Good afternoon and welcome to The Oxford Student’s Varsity football coverage for 2013! I’m Alex Tyndall from here until about 7:30 Miles Dilworth and I will be taking you through this afternoon’s game with up-to-the-minute commentary, laceratingly insightful game analysis and the worst selection of jokes you’ll ever find that aren’t tenuously connected to penguins (If we’re as good as this we’ll be well pleased). We aren’t blessed with auto-refreshing so caress F5 or the refresh button to get the latest updates.
You can get involved yourselves by tweeting us @oxstusport, with the hashtag #varsityfootball, or by dropping us a comment in the box at the bottom of this page.
CAMBRIDGE WIN THE 2013 VARSITY FOOTBALL 3-2.
19.28 And that ties it all up for tonight’s coverage, with We Are the Champions predictably blaring out across the stadium. Don’t forget that tomorrow there’s the small matter of a boat race. We have Miles Dilworth interviewing members of the public and I’ll be liveblogging somewhat less live from the comfy warmth of my sitting room. Hope to be able to entertain you then. Thanks and good night.
19.26 Oxford go up for their runners-up medals. Wonder if they’ll do a Shevchenko and throw them away at the nearest opportunity? There’s no shame in being beaten by the better side, I’d say. But then I’m awful at most sports so can’t afford to be competitive.
19.23 That brings the record to 50-49 in Oxford’s favour. Cambridge are catching up… Trophy presentation to come in a couple of moments. The cup is actually quite tiny. Think the champagne looks a better deal.
19.20 And that’s the match for Cambridge. They utterly bossed the second half and fully merited the victory. No surprise that Rick Totten is named Man of the Match. He’s been unplayable in a Fernando Torres circa 2008 sort of way. Disappointment for Oxford but did they deserve any better? They got outplayed today, fair and square. It’s less painful than penalties, besides.
19.18 Oxford are persisting with a long-ball game as the seconds die. Given how composed Cambridge have been at the back I think they’re wasting their time.
19.15 Agonisingly close for the Dark Blues as they blast a succession of chances at the Cambridge defence. It comes to nothing and the Tabs break through Haitham Sherif. Moneke brings him down and I’d say he’s lucky to be on the pitch, he was the last defender.
19.13 Adam Healy comes on for Luke Devereux. Oxford’s last change, with a clearly offensive plan in mind. It’s their turn to be reaching for the kitchen sink as there’s five minutes left.
19.10 We enter the last ten minutes, Oxford are really struggling to find the goal they need. Solomon Elliott gets away without a booking after first a cynical foul on Edward Grimer and then kicking the ball away when the referee awarded the foul. Lucky, lucky boy.
19.08 A rare speculative effort from Oxford. The ball comes out in the centre to Luke Devereux, about thirty yards out, and he rifles a shot wide.
19.06 I reckon Rubenstein needs to come off. He’s getting schooled by Solomon Elliott. He duly gets substituted in favour of Edward Grimer. Me and the manager are clearly on the same page.
19.03 CLOSE! Ross Broadway nearly puts this game beyond Oxford, heading a cross from the right hand side just wide of the far post. If Oxford somehow engineer a comeback that could be crucial.
19.00 I’ve had no problems with Lee Probert so far but he’s just ignored a cynical foul on our own Julian Austin. To quote Sir Alex Ferguson, he’s lucky to be alive. Someone clearly just tried to take the ball off him. Oxford are dithering. There’s little discernible shape or plan.
18.58 I’d also like to add; “That…was a goal.” Oxford change the menu, Beck-Friis coming off for Sam Firman. Can I see it doing any good? I’m not sure, Oxford are going to have to be really careful that this doesn’t turn into a rout. Cambridge have had to bring off Tsuda for Patrick Grigg. I can only imagine that Tsuda’s injured becauase he’s been a sizeable pain in the backside for the Oxford defence.
18.54 JESUS CHRIST AND ALL HIS ASSORTED APOSTLES, FRIENDS, RELATIONS AND HANGERS-ON WHAT A STRIKE!!!!!!! OXFORD 2 – 3 CAMBRIDGE And it’s Rick Totten with his hat-trick scoring in a place he had absolutely no right to even attempt a shot. Wide on the right-hand side he tees it onto his left and curls it into the far bottom corner. Stand up and applaud the man.
18.50 Miles Dilworth weighs in, a veritable man-mountain of tactical sense; “This is resembling England versus Montenegro. Oxford are forgetting what possession feels like.” It’s difficult not to feel humbled or even ashamed next to such a virtuoso of the modern game. But don’t read his twitter feed on this. He may be good at tactics but he doesn’t seem to know any of the players from Adam.
18.48 GOAL! OXFORD 2 – 2 CAMBRIDGE Rick “Orange-boots” Totten makes it a brace as he picks up a fantastic through-ball from Ben Tsuda. He made a really tricky run between defenders, the kind Alan Hansen calls “sumply sensetionul” on Match of the Day in that slightly drunk accent of his. Game on. And absolutely deserved too, Cambridge have been assaulting the Oxford penalty box for a good ten minutes.
