By Andy Jones – Reporter
The UCLan men’s football 5th team were beaten 4-1 by University of Sheffield 4ths as they exited the Northern Conference Plate in the first round.
Two goals in either half from the visitors proved to be too much for UCLan as Anas Tajja and substitute Tom Dally both bagged braces.
UCLan’s Darragh Boyle gave the home side hope early in the second half as he brought the score back to 2-1 with a cool finish but it proved to be just a consolation.
It was a nightmare start for UCLan as Sheffield took the lead within 90 seconds of kick-off. The first corner of the game wasn’t cleared and Tajja was on hand to tap in from close range.
It was a setback for UCLan and the away side continued to pile on the pressure as they struck the bar and forced goalkeeper Callum Charlton into a couple of early saves.
The home side looked for some joy themselves and their best chance came through Boyle who won possession and drove through midfield but saw his drive whistle just past the post.
As UCLan were beginning to grow into the game they were hit with another blow as Sheffield doubled their lead.
A superb delivery from a freekick on the left of the area was deftly flicked on by Tajja into the net.
Half time provided a chance for the home side to reflect and they emerged for the second half with renewed energy and determination.
Their quick start to the half was rewarded after five minutes as UCLan put the Sheffield defence under a huge amount of pressure.
Boyle disposed their defensive midfielder before striding towards goal and finishing confidently past the helpless keeper.
Momentum was on UCLan’s side and they went close again soon after as Alex Todd struck straight at David Boorer in the Sheffield goal after good work from Emmanuel Forwor.
UCLan continued to pressure the away side but were sucker punched as Sheffield counter attacked from a freekick and Tom Dally raced through to finish calmly and restore Sheffield’s two goal lead.
The home side continued to try and get back in the game but struggled to properly test the Sheffield goalkeeper.
The away side confirmed their victory with less than 10 minutes to go as Dally got his second of the game after pouncing on a long ball over the top by Conor Murphy.
Despite the result, Conal Myers UCLan’s 5th team manager, took positives from the performance. He said: “I thought we tried a lot harder than the result showed. We did put that effort in.
“There a few points to work on but playing against a team who was higher up in the leagues than us, I think we gave a good showing of our ability.”