By Ailsa Cowen – Reporter
The second men’s football team narrowly lost 2-1 to the Salford 1sts at the UCLan Sports Arena yesterday.
The home side kicked off the first half with frequent, menacing shots on goal but they were either saved or fell just short of the post.
UCLan defender, Sam Howe, shot a good through ball towards forwards Callum Williams and Joe Austin but was too powerful and went out for a goal kick.
Five minutes in Austin provided a great assist for Williams who raced through but the referee blew for offside.
Minutes later Salford gain a free kick just into UCLan’s half but their shot was rebounded.
Eight minutes into the first half UCLan goalkeeper Ruairi McDaid made a brilliant save, sending the ball over the bar with his outstretched hand, to deny Salford of a goal. Salford took their corner but failed to reach the back of the net despite a great header towards goal.
After numerous minutes of tackling and defending against Salford’s testing attack UCLan made a fast break, sending the ball forward for Joe Austin to chase, he got a good touch on the ball and swerved past Salford’s defenders. He took a shot but hit it too faintly and Salford keeper easily saved it.
UCLan gained yet again another corner but was easily deflected away to give Salford a break down the right-hand side although UCLan’s Paul Vila Nova intercepted their break showing virtuous defensive work.
22 minutes in Salford won a free-kick just short of the penalty arc but the shot hit UCLan’s defensive wall and went out for a corner.
Despite both team’s gritty efforts neither of them seemed to be able to find the back of the net.
Half an hour into the first half Salford no. 6 had a threatening shot on goal but it flew straight into McDaid’s hands, allowing him to quickly distribute the ball back out onto the field.
Salford won another corner only for UCLan’s defender Howe to perform a solid header away.
33 minutes gone and Salford nearly scored. No. 11 sent a strong shot at goalkeeper McDaid but the keeper saved it, Salford tried again but Vila Nova stopped the strike with his leg, Salford had one final shot but McDaid pushed the shot over the bar.
37 minutes in UCLan midfielder Patrick McElwee had a shot on goal from a through ball but unluckily hit the post.
A minute later Salford gave away a bad tackle just inside the box and which caused the referee to blow for a penalty. Midfielder Joe Madin took up to the penalty spot and scored a comfortable goal.
The second half kicked off with UCLan winning a free kick deep in their own half. McDaid took the kick and sent it up field to Callum Williams who was pushed in the back by a Salford defender.
11 minutes in Salford made a strong run towards goal and no. 11 took a shot on goal. McDaid stretched out his leg to make the save but the ball slid past adding a point onto the scoreboard for Salford.
Two minutes later UCLan defender Howe gave away a bad tackle just outside of the penalty box which resulted in Salford being awarded a penalty. No. 11 scored the penalty to make the score 2-1 to the visitors.
UCLan continued to battle for a goal to equalise or win the game. In spite of their efforts their shots either went wide or find the safe hands of the Salford keeper.
17 minutes in McDaid made a great save from Salford no.11 and distributed the ball out to McElwee who sprinted towards goal with the ball but his shot fell just far of the post.
Both teams tackling gradually became more antagonistic as each team were desperate to score and their frustration began to rise.
25 minutes into the half McDaid was forced to make a strong, diving save sending the ball out for a corner.
Half an hour into the second half there was an altercation between the referee and some of the UCLan players due to a confusion over, allegedly, vulgar language used on the field. This brought the game to a standstill for a few minutes but it was swiftly resumed.
The final minutes of the game were filled with UCLan becoming close to scoring but Salford defended efficiently down to the final whistle.