18.46 PENALTY APPEAL! Ben Tsuda falls down in the Oxford penalty area and gives the puppy eyes to Lee Probert, who looks about as impressed as Simon Cowell watching a toddler playing jingle bells on the xylophone.
18.43 Oxford make their first meaningful attack of this half, Fergus Kent running way out of his area to intercept Rubenstein. Adam Fellows delivers a corner that comes to no
18.40 The assistant referee closest to us has a rething. ally swaggery way of running. Looks like a harlequin crab trying to attract a female. I’ll post a video on the @oxstusport twitter feed if I get a moment.
18.38 …which Jamie Rutt floats over the bar. Cambridge definitely on the front foot, though.
18.37 We return to Rory-Delapping time, as Rick Totten hurls a fairly harmless ball at the Oxford penalty area. Oxford clear without worry, but Cambridge have a corner now…
18.34 Tactical analyst Miles Dilworth as we restart the game for the second half: “If Cambridge are still trailing at sixty minutes they’ll have to look into substitutions to help support Forde and Tsuda up front.” There’s nothing too much to worry about yet, I shouldn’t imagine. There are forty-five minutes to play and Cambridge trail by just one goal. Time to start throwing taps at Oxford, maybe, but definitely keep the kitchen sink for later. Sorry, it sounded funnier before I typed it.
18.30 I come back from my break expecting flurries of tweets and messages and all I have to show so far is a call from mum asking when I’m coming home tonight. I expected better, everyone. Cambridge are back out, their subs have been doing some warming up over the break. Aaaaaand…here come Oxford.
18.18 And that brings us casually to half time, with the score 2-1 in Oxford’s favour. Tactical analyst Miles Dilworth has this to say; “Cambridge had the better of the first twenty minutes. It was all a bit drab until the first goal. In the end Oxford deserved to be ahead at the end of the half.” Sound tactical stuff from Miles there. This game has just wriggled into life. Second half should be good. We’re going to have a break but we’ll be with you for the second half. In the meantime, why not get involved by using our comments section or checking out the @oxstusport twitter feed with the hashtag #varsityfootball. The best of your contributions will be paraded in front of the internet. Just don’t read Miles’ own tweets, bless him he’s having a bit of a nightmare.
18.17 Someone needs to have a word with Julian Austin about these long shots of his. He’s just hooked another one six feet wide. Bless him for trying but there’s got to be another way of scoring than that.
18.12 GOAL! OXFORD 2-1 CAMBRIDGE. Ezra Rubenstein decides to be really difficult and score an awesome goal just so I have to type his name out again. God, these footballers, eh? Oxford have a break, Beddows winning the ball in the Cambridge half, and the ball bobbles its way out to the right from where Rubenstein drills it along the floor and past the hapless Fergus Kent. That’s my prediction in tatters. But in a good way. This game finally has some zazz to it.
18.10 Ezra Rubenstein (who I hope to God doesn’t do much in this game so I don’t keep having to type his name) lays off a shot for Austin who takes a touch and blasts one with his right foot. Fergus Kent manfully steps up to the plate and saves it. Two minutes later, Austin has another crack and batters the advertising hoardings. It’s not massively impressive news for Oxford that they’re being limited to speculative long-range efforts. It’d have to be something really special from Austin to cause problems at that distance. 18.08 You have to say, Cambridge deserve no less than to be level in this contest. After that flurry of action everything has calmed down a tad. Probably the Sky Blues in control, though. Their passin is a little more patient and less rushed looking. they seem to have more of a plan.
18.04 GOAL! OXFORD 1-1 CAMBRIDGE Well that lead didn’t last too long. Tsuda delivers a through-ball from a free kick that finds Rick Totten, who gets his aforementioned Suarez on and nips a shot through Tom Haigh’s legs just on the right hand side. Should Haigh have done better? Probably.
17.58 GOAL! OXFORD 1-0 CAMBRIDGE And luckily for me it’s my two randomly picked dangermen who produce the goods. Donald whips in a free kick from the left and it meets the glossy ginger head of Julian Austin (with a name like that he should be in the Famous Five) who glances it into the far corner. Against the run of play? Maybe a tad, but it counts like any other goal.
17.54 Rick Totten gets his Suarez on, nipping into the penalty box right next to the byline and dinks a shot towards Haigh’s goal. He gathers it but that was worrying. At the moment Cambridge are making more with their possession and getting closer with every opportunity. In other news Luke Devereux has just received a telling off from Probert for a foul on Jamie Rutt. It resembled Simba getting told off by Mufasa. Only with football.
17.53 Anthony Beddows Rory-Delaps a throw into the Cambridge box, it gets juggled about a bit off Oxford heads and lollops clear.
17.51 This is starting to look a little worrying for the Dark Blues. Cambridge are taking hold of possession and playing a good passing game. Building patiently from the back. Luke Devereux, easily the smallest man on the pitch, is looking outmuscled by the Cambridge midfield.
17.47 BLOODY HELL Cambridge have a host of chances, blasting at the Oxford defence. Daniel Forde scampers down the left wing and delivers a cross that Tsuda batters goalwards. Oxford clear it. Just.
