Three first half goals in the space of twenty minutes stunned UEA as they succumbed to a 5-0 defeat at the hands of Nottingham at a bitterly cold Colney Lane, this afternoon.

Following their defeat to Loughborough last week, UEA went into today’s game knowing that should they win, and Loughborough were to lose, they would go a point clear at the top of the BUCS Midlands 1A division.

The game started in a lively, if scrappy fashion with tackles flying in from both sides; however, neither side was able to fashion any real opportunities in front of goal. But, in the 12th minute, Notts landed a sucker-punch. Nottingham had a short corner out on the right that was shut down slowly by the UEA defence and they were duly punished. The ball was sent into the box and was met by an unmarked head six yards from goal.

With barely anytime to settle back down after the goal, UEA found themselves two behind just 4 minutes later. Yet again, the goal came as a result of questionable defending. Nottingham found themselves with another corner, this time on the left side; the ball was whipped in with real quality and was met with a towering, yet unmarked, header by the Notts centre back.

With the game already slipping away, UEA tried to mount a comeback with Chuka Obi showing some neat footwork on the edge of the opposition’s box before the ball squirmed away into the keeper’s grasp. Shortly after, the game was killed off in spectacular fashion.

Again, Notts had a throw-in deep in the UEA half and the ball was sent into the box over the heads of everyone. However, some acrobatic improvisation from a Notts midfielder saw him send the ball in-off the bottom of the post with a sublime over-head kick from just inside the box. UEA were stunned.

The second half started much like the first: lively, fast-paced, well-contested but ultimately, goalless. But, in the 58th minute, UEA lost the ball cheaply in the centre of the park and, after some tidy play down the left-wing, Nottingham’s striker was able to add his second of the game from six yards out.

UEA made two changes immediately after the goal with Luke Hoban slotting into the unfamiliar centre back role. However, the new arrivals barely had 5 minutes to settle into the game when UEA’s defence failed on numerous attempts to clear the ball, allowing Nottingham’s striker the opportunity to tap in his third of the game. A Notts sub was probably right when he remarked: ‘that’s the easiest hat-trick he’ll ever get’.

Notts continued to press after their goal, spurred on by their wily, vocal manager and should have had a sixth but for a poor finish. UEA did mount some form of resistance and had a couple of attacks themselves. However, in the end, UEA were very poor and it was a routine victory for the clinical Nottingham side.