Manchester are now all-but guaranteed Northern 1A football in 2019
In his darker moments, Guy Debord foresaw a future in which the authentic would be completely replaced with the spectacular. So he would have been pleasantly surprised with the university footballers on Wednesday night, where the former was abundantly present at the expense of the latter.
Manchester played out a 0-0 draw with Sheffield and gave a big boost to their survival hopes at the Armitage Centre. A win against Leeds Beckett on March 15th would see them finish a respectable 3rd in the six-team table. This context the majority of the spectators were unaware of, leading to some bemusement at the final whistle, at which the celebrations of the Manchester footballers were poignantly dissonant with the game they comprised half of.
Manchester, playing in the traditional UKIP colours, were the brighter of the two sides, both technically and physically stronger. They attacked predominantly down the right,  and  creating what few chances there were in the first half.
Sheffield should have gone into the break a goal up when their right-back played a long ball that beat the Manchester centre-halves for height — in itself nothing to worry about, except when you are simultaneously beaten for pace by the opposition front line. Sheffield’s #7 thought he’d made the breakthrough when he poked the ball past , only to be denied on the line by .
Even though the audience was generally unaware of its wider significance, there was an undeniable hint of tension throughout the second half. The full-backs put it through to captain [?] in the middle, who spread it to either wing, where the ball would ricochet about until reaching , by a distance the most dazzling player on the pitch, playing to a step three standard in what was closer to a step five match.
And yet, despite the heavy lifting, Manchester were unable to get a shot away. Their satisfaction with the point, which means they need only avoid heavy defeat next Wednesday to stay in Northern 1A, coupled with Sheffield’s heavy legs, meant the game became a turgid midfield battle. Cheers were raised only occasionally and exclusively at a mishap, [captain]’s dithering in the centre circle providing a few chuckles.
There is only so much a humble match reporter can squeeze out of a frankly bloodless stone. The fun is to be had in the live experience, which cannot be conveyed in print. I therefore urge you to take yourself down to the Armitage Centre this Wednesday, just two steps from Squirrels, and sample some free sport from the university’s finest.