Nottingham Trent University beat the University of Nottingham in the first of yesterday’s Varsity football matches in a dramatic penalty shoot-out after the game finished goalless, reducing the deficit of the series to 8-5.
Trent carved out the better of the chances throughout the game and woman of the match Cammy Newton scored the decisive penalty, her team winning 4-3 on aggregate in sudden-death.
It was a scrappy opening to the game at Meadow Lane with neither side able to get the ball under control in the middle of the park.
The University of Nottingham (UoN) had the first real chance of the game in the fourth minute: Trent right-back, Sam Burton, conceded a corner and Ellen Slater’s low, in-swinging delivery was met by the boot of striker Alyssa Moris who hooked an effort onto the top of the bar.
But Trent looked the sharper of the two after the opening quarter and Jess Wood came mightily close to opening the scoring, lifting the ball over Emily Garland in the opposition goal – the effort dropped the wrong side of the post.
The re-invigorated Trent looked sharp on the break, midfielder Newton creating several opportunities.
Just after the half-hour mark Fay Noble carried the ball from her own-half and played in Newton; her shot was parried by Garland and Georgia Richards hooked wide from a narrow angle.
Newton was again involved in the thick of the action minutes later, the attack-minded midfielder scuffed a left-footed strike wide on the edge of the area.
The second period didn’t spark into life until late in the game, but UoN did have the ball in the back of the net with 15 minutes left on the clock; Moris finished a one-on-one with the keeper, but her effort was ruled out for offside.
Wood had a fantastic opportunity to score in the 86th minute from the left-side of the area after great work from Noble put her through, Wood’s effort curled narrowly wide.
Trent continued to press in the dying embers of the tie and Wood came even closer to glory; deep into the five minutes of stoppage time substitute, Beth Twigge, picked out the striker at the near-post, her effort pushed wide by Garland.
The corner which followed was met by centre-back Laura O’Neill, who planted a header straight at the keeper which proved to be the last action of the encounter.
Trent took an early advantage in the penalty shoot-out after Ana Mihajlovic ballooned the opener for UoN of wide and Emma Hollingsworth made no mistake with hers, coolly slotting in to bottom-right corner.
The proceeding four spot-kicks were converted, before Joanna Loayza missed an effort for the Beeston side which made it 3-2 to Trent, meaning that Fay Noble had the chance to seal Trent’s win.
Noble saw her shot crash off the bar but second-half substitute, Shannon Swift, couldn’t bring her side level and missed for UoN.
Newton duly dispatched the winner, marking Trent Women’s third consecutive Varsity victory.