The University of Leeds Mens Football 2’s succumbed to a narrow defeat in a game against arch-rivals Leeds Beckett which could really have gone either way. Having defeated their opponents 3-1 in the Varsity fixture earlier this month, Uni were looking for a similar result to kick-start their league campaign after suffering a heavy defeat to the 1’s last week.
In miserable conditions at Weetwood, the game began at a high tempo with both sides looking to gain the upper hand ealru on in this local derby. Uni enjoyed the lions share of possession in the opening exchanges and forced the first corners of the game after good pressure by Ben Leaman. However, Uni were reminded of Beckett’s threat soon after and were forced to make several impressive last-ditch tackles. The centre-back pairing of Omar Bukleb and Chris Jackson were definitely being tested.
Uni had a penalty shout for handball waved away by the referee, before they were frustratingly denied the lead by a goalline clearance. Yet it was Beckett who took the lead as an inswinging free kick was met by a bullet header that flew past goalkeeper Cody Wharton. But the home side however weren’t ready to lie down just yet and responded well to going behind. They quickly forced a corner which resulted in a tame effort after a scramble in the Beckett penalty area. As the game headed towards half time, Leaman combined with captain Elliott Campbell for a quick one-two which almost resulted in a Beckett own goal.
After the interval, the game largely continued in the same vein and it wasn’t long before Uni were deservedly level. Jack Bullock latched onto a fine through ball with a neat touch that took the ball away from the defender, before he buried it into the bottom corner from the edge of the area. The goal seemed to put a spring in Bullock’s step as he was soon firing on target again, with the home side chasing the lead.
However, Beckett were also looking for another goal and were soon back in front. The Gryphons conceded a foul after a spell of concerted pressure from Beckett, and there really was absolutely no stopping the resulting free kick from 35 yards which whistled past Wharton.
As the game reached its final stages, the pace of the game upped again with Uni frantically searching for an equaliser. Strong tackles flew in all over the pitch and a good save denied Bullock his second from a free-kick on the edge of the box.
Beckett ended the game victorious but they were largely matched by the home side and the win could quite easily have been Uni’s on another day. It’s now imperative that the Gryphons take this performance into their next game at home to Sheffield Hallam on November 5th.
Image courtesy of Sam Broadley