By Riegan Thompson

UCFB Etihad Campus Men’s 1st 3-2 Lancaster

Belle Vue, Manchester, 15/02/2017

Unbeaten Lancaster traveled to third placed UCFB high in confidence having already secured the league title.

Manager Ryan Charalambous expressed his and the team’s desire pre-match to bounce back from the 1-0 loss at UCLAN last week. Before the game he said “We see this as a game where we have nothing to lose, they’re top of the league and flying high. We’re going for it today, playing an attacking 4-3-3, Christian (Kony, assistant manager) and I are winners and we want to win.”

The manager’s pre-match comments clearly had an impact on his players as they flew out of the blocks and incredibly scored after just eight seconds through Bobby Hamza. Brendan Lilley played a lofted ball over the top for Hamza to run on to and lift over the advancing Lancaster keeper.

It didn’t take long for the champions to draw level though. Neat wing play from Joe Moran down the right hand side allowed him to cross for Carl Airey to finish at the back post.

On the half hour mark, Kayode Adewele was fouled while trying to get his shot away and won a penalty for UCFB. Captain Tom Divver took responsibility from the spot and confidently sent the goalkeeper the wrong way to make it 2-1.

The visitors were desperate to keep their unbeaten record intact and could have been level had striker Nathan Omraet-Wells made contact from four yards out.

However, it was UCFB who stormed into a 3-1 lead. Winger Hamza cut inside and beat three defenders before bending his shot into the far post from 20 yards out.

Harry Heptonstall pulled one back almost instantly for the visitors with a fierce strike from the edge of the area before the interval.

In a second half of few chances, Charalambous replaced West and Hamza with Harry O’Brien and Luke Tettersall respectively. The change gave UCFB a much needed target up front through O’Brien as they came under increased pressure from Lancaster.

In the last five minutes Will Brown’s goal came under a barrage of crosses but UCFB held firm and inflicted Lancaster’s first defeat of the season.

After the game, triumphant right-back Paolo Prioglio said: “This is just a starting point. In training we are adding things to perform better each week. Ryan and Christian work on concepts and their style of play, and these are the most important things for them. It’s only my second game as a right back so I just do as the gaffer says. I’m really happy with how I played.”

Assistant manager Kony added: “It’s a really good result because the lads have worked so well in training and we wanted to win today because we have big ambitions for next year and it prepares us for that. We want to win the league next year.”

He added “The tempo was high and the plan worked. In the second half we switched to three at the back to stay compact and secure the result.”

On his and Ryan’s future he said “If UCFB continue to let us work how we want to work then I am confident on winning many league titles.”

TEAMS:

UCFB: 1. Will Brown, 2. Paolo Prioglio, 3. Ben Herriman, 4. Luis Embleton, 5. Mike Flannery,  6. Tom Divver (C), 7. Mark West, 8. Bobby Hamza, 9. Kayode West, 10. Brendan Lilley, 11. Lucas Ashcuber. SUBS: 12. Harry O’Brien, 13. Luke Tettersell, 14. Jack Harrison, 17. George Sofroniou

Lancaster: 23. George Stopinski, 2. Dan Kommu, 3. Callum Ross, 4. Robbie Kennedy 5. Sam Armstrong, 6 Ben Robson Barker, 7. Joe Moran, 9. Nathan Onraet-Wells, 11. Luke Williams, 15. Harry Heptonstall SUBS: 12. Dan Twinning, 14. Theo Campbell

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