Alcuin seconds produced a clinical display to claim a 3-2 victory and shock the Group A leaders, Vanbrugh firsts.
The opening minutes of the first half saw both Alcuin and Vanbrugh enjoy spells of possession, with Vanbrugh perhaps seeing more of the ball than their opponents.
However, Alcuin stunned the Revolution Premier Division side when they opened the scoring. The goal came as a result of a lapse in concentration in the Vanbrugh back line. Andriy Tabas, playing at left back, was careless in his distribution of the ball, playing a sloppy pass into the centre of the pitch which was intercepted by Alcuin’s Henry Lonsdale.
Lonsdale collected the loose ball before feeding a pass through to Alcuin’s captain, Matt Twin. Having gathered the ball, Twin coolly slotted his finish under Vanbrugh’s ‘keeper, Max Donnell-Ford to hand his side a 1-0 lead.
Vanbrugh had chances to equalise, most notably through midfielder Matthew Potts. Vanbrugh captain, Joe Lund, fired a strong pass to Potts on the edge of the area. After taking a touch, Potts fired a powerful, dipping shot with his right foot, but his effort was denied by the post.
With half time edging closer, the score remained 1-0, but after a free kick was given against Vanbrugh’s Harry O’Brien, the subsequent set piece saw Alcuin double their lead. Petros Petrides whipped an in-swinging delivery into the box from the right wing. His delivery was met first by the head of Jack McConnell, who planted his header in the back of the net to double his side’s lead.
As the half time whistle blew, Alcuin went into the break with a well-deserved 2-0 lead. Vanbrugh, meanwhile, left much to be desired, losing possession in the middle of the park far too frequently and having few noteworthy attempts on goal.
The second half started in a nightmarish fashion for Vanbrugh. Alcuin’s Twin raced down the right wing and squared the ball across the Vanbrugh box, behind the vast majority of Vanbrugh’s defensive players. The ball was met by McConnell, who subsequently struck a simple finish past Donnell-Ford to propel Alcuin to a 3-0 lead.
It was, at 3-0 down, that Vanbrugh started to string some cohesive attacking phases of play together. Liam Sides had one golden opportunity to claw a goal back for his side, but he wasted his shot, firing straight at Alcuin’s ‘keeper, Jake Richardson. Harry O’Brien also had a chance to score, having been played in on the Alcuin goal down the right wing, but his heavy touch took the ball away from him.
Moments later, O’Brien scored Vanbrugh’s first goal of the game. After Alcuin conceded a free kick deep in their own half, O’Brien stepped up and hit a low shot, which bended around Alcuin’s wall before evading Richardson.
O’Brien could have easily scored a second goal from a set piece. He hit a sweetly struck free kick from the right side of the pitch which, once again, beat the wall, but on this occasion, Richardson dived low to his right, turning the ball round the post and saving a certain goal.
In the last fifteen minutes of the match, Vanbrugh improved dramatically, switching to three centre backs, all of whom nullified Alcuin’s attacking threats, with Brad Dunkley winning almost everything in the air.
The switch to a back three allowed Tabas to push on into midfield and Vanbrugh started to string together more passes and pressurise the Alcuin defence. This pressure paid off as Tabas scored his side’s second goal of the game.
After Potts controlled a wayward switch from O’Brien on the right wing, he played the ball into Tabas in the middle of the park. Tabas composed himself, before striking a powerful, long range shot past Richardson to narrow the deficit in the score line to just one goal.
Unfortunately for Vanbrugh, their resurgence came too late, as the referee brought the entertainment to a close. The result sees Alcuin collect a valuable three points, whilst Vanbrugh now need to secure a draw or a win in their match against Wentworth next week in order to finish top of the group.
Alcuin: Richardson, Amiyants, Turner, Toumazou, Petrides, Lonsdale, Strong, McConnell, Harget, Twin (C), Quintana. Subsitutions: Ytantopoulos.
Man of the Match: Matt Strong.
Vanbrugh: Donnell-Ford, Glanvill, Vyvyan, Dunkley, Tabas, Picknell, Carruthers, O’Brien, Lund (C), Potts, Sides.
Man of the Match: Brad Dunkley.