James safely through to College Varsity

James booked their place at College Varsity with a solid win, although Vanbrugh gave them a good run for their money

College Varsity qualifiers semi-final

Petroc Taylor

James men’s football firsts booked their place at College Varsity with a 5-1 victory over a hard-working Vanbrugh side.

James started the match brightly and had to be patient to break Vanbrugh down. James eventually took the lead just before half time with a sublime hit from Matt Singleton, which found its way past Aaron Hooper in the Vanbrugh goal.

In the second half Vanbrugh went on the attack in an attempt to get back into the game, but it was James that doubled their lead early on, as brilliant work from captain Ralph Gill allowed Singleton to score his second of the game.

Vanbrugh were playing well despite being behind, and soon found a way back into the game as Max Brewer latched onto a perfectly-weighted John Sanderson free kick from 25 yards to head past Andy Balzan. However, they were unable to find a way to get back onto level terms, and it was this that would ultimately cost them the game.

After a lengthy period of possession, Freddie Ferrao restored James’ two-goal advantage from a tight angle on the edge of the area. Almost immediately, Dan Harsenape then made it 4-1, as he capitalised on Vanbrugh’s only real poor piece of defending all game, slipping the ball cutely past Hooper at close range.

Will Baker rounded off the scoring for James just moments before the full-time whistle with a clinical and well-taken goal, to hand James a 5-1 victory. James were good value for their victory, but were made to work industrially for the victory by a spirited Vanbrugh side.

After the match, James captain Ralph Gill told Nouse: “Vanbrugh made us work very hard for the victory today, but we performed well and scored some very good goals. We’re pleased to have made it through to College Varsity.”

Meanwhile, Vanbrugh’s Max Brewer commented: “We didn’t play badly at all today; in fact we played very well. For 70 minutes we played very well and at 2-1 we had to take some risks. We went 4-4-2 and had to take some risks which backfired, but I’m very proud of what the team did today.”

James: Balzan, Sangha, Alhassan, Gill, Edwards, Jopson, Haresnape, Fox, Baker, Briars, Singleton. Subs: Austin, Spurling, Ferrao.

Vanbrugh: Hooper, Wignall, Brewer, Brennan, Coy, Picknell, Siddall, Watkins, Craine, Softley, Sides. Subs: Priest, Sanderson, Potts.

Man of the Match: Andrew Jopson

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