Derwent survived a serious scare against traditional rivals Langwith, winning 3-2, to maintain their 100% start to the Revolution Premier Division season. The co-league leaders were pushed all the way by a gutsy Langwith outfit, having to come from behind twice to secure a hard-fought victory. In what many thought would be a relatively one-sided affair, Langwith gave a strong account of themselves and were very unlucky not to come away with at least a point, especially considering they were without 8 players through injury.
In a frantic first few minutes both sides hit the woodwork, first with Derwent’s Rob Nicholson curling a shot onto the post via a save from Oli Dolby in the Langwith goal. Minutes later Bastian Koop leathered a volley from 25 yards out, only for his shot to strike the post and roll to safety, with Aylett in the Derwent goal helpless.
The opening exchanges were fast, with both teams seeing possession in the middle of the park. It was Derwent who first applied some pressure, with both Gwinnett and Kirby seeing shots saved. They were unable however to convert this pressure into an end product as Langwith defended strongly, limiting them to only half-chances.
The game continued in a similar vein for much of the first half, with both teams unable to carve out any clear-cut opportunities. Both sides were guilty of giving the ball away too easily and the game descended into a scrappy contest in the middle third. A goal was needed to inject some life into the match and it came through Langwith’s Tom Pickersgil, with the centre back making a lung-bursting run into the opposition box to get on the end of a ball from the right and poke home at the near post.
Derwent seemed to wake up slightly after Langwith’s surprise opener, with Nicholson dragging a shot wide after the restart. Langwith’s defence, robust throughout, held firm under the leadership of captain Tom Benney. A succession of Derwent corners came to nothing and Langwith went into the break with a deserved 1-0 lead.
Derwent came out with decent intent to start the second period, with a few half-chances going begging. The Langwith backline was again solid, with many of the Derwent attacking players cutting frustrated figures. It was Langwith who next threatened after a scuffed clearance from Derwent keeper Aylett fell at the feet of replacement James MacDonald, only for him to strike his shot narrowly high and wide.
Derwent’s breakthrough came midway through the half, with Jack Low making a determined run into the box before being brought down under the attention of 3 Langwith defenders. Skipper Gwinnett stroked the penalty home despite Dolby guessing correctly, drawing Derwent level.
The game fell into its previous pattern after the Derwent equaliser, with more half-chances falling to both teams. At this point the game could have gone either way; Derwent sending more men forward and Langwith looking dangerous on the break. It was Langwith who again took the lead, with Miguel Vidal finishing well after being set up by Bastian Koop. Derwent were infuriated, believing that Vidal was offside, yet the referee allowed the goal to stand.
This signalled the start of a breathless last few minutes, with Derwent levelling through fresher Rob Nicholson about a minute later. Nicholson didn’t have a great game, looking isolated and static up front, but he managed to get his head on the ball after a goalmouth scramble and nod Derwent back to level terms.
Derwent were galvanised by the equaliser and committed men forward looking for the winning goal, with Langwith dropping deeper to protect what would have been a well-deserved point. It was not to be however, with Jack Low eventually bundling the ball home after a save from Dolby, handing the win to Derwent despite a heroic effort from the Langwith team.
Distraught Langwith captain Tom Benney paid tribute to his team after their brave showing and said “Derwent’s excitement about this win is testament to how well we played today”. Opposition captain Ryan Gwinnett said: “Relieved, that’s the word of the day. That was hard work out there, Langwith are a much-improved team and they made it difficult for us today. We weren’t at our best but showed great character, especially after going 2-1 down”.
Man of the Match: Henry Ferrao (Derwent)
Aylett; Castiglione, Whittall, Ntephe, Reynolds; Kirby, Naylor, Gwinnett, Ferrao, Low; Nicholson. Subs: Whittaker.
Dolby; Grindell, Benney, Pickersgil, Pegg; Hemmingway, Parsonson, Vidal, Shafiq, Gohil-Patel; Koop. Subs: MacDonald, Gibb.