17.43 More from fashion analyst Miles Dilworth: “Both ‘keepers have turned up in the same kit. That’s embarrassing.” In other words, there’s not much going on in the game.
17.40 Cambridge’s first sniff of a chance as Ben Tsuda unleashes a fierce right-foot drive just outside the penalty box. It takes a deflection off Daniel Forde before Tom Haigh catches it cleanly. It’s still end-to-end stuff, nobody really has a foothold. All rather nervy.
17.37 Sam Donald whips it in and it goes behind off a Cambridge head for another. Cambridge eventually get it clear but not before Donald takes a bitty run at the Cambridge back line. Oxford starting the brighter, for now.
17.35 Lee Probert is our referee today. He hasn’t done anything rubbish yet. Hopefully it’ll stay that way. Oxford have a corner…
17.33 Oxford playing from right to left in the customary navy blue all over. Cambridge have the sky blue with white shorts and socks. First foray into the box goes the Dark Blues’ way but keeper Fergus Kent gobbles the ball up without too much fuss.
17.30 Kick-off. Sit back. Let the sport begin.
17.26 Teams are out. Four minutes left. Here. We. Go.
17.23 And we’ve got the motivational music blasting across the pitch. Excitement is… well it’s sort of alright. If we weren’t so damn cold I’m sure we’d be rocking in the stands. I suppose I’d better stick my neck out with predictions at some point. I had a chat with one of the Tabs’ reporters on the way here and it sounds like confidence is high in their camp. At risk of sounding like a traitor to my university I’m going to call it 2-1 Cambridge. I can only hope to be proven wrong.
17.20 Ten minutes until we kick off. It’s a little quiet in the stands but people are flowing in steadily. We’re all wrapped up pretty warm. It’s definitely not April weather. We should warn in advance that our internet connection here at Selhurst Park is temperamental at best. If Tom Haigh scores from a goal kick, chances are the network will collapse under the storm of NEWS, so apologies in advance if there are any problems.
17.13 Conditions here are clear with a few flurries of sleet hanging about every now and then. I’d rather be up in the press box than on the pitch. What can I tell you about the squads? Danger men for Oxford will be nos. 8 and 9 Julian Austin and Sam Donald, club captain. Austin scored in the colleges Cuppers final, an absolute BELTER of a strike with his right foot from 18 yards. For Cambridge notables are going to be Rick “[insert topical banter nickname here]” Totten, last year’s Man of the Match in spite of scoring an own goal, and Jamie Rutt, who is returning to the fray for his seventh football Blue today. However we must give an honourable mention to Ezra Rubenstein for having the best name of anyone on the pitch.
17.05 Fashion analyst Miles Dilworth on team kits:
“The Tabs’ kits look like their mums still do their laundry for them.” That’s how clean CUAFC are keeping their shorts. Someone stop Miles, he’s too incisively witty for his own good.
17.03 Aaaand, the teams are in:
Oxford (Returning Blues are in italics):
1. Thomas Haigh – St Peter’s
2. Daniel Bassett – Exeter
3. Adam Fellows – St Edmund Hall
4. Anthony Bedows – St Edmund Hall
5. Michael Moneke – Trinity
6. Mark Jamison – St Hugh’s
7. Ezra Rubenstein – Trinity
8. Julian Austin – Worcester
9. Sam Donald (Captain) – New
10. Peder Beck-Friis – Christ Church
11. Casey O’Brien – University
12. Luke Devereux – Worcester
13. Adam Healy – Worcester
14. Edward Grimer – Pembroke
15. Sam Firman – Mansfield
17. Benjamin Szreter – Wadham
1. Fergus Kent – Pembroke
2. Simon Court – Fitzwilliam
3. Solomon Elliott – Homerton
4. Anthony Childs – Homerton
5. Jamie Rutt – Trinity
6. James Day – Jesus
7. Richard Totten – Trinity
8. Ross Broadway (Captain) – Gonville and Caius
9. Haitham Sherif – Girton
10. Ben Tsuda – Selwyn
11. Daniel Forde – St John’s
12. Alex Coburn – Hughes Hall
14. George Hill – St Catharine’s
15. Patrick Grigg – King’s
16. Michael Smith – Trinity
17. Chris Hutton – Selwyn
We’ll start off with a little history, partly because there’s still ages until kick-off and I haven’t the faintest clue how to keep you all interested until that happens. Today’s is the 129th Varsity match, the first being in 1874. The tradition has only been interrupted for a couple of pesky world wars, making this one of the oldest matches in world football (the FA website says). Oxford have history on their side – just. The head-to-head stands at 50-48 to Oxford, with 30 fixtures drawn. That won’t happen today because I believe we now go to penalties if 90 minutes aren’t enough to decide a winner. Last year, Cambridge ended a three-year wait for a win, beating the Dark Blues 4-3 on penalties as the match finished 2-2 after normal time. Will Cambridge start a famous winning run, or can the Dark Blues stop the rot and reassert themselves as kings of Varsity football? There’s probably quite a few places to find out, but believe me this one’s the best.