Alcuin kickstarted their College Cup campaign with an emphatic 4-1 victory against Halifax fourths. Two goals from Cameron McLarty, and one each from Andy Fernando and Jeremy Nestor meant that a spectacular strike from Adam Wilsher counted for nothing.
A tentative start was assured and duly arrived; Alcuin looking to assess their opponents who had sprung surprises on their opponents in the previous three matches.
After ten minutes, the match exploded into action in spectacular style. A harmless throw in came to Adam Wilsher who struck a stunning volley past Neil Lawrence, stunning the crowd in the process.
Alcuin were level within five minutes through Andy Fernando. Jeremy Nestor hit a crisp pass to McLarty, whose clever flick sent Fernando clean through for a simple finish to level the score.
Despite being pegged back, Halifax did not wilt – both Eric Farrington and Jack Rudman nearly putting their side ahead again. Rudman pounced on a poor clearance from Neil Lawrence, shooting towards an open goal. Matt Strong got back to make a block, and Halifax and their crowd’s appeals for handball and a penalty fell on deaf ears.
Half time came and the scores were locked at 1-1. The restart saw the emergence of Alcuin as a more cohesive attacking unit, stringing passes together at will and posing a constant threat to the Halifax goal.
In spite of this, Alcuin’s lead came through a piece of individual skill. McLarty knocked the ball over Halifax’s stand-in captain, Ryan Swallow, and beating him for pace before guiding an inch-perfect lob over Martin France in the ‘Fax goal, who could only watch the ball drop under the crossbar.
Alcuin’s third followed within a minute, thanks largely due to the industry of Michael Garn. The Owls’ winger chased down a ball that was headed for a goal kick and managed to cut it back to the edge of the area. The ball was met by a late run from Nestor, who swept the ball past France and get his side some breathing room.
Garn was again provider for the fifth and final goal of the match. Profiting from a kind rebound back to him after an attempted through ball, Garn played through McLarty who nestled the ball in the bottom corner.
The Owls had a chance to add some shine to the result, with McLarty firing wide and Pete Kennick heading into the side netting in the final action of the game.
Alcuin captain, Pete Kennick spoke to Nouse after his side ended their recent run of poor results, commeting, “It’s been difficult playing against teams that don’t try and come out and attack you – Derwent last week and James the week before. This week Halifax fancied they could get something given the run of results we’ve had, and that gave us the space to play and express ourselves. That’s our strength, having four or give unique attacking players.”
Speaking on his side’s chances of qualification, Kennick was confident results would go his side’s way, “If Langwith draw with Derwent and we win, that should be good enough to qualify.”
‘Fax skipper Ryan Swallow Nouse, firstly about Adam Wilsher’s spectacular goal, “he’s scored a couple of good goals in first term. Obviously that was the pick of the bunch and the best goal he’d scored for the fours.”
Swallow was optimistic that Wilsher’s strike gave his team a platform for success in the match, “we thought if we kept playing like we did in the first half and playing our own game then we could get something from the game.”
Swallow attested his side’s fading in the second half and subsequent loss to fitness, “They were a lot fitter than we were, their front three just kept running and running and we got a bit sloppy.”
Halifax fourths: France (GK); De Guzman, Swallow (C), Hook, Williams; Maughan, Wilsher; Gillespie, Gaunt, Farrington; Rudman
Substitues: El-Nemer, Johnson
Alcuin firsts: Lawrence (GK); Houlgate, Kennick (C), Tuton, Strong; Fernando, Barrie, McConnell, Fernando; Nestor; McLarty
Player of the Match: Cameron McLarty