Despite the threat of Storm Barney, and rumours flying round the bus of the roof having been blown off of the Nottingham changing room roof, Cambridge arrived in Nottingham to surprisingly calm and dry conditions, in plenty of time to warm up. Dwarfed in numbers by the 18 men that Nottingham had on the sidelines, it was emphasised that we were all about ‘Quality over Quantity’.
The game started evenly, with both keepers tested early, and it was Nottingham to draw first blood, a fast break finding gaps in the Cambridge defence. Cambridge hit back, with goals from Matt Johnson and Krin Müskens putting us into the lead, only to be pegged back before the end of the first quarter. 2-2. The second quarter started steadily, with Cambridge patient in possession, knowing that fitness would become an issue having only 10 players at the game. Cambridge went in front through Matt Coley, but struggled to make more of an impact. Time out called, and after a breather and a chance to reset, Cambridge went flying out of the blocks, putting 3 quick goals past an ever more frustrated Nottingham ‘keeper, Baddoo (2) and Müskens getting the goals. 6-2 at half time.
At half time, it would seem Nottingham were rattled, but they came flying out of the blocks in the second half, putting pressure on the inexperienced Cambridge defence. A couple of quick Nottingham goals breathed life into their attack, belief growing with every second. It took another time out, and a well worked Matt Johnson goal to take the pressure off a bit, but continuous Nottingham pressure led to a third goal for them, and going into the final quarter the score was 7-5 to Cambridge.
It was to be perhaps a closer game than Cambridge had wanted, with an intense final quarter played at a fast pace, with keeper Cummings making a few saves while the defence held off the pressure well. Nottingham finally broke the deadlock to get within 1 goal of Cambridge, but up stepped Matt Johnson to pull us 2 clear again. The final minutes were tense, and Nottingham pulled what was to be a final goal back after a number of close range saves from Cummings. Solid defence held out for the final minutes, leaving Cambridge with an 8-7 win, making it 5 wins out of 5 so far for us. Special mention goes to Justin Lidiard Phillips and Ed Chalklen who despite only having been playing for a few weeks performed excellently, and to Matt Johnson who ended with 3 important goals. A cracking birthday present for Oli Jenkins, who also had a cracking game.
Final score Nottingham 7 – 8 Cambridge
Johnson – 3
Müskens – 2
Baddoo – 2
Coley – 1