Derwent prove too strong for James on opening day

Photograph by Justyn Hardcastle

Photograph by Justyn Hardcastle

DERWENT FIRSTS 3
JAMES FIRSTS 1

Sunday 25th October

Derwent have opened their college football season with a confident victory over a lacklustre James side, despite starting the game with just ten men.

James had opened brightly with winger Aquilino DeGirolamo cutting in from the left to fire just over after 11 minutes, an attempt that proved to be the best of a frenetic opening period. James didn’t manage to make their numerical advantage count as both teams struggled to control what was an increasingly scrappy game.

It was Derwent who played the better football and after late arrival Jamie Tyler gave them a full compliment they pressed home their dominance with a series of neat moves. Derwent were unlucky not to take the lead on 23 minutes after Alex Cooper flung himself at a deep cross only to see his header flicked against the post and out for a corner.

Their efforts were eventually to be rewarded on the half-hour mark as Ed Lacaille added the gloss to an impressive individual display, rising to glance home a John Pinkstone cross after typically assured build-up play. Derwent saw out the remainder of the first-half comfortably, although James should have made more of a free-kick in a good position shortly before half-time.

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Aquilino DeGirolamo tries to curl home a free-kick opportunity in this afternoon’s college football clash with Derwent. Photograph by Justyn Hardcastle.

James started the second half in the ascendancy after an accurate cross from right back Joseppi fell at the feet of an attacker, who forced a brilliant double save from goalkeeper Roy Moore. After a shaky start to the match, Moore grew in confidence and produced a string of impressive stops. Unfortunately the same cannot unfortunately be said of his opposite number who was found wanting just as his team were hauling themselves back into the match. He contributed to Derwent doubling their lead, flapping at an innocuous through ball which was flicked over his head by a James defender leaving Anton Murphy with a simple tap-in.

At two-nil the game looked all but over and James’ attack continued to underwhelm. They were,however, to nick a goal on 60 minutes after they were awarded a penalty. The incident that earned them it seemed relatively soft although just moments before they had had an appeal for a definite spot-kick turned down. Left back John Carroll, who had looked solid throughout, stepped up to slot home and give his side a way back into the match that they perhaps did not deserve.

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John Carroll slots home his penalty to put James back into the game at 2-1. Photograph by Justyn Hardcastle.

Despite this, aspirations toward a positive result faded quickly for James as Derwent reasserted themselves over their opponents. Although there was continued good work from winger DeGirolamo, James seemed toothless in attack and were not helped by another glaring error from their keeper. He led to their ultimate demise by parrying a speculative 25 shot from Alex Cooper into his own net on 69 minutes. Contentious circumstances surrounded the goal as there seemed to be a clear foul in the build-up on the James right back, a decision missed by a referee who had an inconsistent afternoon.

With their two goal cushion restored, Derwent remained solid for the rest of the match. Fatigue seemed to hit both teams, which is only to be expected for a season opener, and had a hand in a dour last quarter. For Derwent it was a job well done, but for James, despite all their individual promise, it seems improvement is needed.

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