After some first half jitters, Derwent added another three points to their tally, grinding out a 4-2 victory against a Vanbrugh side who at times threatened to upset this term’s dominant outfit.
An early goal from Vanbrugh’s Oli Vyvyan set the stage for an upset, as he headed in from a corner. Derwent seemed to lack physicality in the middle of the pitch, leading to a cagey opening, and making a much closer contest between the Heslington West sides seem more likely.
It wasn’t long, though, before Derwent started to come back into the game, with Henry Ferrao and Jamie Trant’s blistering pace and directness in attack crucial in galvanising the other nine in black and blue. It would be Ferrao who would get the equaliser, unleasing a right-footed screamer that defied his 14-hour-a-day sleep schedule and diet solely consisting of chicken nuggets and chips.
The floodlights flicked on at the start of the second half, as Derwent started to turn up the heat with Ryan Gwinnett and Jack Low surging forward, and Euan Bell charging forward from the back, whipping the ball into Ferrao who clipped it wide.
Vanbrugh weren’t out of it yet though, with Sides and Lund being denied by a couple of great saves by Charlie Cooper. However, Derwent soon managed to put daylight between themselves and their opponents, with a long ball over the top from Michael Whittall falling to Trant who snuck the ball home past the keeper.
However, in a turn of fortune for Derwent’s central defender, Whittall’s unnecessarily heavy challenge just inside the Derwent half would lead to Andriy Tabas (Vanbrugh’s answer to Emmanuel Petit) heading in the resulting freekick. With the score at 3-2, it would take another spark of brilliance from the partnership of Ferrao and Trant to put the game to bed, with a mazy run by Ferrao leading to an offload to Trant, who cooly converted for the second time to make it 4-2.
Vanbrugh’s captain Joe Lund: “I thought we played well, I wouldn’t say we were unlucky, there were some defensive lapses but overall I’m pleased with our performance.”
Derwent’s captain Ryan Gwinnett: “We started off slow and weren’t really matching them physically, but the last half an hour of the match was the best that we played all season. [In the second half] We changed the shape a little bit, dropped Mark [Askham] into centre midfield and he started running the game, very pleased to see that.”
It will be comforting for Derwent that they are still to reach their best, yet manage to grind out a win each week whilst showing glimpses of the attacking football that they are capable of. They now move three points clear of James at the top of the Revolution Premier League.
Derwent: Cooper (GK), Askham, Bell, Whittall, Reynolds, Naylor, Ntephe, Gwinnett (C), Ferrao, Low, Trant.
Vanbrugh: Donnel-Ford (GK), Siddle, Picknel, Tabas, Franklin, Carruthers, Vyvyan, Watkins, Lund (C), Polts, Sides. Substitute: Miller
MOTM: Despite not wanting to give my floormate a first class ticket on the train to ego-trip town, Henry Ferrao is an exciting talent and could flourish into an invaluable asset for the college if he ditches the Betty Crocker Vanilla Icing and spoon combination alongside days spent in his cave of a bedroom watching Prison Break. Stranger things have happened…