middle for a great cross, and a UEA forward calmly slotted her shot beyond the reach of the keeper and into the bottom corner to make it 3-1.

The first half had been a much less exciting affair, with both sides defending resolutely and having to resort to shooting from distance, with most attempts going wildly off target. UEA did have the best chances of the first half, and should have opened the scoring early on when a long ball was played into the Essex box and the UEA player just could not quite get a strong enough connection on her shot.

UEA went close again with a quick counter attack that ended in a miscued strike. The home side also nearly scored moments before the end of the first half when UEA’s number three won the ball deep in her own half, then powered forward before firing a low, hard shot towards the bottom corner, which the Essex keeper did well to push behind for a corner. That UEA defender was in excellent form for the entire game, making several crucial challenges, including a brilliant last ditch slide tackle with a couple of minutes left to play in the first half when an Essex player looked to be clean through on goal.

Essex largely failed to test the UEA keeper, with most of their shots heading straight at her, but she was called into action with virtually the last kick of the first half when a curling effort from an Essex player looking to be creeping into the far corner of the goal, but the UEA keeper tipped it beyond the post.

In what was a feisty encounter neither side held back in their challenges. The referee, however, seemed determined not to give a single foul, regardless of how clear it was to the crowd that he was erring on the lenient side. That allowed the game to flow freely, creating a highly dynamic and competitive match. Once UEA had gone 2-0 up, the Essex players started to let their frustration get the better of them, and the referee was forced to finally give a free kick early in the second half. An Essex player responded angrily to a perfectly good strong tackle by kicking the UEA player who made it, with the ball nowhere near either of them.

Ultimately UEA’s quality on the ball and superior goalkeeper proved to be the difference in a hugely entertaining second half.