EUAFC celebrate the goal.

Varsity Fight Back

Last night saw the return of Football Varsity to Exeter City’s ground St James’ Park. The big occasion for EUAFC was unfortunately cancelled last year but with the backing of the University and the Athletic Union, all was set for a good night of football.

The newly branded Best of the South West Derby was in aid of two worthwhile charities, the Cardiomyopathy Association and Exeter City’s Football in the Community.

The 7pm kick off was a change from previous years and 20 minutes from the start it look set for the ground to be empty whilst the game was played. However the turnstiles soon got turning as St James’s Park welcomed around 2000 students all at once.  The ground began to fill and the supporters were welcomed by the lovely Exeter Emeralds who performed a routine from there stunt squad.

The game kicked off and Exeter started well. A spell of possession however was short lived as Bath managed to steal the ball deep in the Exeter half only to have the shot turned away by the crossbar.

It was Bath who grew into the game though and much of the momentum was going their way. Some good passing and attacking threat was soon rewarded by a goal in the 20th minute. Bath number 8 fed the ball into the box and a cut back cross was finished of nicely by the Bath striker. The celebration not going down well in front of the home crowd.

After the goal it was much of the same story with Bath retaining the majority of the possession and piling the pressure on the Exeter defence. A number of good saves from Exeter’s Ben Pyror made sure that the game was still up for grabs. Eventually the pressure was just too much for the Exeter team and Bath were rewarded with another goal. A neat step over from the Bath striker left the Exeter defence guessing before slotting the ball across the box to his teammate for the easy tap in. This brought an end to the half.

After some stern words from Exeter’s manager Neil Saunders, the boys came out a completely different set of players.

They started well enjoying some lengthy spells on the ball but lack of execution in the final third of the pitch was proving costly for EUAFC. It was time to make a change, reinforcements from Exeter’s bench were introduce to proceeding and it proved to be just the change needed for Exeter.

The breakthrough came in the 79th minute of the match. A sloppy clearance from Bath was pounced on by substitute Luke Barner after a well weighted flick on from Ben Mogg. Barner’s ball across the box looked almost set to be wasted had it not been for left back Ben Witherek who came charging in to deliver a bottom corner shot Zlatan would have been proud of and finally giving the home crowd something to cheer about.

After a quick celebration with the supporters club Bath restarted and once again it was Exeter who were putting pressure on the Bath players. Bath seemed to be sitting back and clearing the ball at any opportunity. A clearance from a Bath throw-in saw the ball land in Louis Bouwers feet who played a clever little chip over the top which resulted in an Exeter corner. This was it, Exeter’s last chance to salvage something. A well worked corner straight out of the training ground saw substitute Luke Barner header the ball into the top right corner of the net.

Thanks to everyone who attended the game and made it such a success.

Find out about other fixtures in our varsity series.

Watch the full video here.


For more information about this story contact Chris Doody.

Exeter named UK’s top university for sport
The University of Exeter has been named as the Times and Sunday Times Sports University of the Year 2016, in recognition of excellence in sports performance, education and research.
The award acknowledges Exeter as the best in the country in academia and athletic achievement across a wide range of sports. It takes into account the University’s outstanding support for athletes, very high student satisfaction in sport-related programmes and world-leading research which enhances athletic performance at all levels.

Date: 30 October 2015