UEA Women’s football produced a stubborn defensive display on Wednesday afternoon as they snatched a 1-0 win in against the league leaders Cambridge.
The away side – who came in to this game at Colney Lane on the back of three consecutive league victories – were frustrated by an inspired performance from UEA ‘goalkeeper Axelle Courlander. Time after time the visitors were thwarted by a string of superb stops, when on another day Cambridge could possibly have won by two or three clear goals.
However, the ‘keeper’s fantastic performance shouldn’t detract from an all-round dogged display from the hosts; against a side that has racked up twelve goals in their opening three matches.
In the opening passages of play, Cambridge asserted a great deal of pressure on the UEA defence and it was difficult to see how they could possibly hold out for the entire game. Numerous opportunities came their way, with Cambridge’s striker constantly posing a threat, hassling the defence and bringing two or three smart saves from the ‘keeper.
But it wasn’t all one-way, UEA worked some space down the left flank and a cross was swung in to the danger area, only to see it narrowly deflected past the ‘goalkeeper’s near post and away for a corner. Nonetheless, Cambridge were still the team seeing the majority of possession, and causing plenty of problems when they advanced further in to UEA territory. On a number of occasions Cambridge could, and possibly should have opened the scoring; their striker being played through on goal only to dither, allowing the defender to come racing back and clear away, whilst a header was cleared off the line only minutes later.
The second half was much more of a tightened affair, compared to the opening period that saw numerous opportunities at both ends of the pitch. UEA’s goal – which came with only ten minutes left on the clock – couldn’t possibly have been any more bizarre. A long ball was punted in to the box, which the miniscule Cambridge stopper flapped at, leaving the ball only a few yards away from the goal line. Eventually, the ball found its way into the net after being hit by a Cambridge defender against one of her team-mates towards her own goal. But they all count, and UEA held on for a memorable three points.