Second in Group B played fifth in the final game in Thursday’s College Cup fixtures, and the match was true to the table as Derwent seconds ran out comfortable victors against Vanbrugh thirds in a match they comprehensively dominated. A hat-trick from Luca Castiglione, including a stunning strike from 20 yards, capped a professional performance from a team with the potential to go deep into the competition.
The match started ominously for Vanbrugh. Straight from kick-off, Seb Harwood passed the ball back to James Graves who, confused by his early receipt of the ball, picked the ball up from the pass back. The resulting freekick was cleared, but the mistake signalled a period of intense pressure from Derwent.
With Vanbrugh keeping their concentration and Derwent remaining patient, the game settled into a game of attack versus defence. Graves was forced into smart saves from Euan Bell and Jules Delay amongst a barrage of well-delivered corners.
Vanbrugh’s resistance was broken by the simplest of goals. A long throw from Alex Ingham dropped onto the head of Castiglione, who nodded the ball in completely unmarked. Euan Bell perhaps should have doubled his side’s lead, but he could only head a corner into the grateful arms of Graves from point-blanc range.
Two minutes later, Castiglione added to his personal tally in spectacular style. A quick one-two between Castiglione and Delay gave the right-back space to shoot, curling a powerful shot past a helpless Graves.
Vanbrugh’s woes were compounded with the loss of Lewis Hill, who came out considerably worse from a challenge with a fifty-fifty with Eloka Ntephe.
Despite this, Vanbrugh were able to regain their composure and shape and close the half out, making the score 2-0 at the break.
The result was confirmed within 10 minutes of the second half, as was Castiglione’s hat-trick. An enterprising run took Castiglione into the Vanbrugh penalty area, only for him to be cynically brought down by Rob West. Despite a small protestation, Bell handed the ball over to Castiglione, who calmly sent Graves the wrong way to cap a brilliant individual performance.
Vanbrugh had the chance to make the end of the game interesting when Aaron Hooper was played in by Sam Nixon, but the midfielder snatched at the chance, missing the ball completely and letting his side’s only real chance go begging.
Castiglione almost grabbed himself a fourth at the death, only for his simple finish from a free-kick to be ruled out by referee, Richard Williams, for offside.
The full time whistle sent Derwent two points clear at the top of their group and on course for qualification for the next round. Vanbrugh, still fifth, could be proud of their performance as, after a 10 minute spell of pressure, they limited last term’s Revolution Premier Division runners-up to few chances.
Vanbrugh thirds: Graves (GK); Scott, Waldock, Forbisher, Habgood, West (C); Nixon, Sanbe, Hooper; Hill, Harwood
Substitutes: Wheatley, Brack, Long
Player of the Match: Sam Nixon
Derwent seconds: Aylett (GK); Castiglione, Bell, Elvin (C), Reynolds; Delay, Ingham, Ntephe, Stones, Lowe; Nicholson
Player of the Match: Luca Castiglione