UEA 'A' LIFT THE INAUGURAL NORFOLK INTERMEDIATE CUP
The U’s were successful in lifting the inaugural Norfolk Intermediate Cup following a tense game against Celt Rangers Reserves this afternoon. Despite a near comeback from the east-coast outfit, UEA ‘A’s attack couldn’t be stopped, with their side scoring three late goals.
The game kicked off at Harrod Sport Arena as it meant to go on. A physical start with several heavy challenges set the pace of the game with UEA enjoying most of the possession in the first five minutes.
It wasn’t long before the opener came. Only 9 minutes in, Sudesh Magar played the ball out wide to Alamin Abdulrahman who skilfully cut back and drove a low ball across the face of goal finding Luke Pollard on the six-yard line. His shot wasn’t the cleanest as it rolled goal wards, however, it proved to be enough as it went just over the line, despite a clawing hand from Reginald Blake, in the Celt goal. The goal was given by assistant referee, Auberon Limmer on the touchline after a moment of confusion
The next ten minutes saw promise from the Greens with tidy build-up play in the centre of the park; yet, Celt failed to penetrate UEA’s back line of Josh Dalton and Ben Slater.
Tensions began to rise after Pollard’s goal and this carried on throughout the half. Luke George entered the book with a yellow card after a late challenge that was brought back following a UEA advantage.
The Greens were under significant pressure from UEA throughout the first 45 and in turn began to apply their own pressure through counter attacking football. Following a break from a UEA corner, Celt’s defensive clearance found Aaron Hogg’s feet who progressed the play with a driving run before being fouled a yard outside the penalty box. David Pasco stepped up to take the freekick, swerving the ball towards the top left corner of the goal. The effort was denied by a diving Jackson Ayers, in the U's goal, to prevent Celt from scoring
UEA doubled their advantage moments later in the 23rd minute as player-manager Peter Head’s early out-swinging cross found Slater in the box, who powered home a diving header to increase UEA’s goal tally.
Despite trailing, the Greens pushed forward immediately creating chances and applying pressure. This led to a long period of back and forth football with both teams creating good opportunities but failing to convert.
A quick turnover of possession saw a few shouts for fouls in the middle of the park before Celt broke forward with Hogg who struck the ball from long -distance demanding a diving save from Ayers.
However, it wasn’t long before the Greens scored their first goal of the afternoon as George found the back of the net after he chased down a rebounded shot. This sparked new life into the game just before the half-time whistle, promising an exciting second half was to follow.
Half Time - UEA ‘A’ 2 – 1 Celt Rangers Reserves
The second period began with eagerness from the Celt attack. Only a minute into the second half saw an equaliser come from seemingly nothing. Ollie Stephenson pushed the ball onto his right foot and fired a vicious strike into the top right corner of Ayer’s goal from 30 yards out. Celt were back in the game!
Both teams continued to apply attacking pressure with turnovers in possession taking place frequently.
Minutes later UEA regained their lead as Pollard won a penalty after turning a defender and being bundled over. Sultan Dousa, who had been a menace to Celt’s backline the whole game, deservingly converted the penalty sending Blake the wrong way.
UEA began to dominate the game following this goal with both Jacob Donnellan striking the crossbar and Pollard beating the keeper one on one before failing to convert from a tight angle. The U’s converted their fourth of the evening as a mistake from the Celt back line allowed Dousa to double his tally after finding the bottom left corner.
The final moment of action saw UEA find their fifth and last of the afternoon as Nimr Butt extended the lead in additional time after coming on off the bench.
Full Time - UEA ‘A’ 5 – 2 Celt Rangers Reserves
UEA ‘A’: Jackson Ayers, Peter Head ©, Marcus Day, Harry Winchester, Ben Slater, Josh Dalton, Alamin Abdulrahman, Luke Pollard, Sudesh Magar, Sultan Dousa, Lewis Oakes
Subs: Chris Brown, Dillon O’Connor, Jacob Donellan, Nimr Butt, Grady Hammett
Celt Rangers Reserves: Reginald, Lee George ©, Roy Coe, Connor Howes, Jason Soames, Luke George, Aaron Hogg, David Pasco, Ollie Stephenson, Tim Simpson, Charlie Walker
Subs: Keannan Hughes, Jaydn Johnson, Taylor Barrett, Alex Meades, Charlie Jonas
Referee: Loraine Catchpole.
Assistants: Scott Hawkins & Auberon Limmer.
Fourth Official: Frank Lough.
Player of the Match: Sultan Dousa
Photography: Cyan Fullbrook, @cyan_rose