By Andy Jones – Reporter
The football 1st team returned to winning ways as they beat University of Manchester 1st’s 2-1 in a hard-fought victory.
First half goals from Terry Cummings and Jake Skappaticci were enough to hand UCLan all three points.
Dec Ryder equalised for Manchester midway through the first period but it wasn’t enough for the away side.
UCLan started the game on the front foot and were ahead after 10 minutes. Cummings won the ball in Manchester territory before playing a superb one-two with Alex Chu. He ran through on goal and calmly slotted the ball past the onrushing keeper to give UCLan the lead.
UCLan nearly doubled their lead soon after but nobody was on hand to tap home a threatening corner which bounced around the area before eventually Danny Byrne headed just wide.
Manchester began to get back into the game and equalised on 19 minutes. UCLan lost possession near their own penalty area and the ball was pulled back into the path of Ryder who drilled it home.
The home side started to dominate proceedings again and shortly after Alex Yates flashed a shot wide.
Mark McGroaty then had a great chance as he sprinted onto a flick from Chu but saw his effort stopped by the goalkeeper.
The away side were creating chances of their own and nearly took the lead themselves from a corner. UCLan goalkeeper, Louis McCarthy, was on hand to stop the ball from crossing the line at the second attempt.
UCLan restored their lead minutes before halftime. A corner from the right wasn’t cleared by the away side and the ball eventually fell to Skappaticci who tapped home from close range.
The second half began quietly but it burst into life just before the hour mark as Callum Murphy saw his freekick cannon back off the post.
Soon after it was Manchester’s turn to hit the woodwork as their number 8 struck a sweet effort which was superbly tipped onto the bar by McCarthy.
UCLan continued to press to increase the scoreline as first Jake Connolly saw his shot cleared off the line before Chu saw his near post flick tipped onto the post by the goalkeeper.
The home side contained the attacking threat of Manchester and could have added to their lead with 10 minutes to go as Chu threaded an inch perfect through ball to Cummings. The forward raced through before being thwarted by both Manchester’s goalkeeper and centre back.
Frustrations began to boil over for Manchester who felt they deserved a penalty late on but their complaints ended as their number 8 was shown a red card for dissent.
Manchester nearly snatched a point in added time through their centre-back who arrived late at the back post to meet a deep freekick before diverting the ball over the bar from two yards out.
UCLan held on for all three points though to claim their second victory of the season in the league.
UCLan 1st Assistant Manager George McNally said: “We played really well. The front men were class. We never looked like we were going to concede even at 2-1 we weren’t worried. They were a good side but we were the better team.”