DERWENT SECONDS 3 JAMES THIRDS 0
Derwent Seconds reignited their College Cup campaign with a comfortable win over James Thirds on a sun-kissed Astroturf this afternoon. Goals from Nana Sarpong, Ed Lacaille and James Mathews were more than enough against a James side missing some key midfield personnel and who entered the match playing a rather unorthodox 4-2-2-1-1 formation.
James had been unfortunate just over a week ago in losing by the same scoreline to an out-of-sorts Goodricke Firsts, but this defeat, which effectively ends any chances they had of reaching the Plate competition, will grate even more. All-too-often, the midfield pairs were unable to retain possession in physical confrontations, leaving Andy Yates, Tim Green and Jody Rolfe, the forward-orientated players, to sweat in the blazing sun without any reward.
From the off, Sarpong looked lively on the left flank and a well-executed shot from the edge of the box dipped narrowly over Toby Owen’s goal on the quarter hour. A few moments later, he scorched down the wing again, opting unselfishly but fatally to square the ball in the direction of Ed Lacaille, who failed to connect, rather than slotting home. However, on the cusp of half-time, he wouldn’t be denied: a terrific lobbed pass foxed the James defence and, with Owen stranded in No Man’s Land, Sarpong lofted the ball over his head for the opener.
A change of tactics strengthened James at half-time, and the later introductions of Adam Tzimas and Arran Bowen-la Grange offered further attacking outlets, but the flow of the match remained blue and black. Mathews had a sighter but sent a tame effort directly into Owen’s clutches before the lead was deservedly doubled – Lacaille rose highest to nod the ball home from a corner.
There was little optimism for James by this point, though Green, their best player, continued to show glimpses of his outfield talent and Tzimas did muster a shooting position, only to fire high and wide. Barnaby Francis did something similar at the other end but Derwent would not be denied and put the icing on the celebration cake with a last minute third – Mathews, poaching, was left with the simplest of finishes after the ball was deflected into his path a couple of metres in front of goal.
Derwent, who many considered unlucky to succumb by the odd goal to Wentworth Firsts last week, made amends with a routine win in energy-sapping conditions. James will hope to have their midfield nucleus back in action next Thursday when they take on Alcuin, the other seconds side in Group A.
Toby Owen, the James goalkeeper, manages to fist the ball away in his team’s 3-0 defeat to Derwent Seconds this afternoon. Photograph by Justyn Hardcastle.
Derwent Seconds: Roy Moore, Andy Jeffreys, Joe Boughtflower, Matt Worsfold, Barnaby Francis, John Pinkstone, Matt O’Connor, Nana Sarpong (James Beggs), Steve Miller, James Mathews, Ed Lacaille
Nouse Fantasy Football Man of the Match: Joe Boughtflower
James Thirds: Toby Owen, Lewis Wilkie, Ben Li, Ruari Phillips (Arran Bowen-la Grange), Nick St. George, Nathan McCusker, George Clarke, Jack Fisher, Andy Yates, Tim Green, Jody Rolfe (Adam Tzimas)
Nouse Fantasy Football Man of the Match: Ruari Phillips
GOODRICKE FIRSTS 3 ALCUIN SECONDS 0
A three-goal first-half blitz killed any hope Alcuin Seconds had of causing a College Cupset as Goodricke go rolling on with a second successive 3-0 victory. They seized control of Group A on Tuesday thanks to Ben Smith’s brace and a pearler from Sam Lewis, leaving a formality of a second period in which goalkeeper Ed Foster could work on his tan.
Alcuin were combative and will certainly cause many a lesser team difficulties, but they wilted here, stunned by Goodricke’s liquid football. Lewis set the ball rolling in the seventh minute, finding the top corner of David Ambrozejczyk’s net with a lovely curling shot which would have graced any match. He nearly doubled his personal tally shortly afterwards, but, after the ball had broken his way following some penalty box pinball, he tonked the ball over.
Alcuin’s Basim Al-Ahmadi was eye-catching, combining pace and a locker of tricks and flicks, and he was involved in releasing Thomas Gibby for their first real chance. Foster did enough to send the winger wide, but he teed up Alex Brown, only for the striker’s dipper to go over.
It would prove costly as this College Cup presentation became the Ben Smith show – his first was a hooked finish after Ambrozejczyk was left out of position and his second a crashing shot through a forest of legs when the goalkeeper could only punch meekly to his feet from a set-piece.
Alcuin’s best spell came immediately after the changearound but failed to deliver the goal which might have inspired some kind of Istanbul-style revival. Al-Ahmadi danced into half-a-yard of space, his shot forcing a parry round the upright from Foster, but, even with the rare occurrence of Josh ‘Tank’ Barker being sidelined with a bloodied nose, they couldn’t find a finish.
If anything, Goodricke could have added to their advantage – Eddie Silson, a substitute, raced through but was robbed of the ball by Ambrozejczyk before Dan York, who produced a Man of the Match performance at centre-back, got nostalgic for his usual midfield role and bustled forward about 30 yards to shoot wide. Barker, by this time back in the fray but anxiously clutching his sniffer, headed wide from a corner but Goodricke were home and hosed.
With another convincing win, Goodricke have one foot in the quarter-finals and, despite the lopsided scoreline, Alcuin showed enough to make their faithful assembled on the Astro believe they might just follow suit.
With goalkeeper David Ambrozejczyk helpless, Ben Smith fires the ball through a crowded penalty area for Goodricke’s third just before half-time. Photograph by Justyn Hardcastle.
Goodricke Firsts: Ed Foster, Niall Walsh, Danny Munro (Matt Whelan), Chris Grayland, Rob Shanley (Eddie Silson), Josh ‘Tank’ Barker, Adam Leadbeater, Sam Lewis, Dan York, Dave Coupland, Ben Smith
Nouse Fantasy Football Man of the Match: Dan York
Alcuin Seconds: David Ambrozejczyk, Simon Reiss, Bradley Wood, Jonathan Lane, Matthew Lang, Damian Pickard (Stefan Brambilla Hall), Gavin Hesketh, Thomas Gibby (Will Taylor), Paul Desoisa, Basim Al-Ahmadi, Alex Brown
Nouse Fantasy Football Man of the Match: Basim Al-Ahmadi