VANBRUGH THIRDS 1-2 HALIFAX FIRSTS
Images: Luke Sandford
In the group of death, Halifax firsts made sure they were not dumped out of the Cup at the first stage with a 2-1 victory over Vanbrugh thirds. In truth, the victory margin could have been greater had Halifax been more clinical in front of goal.
The match was an open affair from start to finish but Halifax were the much more potent threat. They took the lead early on in the match when a Hamish Denham long throw was not dealt with by the Vanbrugh defence. The ball fell to Tom Day who knocked the ball back across goal to Jack Beadle who was able to flick the ball towards goal and score with the help of a deflection.
After the opening goal, Vanbrugh really came back into the game. They won a free kick which James Robinson fired towards goal forcing a fine save from ‘Fax goalkeeper Jonny Sim. From the resulting corner, the equaliser was scored thanks to Chris Mason who shot through a crowd of players leaving Sim unsighted and helpless to make a save.
With the score at 1-1, Vanbrugh seemed to go back to a more defensive minded style of play which proved not to be the correct strategy. They invited Halifax pressure and with Tom Day and Matt Mawdesley particularly impressive, a Halifax goal seemed to be the only likely outcome.
Sure enough, the goal came on the stroke of half time as Halifax won a corner. Alex Reid took a corner which found an unmarked Matt Mawdesley who powered his header straight past a stranded Kallum Taylor in the Vanbrugh goal. The referee blew for half time with Halifax leading 2-1.
The second half saw Halifax control proceedings, keeping possession whenever possible with Ash Daly in the unfamiliar right back position proving a real outlet. Matt Darling on the left was also seeing plenty of the ball and Vanbrugh couldn’t decide whether to stick or twist.
Vanbrugh did look threatening on the break at times but they were unable to create anything clear cut. Their best opportunities came from set pieces or long shots from the likes of Johnny Grout and substitute Adam Lewis.
The Halifax onslaught was constant; Gio Pilides curled a free kick just wide of goal while Tom Day had two great chances after fine individual play but failed to connect with either finish as he would have hoped. Dan Jones hit a volley into the side netting before Mawdesley missed a free header from an Ash Daly corner.
The best chance to seal the game though fell to Halifax substitute Elliot Ragan who showed his sprinting ability to stride past Vanbrugh co-captain Mark Lajca. Kallum Taylor came rushing out of goal and Ragan lifted the ball over the keeper only for the ball to go flying over the crossbar.
Soon after the full time whistle sounded and Halifax knew they had qualified for the quarter finals of the Cup. Vanbrugh thirds will now have to settle for the Plate competition despite their excellent effort in Group Three picking up nine points and finishing in third place.
After the match, Vanbrugh co-captains Mark Lajca and Mike Sutcliffe stated that there ‘was no shame in losing to the College Cup winners of last year 2-1. We worried them at times, gave one hundred percent and have performed above what thirds teams are expected to do.’
Meanwhile, Jack Beadle, the Halifax captain stated; ‘I am very happy with the performance. We played with confidence and as a team and now look forward to the knockout stages.’ Halifax will now be looking to replicate their form from this time last year and go on to lift the College Cup.
Vanbrugh: Taylor, Lajca (c), Habeck, Frobisher, Howell, Barnard (Lewis), Grout, Knight (Connolly), Robinson, Mason, Priest
Man of the Match: Chris Mason
Halifax: Sim, Daly, Turley, Patrickson, Darling, Beadle (c) (Ragan), Pilides, Mawdesley, Reid (Jones), Day, Denham
Man of the Match: Matt Darling