UWE Bristol’s women could only draw in their final game of the season, as they met Exeter’s second team in a highly controversial game.
The hosts started brightly, with Molly Beaumont testing the Exeter keeper from long range. Moments later, a great move from the UWE Bristol right flank almost resulted in a goal, but Weronika Jozefowska’s shot was dealt with by the keeper. She had another chance a few minutes later, but her shot was fired directly at the Exeter goalkeeper.
Thankfully, it was third-time lucky for Jozefowska. After an intelligent move in midfield, she received the ball on the edge of the box, before beautifully looping her hardest chance of the game over the visiting keeper’s head.
UWE Bristol came close to doubling their advantage shortly after, when captain Alva Lang headed over the crossbar from a corner. The hosts’ dominance continued, as Weronika forced a great diving save from the keeper after a pinpoint through ball from Rebecca Harris.
Throughout the first half, several of UWE Bristol’s attacks were cut short by offside calls from the Exeter linesman. Some of which looked extremely debatable, with UWE Bristol’s coach questioning them. This forced them to rely on a shorter-passing play, to avoid any further contentious calls.
The visitors struggled to get anything going offensively; UWE Bristol’s Annesha Bashal continued to make several tackles and interceptions before Exeter could come close to turning possession into opportunities. Exeter had their first half-chance moments before half-time. After a foul midway between the half-way line and the penalty area, the visiting forward struck an audacious free kick, which dipped narrowly over the crossbar.
Into the second half, and the visitors finally managed to create some big opportunities. Firstly, a dangerous through ball was met with a shot which went narrowly wide. UWE Bristol keeper Zoe Stubbs then came out to clear the ball, but her clearance went straight to a wide-open Exeter player. Her shot was fired towards goal, but Stubbs managed to make a miraculous save to deny them.
UWE Bristol continued to look for their second, and with it some breathing space. This looked almost guaranteed until an extremely late offside call overturned it. As a free kick was delivered into the area, the ball took a huge deflection, finding captain Alva Lang who struck it into the back of the net. The Exeter lineswoman felt that she was in an offside position, but the deflection clearly came off an Exeter defender, meaning UWE Bristol had been wrongly denied a second.
In a cruel twist of fate, Exeter found their equaliser deep into added time. A dangerous through ball was played beyond the UWE Bristol back-line, Zoe Stubbs ran out to clear it, but was narrowly beaten to the ball by the Exeter forward, who slotted the ball into an open net to level the score.
This would prove to be the final opportunity of the game, as the referee blew the final whistle moments later. The game finished 1-1, despite UWE Bristol’s dominance in possession. Things became heated after the game when Bashal went over to the referee to question several contentious decisions after the game, but unfortunately the damage had been done. This was UWE Bristol’s final BUCS game of the season. The side finish in 4th place in the division, safe from relegation after Southampton’s loss elsewhere.