IN THE FIRST of the day’s two semi-finals Langwith managed to survive a late Derwent rally to qualify for Varsity and gain the right to play Halifax in Sunday’s final to decide who will be the first seed.
The beginning of the game was very non-descript with either side creating little in terms of chances. Derwent were missing a number of first-team midfielders, and this showed as the middle of the park had a seemingly infinite amount of space for the Langwith players to operate this. Despite this, the high line of Derwent, particularly first-year David McLaughlan, held firm and allowed Langwith very little chance to create.
After a while though, the defence began to give way and get pinned back into their half with any opportunity for a counter-attack nullified by the Derwent attack wandering too far forward while the rest of the team were digging out.
Inevitably, the defence made a mistake, and after a Derwent defender took a swing at a clearance and mishit it, Langwith’s forwards did not need a second chance: seizing upon this opportunity to hit home to make it 1-0 with 15 minutes on the clock.
Oskar Fossberg tried to reply with a hit from 25-yards out which just didn’t stay on target despite being well-hit. This chance preceded a sustained period of Langwith possession resulting in a spectacular double-save from Derwent goalkeeper Josh Todd which, unfortunately, would be his last contribution of the game as he injured himself in the process.
After a lengthy delay waiting for the backup ‘keeper to return from a trip to the facilities, the game got underway again as the clock edged towards the half but not before Matt Nevis narrowly missed a snapshot which would’ve brought the teams level and Langwith scored a great goal from far out to double their advantage at the advent of the first half.
The first exchanges of the second half followed the example of the first with a non-existent Derwent midfield allowing a newly potent Langwith attack to probe the ball for large periods of time. But it wasn’t a scintillating display of football that lead to the third Langwith goal, a communication error between David McLaughlan and the Derwent reserve keeper resulted in the former kicking the ball from the hands of the latter which again allowed the Langwith attack to poke the ball home from no range.
The third Langwith goal was a sucker-punch for a rapidly improving Derwent but this did not stop them in their pursuit of goals, and this search turned successful as Oskar Fossberg scored a peach of a free-kick from outside the box to get Derwent on the scoresheet.
This brilliant goal seemingly gave Derwent impetus and helped the push for a second which was duly delivered by Carlton who slotted home low into the net with five minutes remaining. But that was all that was left for Derwent with not enough time remaining to grab an equaliser before the referee brought proceedings to a close.
This late rally, however, impressed Derwent AFC president, Will Leafe: “It was a valiant effort. It was a great improvement in the second half, and it’s a shame we didn’t equalise.”
Langwith now go on to this month’s Varsity tournament but will sooner look to tomorrow’s final with Halifax before the competition gets underway on the 25th February.