It was six of the best for James College, as hat-tricks from both strikers Matthew Singleton and Andrew Jopson handed them a resounding 6-0 win over beleaguered Goodricke. The most potent strike partnership in college football terrorised their opposition. Once James got their first goal after twenty minutes, through Singleton, the destination of the points was never in doubt.
James enjoyed a number of presentable opportunities in the opening exchanges, without unduly testing Alex Woolley in the Goodricke goal. Robbie Anderson blocked Gwyn Davies’ close-range effort, and Joe Duffin shinned it off the line after Singleton’s powerful near post header from a corner. Most threateningly, Jopson’s powerful drive careered off the unwitting boot of Chris Osborne and forced Woolley into an acrobatic save high to his left. Although they were subject to unrelenting duress in their defensive third, the Heslington East side remained resolute and their 4-2-3-1 formation initially allowed them to suffocate play in the middle of the park.
When eventually the first goal came, it was well worth the wait. Singleton, who scored five times last term as James finished runners-up in the top flight, pirouetted and arched his effort over Woolley from 25 yards out to open the floodgates. The target man added his second goal ten minutes later, as James Edwards nicked the ball from Matt Carmichael and duly played his team-mate through on goal for an elementary chipped finish.
Once more Edwards, prominent in his role just off the front, gathered the ball in the left channel and rolled an exquisite pass across the face of goal to Jopson to make it 3-0. Edwards really took this game by the scruff of its neck and held great influence throughout. Fresher Thomas Jobling continues to grow in stature and is ensuring that the absence of UYAFC Firsts midfielder Joe Fox, through injury, is not more keenly felt.
Goodricke had lost their defensive discipline by this stage. Holding midfielders Chris Osbourne and captain Aaron Sullivan’s through balls were repeatedly intercepted and their counter-attacking threat subsided almost entirely. Billy Bruce, tasked with occupying threatening spaces in behind James’ midfield, found it tough and was well marshalled by Ralph Gill.
Five minutes after half time, James made it 4-0. Eden Lithur, who, to his credit, was determined throughout in the right-back position, failed to deal with Gwyn Davies’ penetrative run down the left. The ball was allowed to roll to Singleton, who was in no mood to pass up his chance of a hat-trick and planted it into the roof of the net from twelve yards.
Matt Singleton rounded the keeper but found his angle on goal too tight to negotiate, while Rob Carr rippled the side netting while bearing down on goal. Jopson showed his team-mates how it is done, nonchalantly dribbling around Woolley to pass into an empty net. He made it six and sealed his hat-trick by chipping the keeper with seconds remaining.
James were well worth the resounding scoreline, and managed to ally their clinical forward play with defensive application throughout. Captain Mandeep Sangha was happy as his side maintained their perfect start to the season, “You’d have to describe that as a professional performance. We took our goals superbly and were comfortable at the back. The way in which our strikers were clinical in front of goal took the pressure out of the game.”
Goodricke never stopped working but equally were severely deficient of quality and incision in the wide areas. It looks like being another term of struggle for them, but captain Aaron Sullivan was trying to be upbeat, “The first half wasn’t nearly up to scratch, while in the second half we managed to dominate the ball for long spells. I was so impressed with our midfield after half-time and there are definite positives to take. There is hope for the rest of the season.”
James (4-4-1-1): Balzan; Sangha, Elliott, McCormack, Axford; Jopson, Jobling, Gill, Davies; Edwards; Singleton
Substitutes: Clarkson, Carr
Goodricke (4-2-3-1): Woolley; Lewis, Carmichael, Anderson, Duffin; Sullivan, Osbourne; Sides, Hurst, Bruce; Jeffrey
Substitutes: Courtney, Tandy, Lithur
Man of the Match: Matthew Singleton