BUCS Premier North
Durham University 1 Loughborough University 2 (att 45)
University football can be variable in standard, but the two regionalised top leagues, Premier North and Premier South, are well worth watching, and normally feature sides from institutions who specialise in elite sport.
Durham and Loughborough were battling it out in various sports today, and the Graham Sports Centre at Maiden Castle, just outside Durham, was a hive of sporting activity (which made finding a parking spot my first challenge).
Durham's footballers had a 100 per cent from their opening six games, but Loughborough gave fresh hope to those hoping to challenge them for the title by snatching a surprise win. They took a first half lead, then held firm in the face of increasing Durham pressure until late on.
Once the home side finally made it 1-1 they looked more likely to get the winner, but instead it was Loughborough who got a controversial, and decisive, second goal in the final minute.
As the ball went in the linesman raised his flag for offside, then changed his mind as the offside player hadn't touched the ball on its way into the net. Whether he'd impacted on the keeper's chances of saving it is another matter, and the outcome was harsh on Durham.
Overall it was a tight game between well-matched sides, but clear chances were few and far between. It was played on one of several artificial pitches at Maiden Castle, but with around 200 seats, uncovered, along the touchline it's quite a good ground for this type of game.