UEA Women’s First Team secured their first three points in their BUCS league campaign in a titanic display against Bedfordshire at Colney Lane. Bedfordshire were the only team below UEA in the league table going into the fixture, so one may have expected a close contest but the scenes on the pitch depicted anything but. A holistic team masterclass with goals from Kathryn Stanley, Kayleigh Robb, and Holly Walker comfortably sealed a 6-1 victory in a vital game.
The first ten minutes of the game saw a hard-fought stalemate on a chilly afternoon, with opportunities at both ends. Bedford had an effort fly over the bar in the eleventh minute and forced the UEA keeper into a save with a long-range effort shortly after. However, three minutes later, UEA broke the deadlock as Stanley slotted a low, clinical strike into the bottom right-hand corner.
The first goal put the hosts in good spirits but their opponents were not going down without a fight. Their desire to push for an equaliser led to some fiery scenes, and ultimately to a penalty converted by Stanley for both her and her team’s second of the afternoon. UEA had settled comfortably and, by half an hour into the game, an ambitious long-range effort from Robb crept under the bar, putting the home team three to the good.
Spurred on by the looming threat of another defeat and another week at the foot of the table, Bedfordshire pressed again, this time seeing their efforts rewarded as a quick counter-attack snuck through the defence and past the goalkeeper, onside by the tiniest of margins. This was a clear message from Bedfordshire; as far as they were concerned, they were still in the game.
As half-time approached, a small fracas ensued; a result of the visitors’ discontent with some refereeing decisions. However, the situation was diffused by the referee and no cards were shown.
The visitors returned after half-time with a renewed zeal but were foiled time after time by UEA who continued to dictate proceedings; the confident passes across midfield that had the opposition chasing the ball were a testament to that.
Bedfordshire’s woes continued as Walker found space in the penalty area with her back to the goal and, in an unbelievable display of prowess, turned to squeeze the ball between the keeper and the near post from the most improbable of angles, a goal that earned her player of the match recognition on her first team debut.
Loose passes and tired runs characterised Bedfordshire’s game and before 70 minutes had elapsed, UEA added a fifth, Stanley striking again to complete her hat-trick. Despite their best endeavours, Bedfordshire had only one clear chance in the second half and that came only ten minutes before Amber Guyatt of UEA swung in a fine corner that was bundled into the Bedfordshire goal by one of their own.
The only elation for the visitors all afternoon came at the blow of the final whistle; they had been outclassed, outmatched, outplayed and would leave East Anglia empty-handed.
This win takes UEA up to fourth in the BUCS Midlands 2B league table after three games with a total of four points. Their next fixture in the league is next week, away at Lincoln (currently third place in the league); a game that matters greatly as both teams are level on points.