ALCUIN THIRDS 0-1 VANBRUGH THIRDS
Images: Hoagy Davis-Digges
Vanbrugh Thirds continued to defy the doubters today on the JLD, maintaining their 100% record at the expense of their Alcuin counterparts. It was a close encounter, with Alcuin maintaining a stubborn defence against their opponents, only yielding in the dying moments after Johnny Grout’s long range effort was deflected in.
Vanbrugh now top the table, and have stamped their ground as genuine contenders for qualification. Meanwhile Alcuin, despite their gutsy performances to date, are surely looking at elimination from the competition.
The first half saw a real balance to proceedings, a nervy start between two teams of similar standard. Callum Priest fired an early half volley close over the bar, whilst Alcuin’s Luca Nazzicone found himself through on goal. His spectacular attempt at a half volley, however, saw him flat on his back on the astro-turf, with the ball dribbling harmlessly to Kallum Taylor.
Nazzicone showcased a God-given talent to overbalance and find the floor throughout the half. Comparisons to an uncertain baby deer are not unfounded.
Both sides knocked free-kicks over the bar before the end of the half, which ended goalless. Chances were extremely sparse, with neither team showing the guile necessary to unlock their opponents.
Vanbrugh appeared to wake from their slumber early in the second half, showing much more attacking intent. They also shifted to a 4-3-3 to find that ever-elusive goal. Still, there were few clear chances, the first part of the half only featuring the one effort. The usually clinical Charlie Frobisher fired a half volley straight at stand-in keeper Matt Barlow.
Finally, a goalkeeper was being regularly tested. Chris Mason looped a header at goal from close range. It looked to be already in, but Barlow somehow tipped it over, a superb reaction save. Seb Knight then headed on goal, and again Barlow was equal to the effort, palming brilliantly onto the bar.
Vanbrugh were looking the most likely to score, but with every passing minute, it seemed victory would elude them. In the final moments, Johnny Grout made himself a hero. On his return to the Vanbrugh fold after a year abroad, he fired in from distance. The ball took two deflections, completely wrong-footing the Alcuin keeper and trickling into the net, securing another Vanbrugh win at the death.
Vanbrugh co-captains Mark Lajca and Mike Sutcliffe were delighted with another victory, stating ‘The goal was a long time coming. It was a tough game, all credit goes to Alcuin for their defence. We deserved the result in the end. Nine points from nine, it’s absolutely unbelievable.’
Their Alcuin counterpart Jon Carney was pleased with the resolve his team showed, telling Nouse ‘We defended heroically throughout, they really piled the pressure on in the second half. Their goal was devastating, a double deflection. It was so unlucky.’
Alcuin: Barlow, Hesselgren, Carney (C), Brickwood, Taube, Simpson, Hadley, Shine (Thurloway), Taptas, Nazzicone, Arden
Man of the Match: Matt Barlow
Vanbrugh: Taylor, Barnard, Lajca (C), Habeck, Frobisher, Grout, Knight, Fisher (Connolly), Robinson (Mason), Poynter-Hall, Priest
Man of the Match: Chris Mason