A thunderous crowd sang and cheered for their sides, in an amazing turnout for the futsal varsity fixtures, on Friday 8th March as Renuka Odedra watched on at the Queen Elizabeth leisure centre. After the men’s 2nd team secured the first points of three available in the sport in this year’s varsity, the spotlight was on the women and men’s first teams to keep up the winning streak. But tactful and defiant University of Leicester (UoL) sides broke DMU hearts.
DMU Women 1sts 2 – 3 UoL Women 1sts
The women fought a tough game that turned into a scrappy affair as the clock ticked down. A couple of lovely goals from both sides from the half-way line made both teams aware that thunder would strike from their boots to win the bragging rights in the city of Leicester, between the two universities. Ian Redfern, DMU women’s coach was an animated figure on the touchline as DMU struggled to keep in control of possession from what must be said was a confident UoL side on the ball.
In the second half for a period of time, UoL camped behind the ball, beginning to invite pressure into their half. But, UoL were just as much of a threat on the counter, DMU’s sweeper-keeper was the only person keeping further goals creeping in from the adversary.
With DMU being 3-2 down, the game started to break up in tempo, with an accumulation of fouls preventing the sort of futsal that was played in the first half, which was much more high-tempo and free-flowing. As the women surged forward to try and find an equaliser with less than three minutes to go, a last-gasp goalmouth scramble gave DMU a glimmer hope that quickly faded when a composed UoL defence cleared their lines.
A closely contested game between the sides ended in a loss for the women in black and red, but they have much to be proud of.
Vice-captain of the team, Amelia Davies told The Demon, “We didn’t play futsal, we played five-a-side and we didn’t play five-a-side well.
“We’ve challenged every university that has come our way, we’ve won fourteen out of fifteen games, except this one.”
Amelia suggested the pressure of varsity may have been too much for the players, “with this one it was just the mentality, we lost our heads a little bit against UoL, especially in varsity and the crowds”
The team had a golden opportunity to redeem themselves in a conference cup final and get their hands on some silverware the following day on the 10th March. But it wasn’t to be in another spirited performance which ended 6-8 to the visitors, Nottingham Trent University.
DMU Men’s 1sts 4 – 8 UoL Men’s 1sts
The atmosphere was beginning to heighten ahead of the final match of the evening, at this point. With both universities taking a point each from the two previous games, this was the decider. The Demon FM stage stood directly outside UoL’s changing room, where the team were preparing themselves with pre-match music.
DMU got off to a brilliant start when a goal inside the opening minute of the first half was struck home after an initial back-flick was blocked by the keeper, but he couldn’t keep out the rebound. With confidence levels high, DMU nearly snuck in another goal when the ball ricocheted from one post to another, the UoL keeper eventually scooped up the ball and UoL could breathe a sigh of relief.
As the game went on UoL began to see a lot more of the ball and soon equalised with a wonderful long-range strike from their no.25 to give them an equaliser. Frustrated DMU soon was forced to start conceding fouls in what was a fast-paced game and it became a tactic that UoL were happy to benefit from.
The DMU goalkeeper made some outstanding saves with his feet, to clear the ball from his half and keep UoL at bay, who were now the dominant side and starting to spill onto the DMU half in waves.
Despite a cagey first-half, the crowd were in fine voice with a boisterous section of the home supporters taking full advantage of one of the team members name being named Salah and it wasn’t soon after that the internet sensation that is the ‘salah, mane mane song’ began to ring around the court.
A couple of conceded penalties later and UoL’s score on the board began to creep up and the time on the clock was running out. The guys gave a valiant performance until the end but ultimately were defeated 4-8, with an identical scoreline to last year’s varsity contest between the first teams.
Image gallery (taken by Renuka Odedra & Tom Evers)