Scholars Start New Year with 3 Points

Joel Bonner's 74th Minute header was the winning goal in a tight game between the Scholars and Stourport Swifts.

Loughborough University produced a resolute display at home to claim a 3-2 victory over Stourport Swifts.

Club photographer Adam Wesson was required to run the line after the referee went down injured in the 25th minute.

After defeat on Boxing day against local rivals Quorn, loughborough University were hoping to get back to winning ways with their first game at home since the 8th December. However, a slow start saw Stourport take the lead with only 6 minutes on the clock. The Scholars looked for a quick response which nearly came 3 minutes later when great build up play between Dasaolu and Slack saw the latter drill a low cross into the box only for the ball to evade the outstretched leg of Matthew Olapo a few yards out.

This opportunity saw the students progress into the game with more opportunities coming. The closest chance being a Matty Crookes freekick on 15 minutes that just sailed over the Stouport bar.

The next major event of the game saw a delay when the referee went down injured 25 minutes into the game. After a discussion with the officials and managers of both teams, an announcement was made for a qualified volunteer linesman. From this club photographer Adam Wesson stepped in to save the day allowing the game to continue.

After the unexpected break the game got back under away with both sides taking a while to get going again it took until the 40th minute for a clear chance when a Stouport freekick on the edge of the area grazed the top of the students bar. Only 4 minutes had passed when the Scholars were let off again when a sloppy pass from Loughborough put the Stourport striker though on goal with only Hobbs to beat, with the forward rounding Hobbs only a great recovery from right back Charlie Lewis prevented the swifts taking a 0-2 lead.

With Stourport not taking the chances to double their lead Loughborough started to kick into action again with Matthew Olapo's shot blocked on 45 minutes after a good exchange between Dasaolu and Smith. Due to the referee injury in the first half 6 minutes were added and it was in the 5th added minute that the scholars got their equaliser. With Dasaolu dribbling his way through the stourport defence despite being fouled numerous times he managed to set up Slack who's cross found Charlie Lewis whose effort was then blocked only for the rebound to be slotted home cooly by Connor Smith to make it 1-1.

With the scholars boosted by the late equaliser in the first half it only took 5 minutes of the second for Connor Smith to get his second of the game when a quick counter attack saw the ball fall to Smith in the six yard box who tucked it away to make it 2-1.

Although now behind Stourport continued to play positively and caused problems for the university's defence. In the 55th minute Joel Bonner was required to make his first important clearance of the day. A lofted corner from stourport was met well at the back post but Bonner was in the right place at the right time to clear away. Bonner was again involved 7 minutes later when Stourport's forward found space in the box but just before he had time to shoot Bonner had intervened again.

Loughborough were starting to come under sustained pressure as Stourport looked for their equaliser with another chance coming in the 65th minute when a low driven shot was saved well by Hobbs down to his left hand side.

The sustained pressure required the students to make the most of their visits into the Stourport half. In the 68th a powerful run from Dasaolu saw him beat 3 players before he was chopped down inches outside the penalty box. The resulting freekick although on target did not trouble the visitors keeeper.

With the defence holding firm the scholars did make the most of their next opportunity when in the 74th minute a corner into the back post was headed home by the impressive Bonner to put the score at 3-1.

Despite extending their lead it was soon cut back down to 1 when in 79th minute a scrappy goal beat Hobbs just inside the right hand post to make it 3-2. With 10 minutes to go Loughborough were put under pressure with set pieces and long balls in behind. As with much of the second half the scholars defended well especially in the 90th minute when two dangerous balls were played into the box, the first expertly headed away by Ryan Burt-Allen and the second scrambled away again by the scholars centre half Joel Bonner.

This saw the last action on the half and the students held on to the 3 points to push back up the league.

Line Ups:

George Hobbs, Charlie Lewis (Ryan Burt-Allen 88), Jordan Slack, Jordan Connor (Dan Hanson 78), Joel Bonner, Jacob Croud, Matty Olapo, Ben Last, Matty Crookes (C), Connor Smith, Jerimiah Dasaolu (Kel Akpobire 71). 

Unused Subs: Jake Hilton & Jay Galloway