After last week’s defeat to Alcuin, Vanbrugh were looking to bounce back and secure three points. However, the newly promoted Derwent seconds had other ideas, as they took the win in what turned out to be a dreary affair.
The game started at a high tempo with both sides seeking to impose their style of play. Vanbrugh had the first chance of the game through captain Joe Lund, whose quick feet allowed him to circumvent Paul Reynolds and strike an early shot just outside of the box. However, the shot was not aimed well, as the ball hit Derwent seconds keeper, Felix Aylett, on the chest as he managed the parry the ball away to safety. Both sides were evenly matched but Vanbrugh were more decisive in the final third as they pushed hard for a goal. Vanbrugh soon began to dominate play with quick intricate passing, while Derwent seconds opted for more traditional tactics and played the long ball up to Rob Nicholson.
Mid-way through the first half Derwent seconds began to look dangerous to a frustrated Vanbrugh side who had the best opportunities of the match so far. Derwent soon took the lead as Rob Nicholson’s clinically finished from a Vanbrugh error. The attack was worked from a long ball by Felix Aylett to Jack Low, who miscontrolled and let the ball slide to Vanbrugh defender Connor Brennan. However, Brennan was not playing at match pace and took too much time on the ball, and consequently soon found himself under pressure from Derwent striker, Rob Nicholson. Nicholson proved too much for Brennan who gifted Nicholson with the ball in front of goal, and with the keeper off his line, Nicholson calmly slotted home – giving Derwent the lead. This Derwent goal occurred out of nowhere and was against the run of play, as Vanbrugh had been creating the better opportunities throughout the first 45 minutes.
Derwent now confidently in front began to attack more aggressively, with winger Jack Low coming close with a well-struck shot at the edge of the box but Vanbrugh’s Donnell-Ford was able to deal with the shot comfortably. As the first half drew to a close Vanbrugh looked to respond. Again, Vanbrugh had good build up play but were beaten by a strong Derwent defence in the final third, preventing them from equalising. Vanbrugh came close to scoring when Joe Watkins lofted a through-ball into Liam Sides who found himself in a one-on-one situation with the Derwent keeper. However, Felix Aylett read the attack well as he rushed off his line to clear the ball away. Nonetheless, Derwent did not sit back and protect their 1-0 lead. The Blues, still playing the long ball up to target man Rob Nicholson, were able to antagonise the Vanbrugh defence.
In the final stages of the first half both teams pushed one final time, with sweeper-keeper Felix Aylett nullifying Vanbrugh’s attack, once again coming off his line to clear the ball away. Derwent doubled their lead, as they were similarly gifted the goal by a confused Vanbrugh defence. This time, Jack Low got on the score sheet by cleverly curling the ball to the keeper’s right hand side. Low played well as he put Vanbrugh right-back Andriy Tabas under pressure, leading him to give the ball away sloppily. The Vanbrugh keeper was rooted and couldn’t save the lucky goal. Half time ended with Derwent 2-0 through two clear Vanbrugh mistakes.
The first half was dreary as neither team looked clinical enough in the box. The second half begun in a similar fashion with Vanbrugh and Derwent seconds defending well in this evenly contested fixture. Vanbrugh brought on striker Adam Lewis in favour of Liam Sides, in the hopes he could restore parity. Lewis’ physicality served Vanbrugh well as he was able to hold the ball up and bring his team mates into the attack. However, Vanbrugh never looked dangerous and failed to really put Derwent seconds under any pressure. Equally, Elvin’s men could not overcome Vanbrugh’s defence, on this lacklustre occasion.
The second half comprised of few clear chances, with Derwent’s Ryan Connor coming close when he hit the cross bar with an improvised back-heel flick. Derwent’s three central midfielders were hesitant to push forward and looked to see off Vanbrugh’s attack by sitting behind the ball. Derwent came close again as Rob Nicholsons’ fancy foot work allowed him to by-pass the Vanbrugh defence but he dragged his shot wide of the goal. Vanbrugh introduced Troy Carruthers, Carruthers who immediately came very close to scoring as his well-controlled touch enabled him to turn on the spot and shoot on the half-volley, which ended up on the wrong side of the post. The second half was filled with far and few opportunities as neither side found the creative spark needed to dominate the game.
Derwent second’s captain Matthew Elvin spoke to Nouse to give his comments on the game, he remarked “I think we started really well, but to be fair to Vanbrugh they got back in it early on. I think we got our two goals when Vanbrugh were on top, it was against the run of play but credit to our attackers.” Elvin also commented, “We improved on last week as we didn’t want to give any sloppy goals away, the team played well. I wanted to use some subs but we only had 11 guys and they worked really hard.”
While Vanbrugh captain Joe Lund said “The result was very disappointing. We came into the game thinking we could win. I don’t think we played badly but there were two sloppy moments at the back. We weren’t clinical enough but we did look good in midfield. Ultimately, we were not good enough in the key areas, in attack and defence, and that cost us”.
Vanbrugh firsts: Max Donnell-Ford, Tom Siddle, James Belbin, Conor Brennan, Andriy Tabas, Kyle Picknel, Oli Vyvyan, Joe Lund (C), Joe Watkins, Matt Potts, Liam Sides. Subs: Troy Carruthers, Adam Lewis
Derwent seconds: Felix Aylett, Ryan Connor, Euan Bell, Matthew Elvin (C), Paul Reynolds, Jack Low, Frank Simpson, Alex Stones, Eloka Ntephe, Tom Mullingham, Rob Nicholson
Man of the Match: Rob Nicholson