Last term’s Revolution Premier League winners Derwent overcame Alcuin to secure their place in Sunday’s final and this year’s Varsity tournament. With both sides struggling to adapt to the tough terrain of 22 acres, it was ultimately Derwent’s comprehensive second half performance that ensured a comfortable victory.
The first period was a rather nondescript affair with a severe lack of clear cut chances. The opening stages were characterised by agricultural tackles as each side sought to impose their authority early on. Despite the cagey beginning, Eddie Fotheringham remained a persistent threat down the left hand side with Matt Strong reacting sharply to foil any apparent threat. However, the deadlock was soon broken following a Fotheringham corner. Tom Shelbourn, starting at centre forward in replace of Rob Nicholson, met the cross at the near post to squeeze home the first goal of the match.
Derwent could have then gone further ahead as a quick-witted Ryan Gwinnett opted for a short corner and his subsequent cross was narrowly headed over by Mike Whittall from close range. Meanwhile, Fotheringham was proving ever more effective on the flank as he flashed a teasing ball across the goal mouth. Alcuin were largely restricted as an attacking presence but, on one occasion, Jack McConnell collected Garn’s pass in the penalty area, but he could only blaze his shot over the cross-bar.
The second half signalled a strange decision by the powers that be to move the match onto an adjacent pitch. However, unfortunately for Alcuin, such an adjustment did not signal a change in fortunes as Derwent came out the second half a much rejuvenated side. Joe Easter prompted this attacking threat with a quality cross which Gwinnett narrowly failed to meet it at the far post. He made amends soon after in superb fashion as his half volleyed screamed into the bottom corner of the net. Fotheringham was by far and away Derwent’s most creative spark and he dragged an effort narrowly wide of the post.
A third goal soon followed following a misjudgement from Alcuin’s Strong which allowed the ball to run free in a dangerous area. Naturally, Fotheringham was first to the scene and he squared to Shelbourne to further increase Derwent’s advantage. The league leaders were now firmly in the ascendancy and could have gone further ahead after Gwinnett saw his long range effort hit the post. Andrew Naylor then nearly got his name on the scoresheet following a clever one-two with Shelbourne but his effort was straight at Alcuin keeper Neil Lawrence.
It need not matter, however, as he soon atoned for such a miss with a header that rippled the net after meeting Fotheringham’s cross. Despite the final stages seeing Alcuin come back into the game with efforts from Peter Kennick, the result was never in doubt as the final whistle signalled the end of proceedings.
After the match Derwent captain, Ryan Gwinnett spoke to Nouse regarding the upcoming Varsity tournament, “I’m looking forward to Varsity so I am pretty chuffed that we qualified today. We didn’t make it to the tournament last year and I think it will be a good test for us.”
He went on to assess todays performance stating that “Alcuin weren’t a bad side today, they are one of the top teams so I am glad we remained professional and got the job done. I thought that in the first half we matched them but in the second half we started playing our football. I’m glad to get myself a goal as well.”
Meanwhile Paul Kennick wasn’t disappointed in his side’s performance saying “I think four nil flattered them a lot and quite often we shot ourselves in the foot. It was just the mistakes that gave them their goals and although we were generally outplayed, we had some good spells in the first half.”
Alcuin (4-3-3): Lawrence (GK); Kennick (C), Tuton, Perera, Strong; McConnell, Houlgate, Nestor; Fernando, Garn, McLarty. Substitutes: Twin, Southwell
Derwent (4-3-3): Cooper (GK); Weighall, Belshaw, Bell, Castiglione; Whittall, Naylor, Easter; Gwinnett (C), Fotheringham, Shelbourn. Substitutes: Ntephe
Man of the Match: Eddie Fotheringham