Loughborough Shock Exeter In Aldi Men's National Championship
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Loughborough Shock Exeter In Aldi Men's National Championship

Seth Nobes February 21, 2023

The Aldi Men’s National Championship is underway, with the first round seeing eight teams begin their campaign to attempt to be crowned the 2022/23 BUCS men’s football champions.

The teams who finished first and second in the BUCS Aldi Men’s Premier North and South were given a bye to the quarter finals, with the teams who finished between third and sixth taking to the field.

Round one had everything you could have wanted in a cup competition – a fair sprinkling of both thrashings and tight games, and a shock result.

Loughborough cause upset on trip to Devon

It is safe to say that Loughborough have struggled a great deal during their 2022/23 season.

They ended their Premier North campaign bottom, and now face a play-off to try to secure their place in the top tier of university football for another season.

They only earned two wins out of their ten league matches, and found the back of the net on 17 occasions, which was the lowest total in their league.

In comparison, Exeter were the best of the rest in the Premier South, finishing in third place with five wins, and boasting the joint-second best defence in the league, with their goalkeeper only being beaten 11 times.

A lot of people would have been right to expect a straight-forward victory for Exeter, but Loughborough were able to produce the shock of the first round with a 2-0 victory.

Loughborough now face another tough task in the quarter-finals when they go up against Newcastle, who finished second in the Premier North.

The two games between the sides in the league did not disappoint, with Loughborough earning a dominant 5-2 victory in late October, with Newcastle returning the favour with a 4-2 win in the reverse fixture.

Nottingham Trent progress in Aldi Men’s National Championship after seven-goal thriller

Despite Loughborough causing an upset, the most exciting game of round one took place in South Wales, where the University of South Wales took on Nottingham Trent.

This clash saw the team who finished fourth in the Premier South go up against the side who ended fifth in the Premier North.

USW came into the match as favourites, given they had four victories to their name throughout the ten-game league season; double the amount that Nottingham Trent managed.

Despite this, the teams went toe-to-toe at every point throughout the match, and served up an instant classic with seven goals in the match. A 4-3 victory went the way of the away side, who will now face Stirling in the quarter-finals.

Durham and Nottingham ease into quarter-finals

East London endured a torrid season, with only one win in ten attempts in the league. Their wretched form continued when they travelled to Nottingham, who had little trouble in securing safe passage with a 4-0 victory.

It was five of the best for Durham in their round one fixture against Swansea, as their dominant victory earned the side a 5-0 win. The amount of goals will please the team, given they only averaged two per game in the league.

Nottingham, who finished third in the Premier North, will play Hartpury in the quarter finals, the second-placed side in the Premier South. Durham, the side below Nottingham, travel to the Premier South’s top team, Bath.

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Seth Nobes is a freelance writer for Freshered, focusing on university sport. He is currently studying for an MA in Sports Journalism, as well as the NCTJ diploma, at St Mary's University, Twickenham after graduating with a BA (Hons) in History from the University of Birmingham. Seth is also an editor for the Sports Gazette, with a keen focus on cricket. He has written and commentated on a wide variety of sports, ranging from football and rugby, to sailing and judo, for publications such as Vavel, Deep Extra Cover, Burn FM, and Redbrick. He is also a long-suffering Watford fan, for his sins.