ALCUIN FIRSTS 3 DERWENT FIRSTS 1
In the much-billed clash of the titans, Alcuin comfortably overcame Derwent 3-1 thanks in no small part to the long throws of full-back Jack Crane. Crane’s missiles led to two of Alcuin’s three goals and proved a constant menace to Derwent throughout the match. Derwent had found themselves in front through a goal from Ben Smith after a Nav Jabarkhyl effort had come back off the crossbar. Alcuin skipper Miles McDermott then calmly dispatched a controversial penalty to level arrears before a Dom Henney own goal and Dan Cox’s strike extended Alcuin’s advantage.
Derwent were less than impressed with the performance of referee Dave Coupland as they argued initially that the penalty shouldn’t have been awarded and then that no player had got a touch on Crane’s long throw before it crossed the line. Captain Matt Hallam said: “I don’t want to be too harsh on the ref but it was a shocking performance. It was obviously biased, every decision seemed to go their way”.
Derwent suffered a setback right before kick-off when star man Greg Gardner was ruled out of the game having suffered an injury to his ankle. Despite this they had the best of the opening exchanges and deserved to go 1-0 up. Jabarkhyl tried his luck from some distance and when the ball bounced down Ed Lacaille saw his follow up saved but Smith smashed home from close range. It had been a fair reflection on the opening minutes with Alcuin struggling to find their rhythm and Derwent causing their fair share of problems. Steve Walwyn, wide on the left, was proving to be particularly effective as Alcuin’s 4-3-3 formation often meant he was afforded plenty of time and space.
Miles McDermott strokes home the penalty to equalise for Alcuin on 18 minutes. Photograph by Justyn Hardcastle.
Despite Derwent’s pressing Alcuin soon found themselves back in the game. Joe Cooper was bundled over in the box and despite Derwent’s protestations the penalty was awarded. Hallam himself admitted it was a “needless” penalty to give away and his side were further punished when McDermott dispatched the spot kick in the bottom left corner of the net with the keeper sent the wrong way.
Crane then laid on the second of Alcuin’s three goals. In true Rory Delap fashion the ball was launched into the box and eventually found its way into the back of goalkeeper Dave Attwood’s net. Derwent seemed sure that the ball had not come of anyone but it was eventually credited as a Dom Henney own goal. Derwent had been rocked by the two goals they conceded and struggled to get themselves playing to the level they had early on in the game.
They did manage to test keeper Michael Wynd on occasion with a free-kick from Alex Cooper forcing a save from the man in the Alcuin net but as the half ended it was McDermott’s men who were in charge as firstly the captain himself played a fine through ball which Phil Bowers couldn’t quite latch on to, and then Parris Williams worked himself into some space only to see his attempt kept out by Attwood.
Udy Onwudike’s introduction at the break meant William’s effort on goal had been his last action of the game as Alcuin sought to build on their 2-1 lead. It was Hallam’s Derwent however that were on top early after the break. Smith was put through after a nice touch by the impressive Jabarkhyl, but his volley from the angle of the box was kept out by Wynd at his near post.
Derwent goalkeeper David Attwood clambers over his defenders to prevent Alcuin Man of the Match Jake Delaney getting his head to the ball. Photograph by Justyn Hardcastle.
Some good work from Chris Barnett and Walwyn created an opportunity for their skipper but Hallam’s shot just cleared the bar. A nice delivery from Alex Cooper almost saw Derwent draw level but the ball evaded everyone and just cleared the far post. With Derwent striving to equalise Alcuin struck the hammer blow of a third goal. Another Crane throw in found its way to Dan Cox who had the simple task of stabbing the ball home from close range, despite more protestations from Derwent who believed there had been a foul in the area.
Derwent didn’t give up and continued to push for a way back into the game but it proved to not be their day. They strived hard and were perhaps hard done by but the impressive Alcuin defence of Paul Reiss and Jake Delaney meant often they were reduced to long-range efforts. McDermott was happy with the win describing it as a “good battling performance” and praising his side’s “high levels of concentration”.
Hallam was less impressed with the result but refused to criticise his team’s performance: “It is never ideal for your best player to get injured five minutes before kick-off, everyone had their heads down and it was hard to lift them”. Nevertheless his side battled hard and will remain a formidable team to face in the tournament. On today’s performance though Alcuin have not only the talent, but also the mettle to repeat last year’s success.
Derwent’s Alex Cooper searches for blue and black shirts in a congested penalty area during his team’s 3-1 defeat on Thursday afternoon. Photograph by Maggie Aslet.
Alcuin Firsts: Michael Wynd, Jack Crane, Jake Delaney, Paul Reiss, Miles McDermott, Phil Bowers, Christy Cormac, Ali Laird (Matt Stopforth), Joe Cooper, Dan Cox, Parris Williams (Udy Onwudike)
Substitute (not used): Simon Reiss
Nouse Fantasy Football Man of the Match: Jake Delaney
Derwent Firsts: David Attwood, Nav Jabarkhyl, Ric Burne, Paul Ward-Jones (Matt O’Connor), Dom Henney, Steve Walwyn, Chris Barnett, Alex Cooper, Matt Hallam, Ben Smith, Ed Lacaille
Substitute (not used): Greg Gardner
Nouse Fantasy Football Man of the Match: Ric Burne
1pm Vanbrugh Seconds vs. Vanbrugh Thirds (rearranged from today)
2pm Goodricke Seconds vs. Derwent Thirds
3pm James Firsts vs. Halifax Seconds