College Varsity 2015
Derwent enjoyed a comfortable victory against Collingwood to claim five points for York in College Varsity. Despite the scoreline suggesting it was a close affair, as a matter of fact York were never in doubt. In truth, Derwent were left somewhat disappointed that they could not add more to their final tally after numerous chances went begging. Nevertheless, a solitary goal was all that was required as Collingwood rarely threatened.
The York college began the stronger with Luca Castiglione in particular being given extensive room to run into as he was repeatedly able exploit the right flank. The game sprung into life after Castiglione was tripped as he attempted to weave his way through the Collingwood resistance. Captain Ryan Gwinnett lofted the free-kick into the opposition penalty area before the ball was knocked down dangerously across goal. Andy Naylor was on hand to tap into the net from close range to give Derwent an early lead.
The moment was soon soured, however, as clinical striker Rob Nicholson hobbled off the field and was replaced by Eloka Ntephe. This signalled a switch in formation with Naylor now occupying a more advance role. This proved immediately effective, as midfielder Michael Whittall sought to optimise Naylor’s pace to splinter the Collingwood back line. Naylor nearly had a second as he temporarily rounded the goalkeeper who then managed to recover in time to prevent the striker’s shot from crossing the line.
Again, Naylor found himself with another opportunity to increase Derwent’s advantage. Breaking free down the right flank, Naylor struck a rasping shot that whistled over the crossbar. Sam Weighall was unlucky not to double Derwent’s lead as his long range effort went narrowly over having caught the Collingwood goalkeeper unawares. However, it was the combination of Whittall and Naylor that was ultimately proving the most problematic for the Collingwood defence.
Naylor was rapidly clocking up the chances as he once more latched onto a Whittalll through ball and majestically chipped the keeper, only to see his effort edge narrowly wide. Whittall, again the architect, squared to Gwinnet soon after but he failed to hit the target. Naylor was increasingly cutting a frustrated figure yet he soon found the net for a second time. Unfortunately, he was adjudged to have been offside following Alex Ingham’s pass. In spite of this, Derwent were clearly in the ascendancy come half-time, with goalkeeper Felix Aylett remaining relatively untested in the Derwent goal.
While the first half was an enthralling display of Derwent dominance, the second failed to replicate its intensity. Indeed, it took a miscued free-kick from Gwinnett to register as the first shot in earnest during the second period. The midfield man was becoming a vital outlay on the left flank as he then cut in before firing low, only to be foiled by the Collingwood keeper. A robust challenge from Whittall ensured Derwent remembered their defensive duties although, if truth be told, they were rarely troubled.
The best chance of the second period fell to left-back Weighall who really should have hit the target following Gwinnett’s corner. Soon after, Gwinnett was again the creator as he burst down the wing and crossed low into the path of Naylor. On the stretch, Naylor could only direct the shot into the grateful hands of the Collingwood goalkeeper.
Derwent’s were impressive throughout and were able to cruise to victory during the latter stages of the match. For all Collingwood’s admirable organisation, they were largely ineffective in attack which can be attributed to the strength of the Derwent back four. The gulf between the sides was apparent from the offset and the victory, while not enough to alter the overall competition score, was well received by the Derwent faithful on the touchline.
After the game, Derwent’s captain Ryan Gwinnett spoke to Nouse saying, “I’ve really enjoyed the whole day, we were just so hungry from the moment we started. We won every fifty-fifty and we were really up for it.”
Gwinnett was quick to highlight the benefits of a delayed start, as he went on to say, “Getting a proper warm up was a bit of a luxury but was really good. I think one nil is a little flattering as I think we could have had at least two or three. I’m really pleased.”
Derwent (4-2-3-1): Aylett (GK); Castiglione, Bell, Shelbourn, Weighall; Ingham, Whittall; Low, Naylor, Gwinnett; Nicholson (Ntephe).
Man of the Match: Michael Whittall