The search for the University of East London’s first BUCS South Eastern 6B victory of the season went on, after they surrendered a seven-goal lead to lose 31-32 against St. George’s University of London’s Second Team, at SportsDock.
UEL, who came into the game at the bottom of the table without a point and on the back of five consecutive defeats (which began in the reverse fixture), created the better opportunities throughout the match, but despite leading for the majority of the contest, the hosts made several errors, and the visitors capitalised, to edge the Blues, with seconds remaining.
Coach Sophia Sefton was distraught after the result and drew comparisons to the reverse fixture, which UEL lost in similar fashion.
“Honestly I am devastated. The first game of the season when we played them, it was the same thing. We had the lead, we dropped it and we just let it go and we lost by three. This one we lost by one, we had the lead again. It is hard because there were so many errors that we have to work on,” she said.
Her sister and Goal-Shooter Nadine Sefton scored three times in quick succession to cancel-out St. George’s brief lead, before another treble from the former and a brace from Goal-Attack Natalie Jones saw the hosts see-out the first-quarter 8-7.
The Sefton-Jones duo were a proving to be too much for the visitors in the second-quarter. The pair were involved in another eight goals as UEL led 16-13 at half-time.
Coach Sefton decided to make a tactical switch for the second-half, with Celine Gunaratnam replacing Megan Steel as Wing-Defence and the alternation initially paid dividends, as UEL scored four goals without reply to lead by a seven-goal margin at 21-14.
However, due to a combination of both fatigue and several misplaced passes, the hosts surrendered their lead as both sides were tied on 25-apiece, going into the final-quarter.
UEL initially started the final-quarter in the ascendancy, but after St. George’s levelled the scores at 28-all, the momentum was with the visitors, who led by three goals with just a few minutes left. A turn-over forced by Gunaratnam briefly inspired the hosts, who then scored three consecutive goals, courtesy of Sefton and Jones, to tie the scores.
The tie looked to be heading towards a stalemate, but after the hosts spurned another great chance from close-range, the away side made them rue their missed opportunity, scoring after a swift counter-attack in what was the last attack of the game, as the visitors triumphed 31-32.
Despite the manner in which they lost, Jones thought the side played well, suggesting that it was a close encounter and hinted that they need to improve their fitness.
“I think we did well as a team, I mean obviously the one goal difference, does show that we were not walked all over out there. It was an even game, it was tough, and they definitely worked us really hard. Fitness is definitely something we need to work on. We have got a few injuries in the team as well, which can always knock our confidence as such. It was disappointing but I think we did well as a team anyway,” she said.
The Blues travel to third-placed University College London next Wednesday to face their Fifth Team and asked how the side will be able to recover from the defeat, Coach Sefton said, “The only thing I am doing next week is ball skills, ball skills and ball skills. That is it, I do not really care because the errors that came from there today, I do not want to see again.”