A LATE GOAL deflated any chance of a Leeds University win in men’s first-team football action on Wednesday at Sports Park Weetwood. Manchester Metropolitan University’s second-half substitute James Plumb scored a penalty kick past Leeds’ keeper Alex Gunn deep into the match to give the visitors a 2-1 victory.
Despite playing with renewed and frenetic energy in the game’s remaining minutes, Leeds was unable to grab a decisive equaliser.
A curling Leeds corner kick just missed a sliding Jack Bullock on the far post and the game ended when midfielder Lusungu Ndovi’s overhead kick attempt sailed over everyone around the goalmouth, and ultimately the crossbar.
This was the first game in the two teams’ season in the BUCS Northern 1A division, as both sides were promoted to the top level after strong showings last year.
The Gryphons were coming off another one-goal loss to Leeds Beckett University at Leeds Varsity a week ago. Beckett’s goal in that match was also scored on a penalty. The game’s first half often saw Leeds hemmed in their own half, unable to generate many attacks. Much of Leeds’ attacking strategy consisted of clearing the ball up to one of the forwards waiting alone and outmanned downfield. However, when their attack was working, the Gryphons were able to create some magic. A pretty drawn-out play that began back on halfway led to the Gryphons scoring the game’s first goal. A Leeds cross found forward Jack Bullock who deftly headed the ball, as it was deflected into the far right corner of the net.
To their credit, the Gryphons’ swarming defence and keeper Gunn looked like they were up for the challenge of slowing a relentless Manchester attack. Gunn was forced to be on alert at all times throughout the match, having to make saves left and right, and was bailed out by his posts on a couple of occasions. Nevertheless, Gunn couldn’t keep everything out. The keeper’s green and maroon team-mates couldn’t clear a Manchester corner after several tries before Met forward Michael Scofield drove a heavy shot just inside the left post.
In the second half, the game’s pace quickened dramatically. While Manchester largely controlled possession, both teams were attempting to launch attacks. With the pace elevated, the game became a bit stop-start, with numerous hard sliding tackles leading to the intervention of the referee. Leeds’ Ndovi earned a yellow after one such infraction, and a Met defender also earned a yellow a few minutes later.
While the Gryphons were generating some shots on target, their attempts were often straight into the Met keeper’s chest. Their closest chance came when Ndovi dribbled it around a group of Met defenders dangerously into the box. Ndovi’s valiant attempts to make the highlight reel were thwarted when he lost his balance attempting to turn and shoot.
The Gryphons will try to rebound and earn their first win of the season next Wednesday when they travel west to face Liverpool John Moores University.
Featured image: Mac White