ALCUIN 2–7 JAMES
Despite Alcuin taking an early lead, James ran rampant and dominated the rest of the game on a blistery 3G pitch. They pulled the score back to 3-1 at half time and they carried their form in the second half, claiming their second 7-2 win of the season.
Alcuin, surprisingly, came out of the blocks the quickest. They made the best of the first chance of the game early in the half; good play by Graham Kimber released Chris Houlgate down the right, who raced down to the by-line and pulled the ball across the box for Danny Matthews to tuck away.
James continued to apply pressure to the Alcuin defence and after 20 minutes they finally cracked after conceding two goals in two minutes. A deep free kick from the right, taken by James Davies, found the head of centre-back Ralph Gill, powering it past a helpless David Marshall in the Alcuin goal.
A minute later James took the lead when Davies darted into the box and was brought down by Houlgate. Referee Dylan Chambers rightly called for a penalty and Taylor stepped up to smash the ball into the top right corner.
Alcuin were now penned into their own half, often relying on the play of James Homer and skill of Kimber to attack James on the break. Kimber was also finding the pacey Danny Matthews but on two occasions he was unlucky not to find the target.
As half time approached, Alcuin made an attempt to play some quick passing football and they looked like they may find a way back into the game. However, James’ right-winger, Briars, cruelly ended Alcuin’s hope for a comeback as he broke down the right side of the penalty area and fired off a shot; keeper Marshall did get something on the shot but he couldn’t do enough to deflect away from goal and the ball bounced over the line.
James carried on much the same in the second half – the Alcuin defence struggled to deal with the diagonal runs across them by Freddie Ferrao, who was pivotal in setting up the fourth goal.
Ferrao found a hole to dart down on the left-hand side before cutting in along the by-line and fizzing a cross to Taylor who lurked unmarked by the far post to put away easily.
James almost found a fifth when James captain Josh Spurling found another of Ferrao’s diagonal runs. Ferrao got a shot away but it was saved brilliantly by Marshall and the follow-up shot by Taylor was blocked spectacularly by Houlgate.
A goal from Alcuin was only going to come on the break and they managed to found one through Kimber, who beat Raper, the right-back, and picked out Matthews at the far post for an easy, second goal.
After 65 minutes, Ferrao earned a deserved goal as he scored James’ fifth of the morning. His deep cross from the left found the head of Taylor beyond the far post, who headed the ball back across goal. Neither Luka Nazzicone or Marshall could deal with the scrap and Ferrao was able to pop it over the line.
On 70 minutes, Davies squared a free kick to Spurling, whose shot almost rattled the cross bar. Five minutes later, Spurling released Jopson (who was now on for Briars) down the right-hand side and he whipped a shot towards the far post; Marshall got a hand to it but he could only deflect it at far post and the ball rolled in.
Five minutes before full time, James Davies scored the finest goal of the game with a great individual effort. He picked up the ball in his own half in the centre of the park and went on to run all the way into the Alcuin penalty area and fired a piercing shot past Marshall, closing today’s scoring at 7-2.
Matthews, for Alcuin, almost found a consolation goal and an ironic hat-trick in the final minute of the game – his header from a corner was headed off the line at the far post by Raper.
After a hugely eventful game, a beaming James captain Josh Spurling told Nouse, “We were better than them from start to finish and we played the ball well around them. But it did get a bit physical towards the end”.
A more sombre Alcuin captain, Chris Boyd had little to say about the performance: “The lads battled well and I thought we were unlucky but we remained physical throughout”.
Alcuin: Marshall, Nazzicone, Billimore, Boyd (C), Houlgate, Simpson, Dodgson (Bentham), Kimber, Burge, Homer (Haiget), Matthews
James: Bradley. Woodman, Gill, Callum, Raper, Briars (Jopson), Spurling (C), Haresnape, Ferrao, Davies, Taylor