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FOOTBALL - Stunning Victory for the Blues

The Blues went into their 4th league game of the season sitting bottom of the table having picked up only one point from their opening three fixtures. You could be forgiven for thinking that the Blues might struggle against the team who sit top of the league, with five wins out of five and no goals conceded, including a 2-0 victory against Cambridge earlier in the season. However, those within the Cambridge camp were quietly confident that they could cause Hartpury problems and knew that if they stayed in shape they would be very difficult to break down. Some morning showers put the game in doubt but, with a slight delay to kick off, the Fenner's groundsman delivered the pristine playing surface that Fenner's is known for.

Cambridge exploded out of the blocks and didn't give the visitors any time to settle. An early goal was fully deserved and came after a long distance strike from Blues captain Anthony Childs cannoned off the crossbar. The keeper did well to save Chis Hutton's follow up but Haitham Sherif was the next to react and finished into an empty net. The lead was soon doubled when the Blues strikers put the Hartpury defenders under pressure. Sherif stole the ball from the centre half and played a pin point cross onto the head of the arriving midfielder, James May, who finished with aplomb.

Two quick fire goals had shocked the visitors into action and they began to assert themselves onto the game. While they certainly had more possession than the home team, they didn't look like breaking the Blues down. The Cambridge central defenders Rich Wolstenhulme and Mike Smith did particularly well in nullifying the threat of the lively forward.

Hartpury did find a way back into the contest when a long diagonal just eluded the Cambridge right back and the opposing left winger took a great touch and produced a finish that gave Tom Haigh in goal no chance.

Both teams had chances that looked easier to score than miss in the remainder of the half, but Cambridge deserved their 2-1 half time lead.

This was the second week running that Cambridge had come in at half time with a 2-1 lead, if the Blues matched their first half display they would certainly have a shot at taking all 3 points. Cambridge started the second half in similar fashion to the first and were looking dangerous every time they broke. On one occasion the Hartpury defender did well to make a tackle in his own area and gave away a corner. A penalty was awarded from the resulting corner when centre half Mike Smith had his shirt pulled. Childs stepped up and calmly slotted it away into the bottom right corner.

At 3-1 the Blues were guilty of letting their foot off the pedal and inviting pressure onto the back four. It was only a matter of time before Hartpury got another goal of their own. Unfortunately for the Blues, when it did come another one soon followed and the scores were level at 3-3 with 10 minutes to go. Cambridge were determined to not allow a repeat of last week and pushed forward once more looking for a winner. The front four had caused problems for the visitors defence all afternoon, so it was fitting that the winner came when winger Daniel Forde beat his man and unleashed an unstoppable shot into the top corner from the edge of the area. Hartpury piled men forward in the last few minutes but Cambridge dealt with everything that was thrown at them and the final whistle blew to confirm a famous victory for the Blues.

It was Cambridge's first win of the season and a result that will make the rest of the teams in the league stand up and take notice. The 3 points move the Blues off the bottom of the table and give them confidence as they head to Bath for their next match. A special mention should be given for manager Jez George who's tactical awareness on the sideline was pivotal in the undoing of the league leaders and it was clear to see how he has instilled a new style of football at the club.

Rory Griffiths did superbly to deputise at full back and with several key men missing it is clear that the Blues have the required strength in depth to compete in the BUCS Premier Division.