Alcuin put an end to James’ 100% league record this season with a convincing 4-2 win.
The teams were playing in terrible conditions with freezing temperatures and non-stop rain throughout the match. Nevertheless, James still got off to a good start and took the lead early on through striker Matt Singleton. James took a free kick around 25 yards out, Alcuin failed to clear their lines and let the ball fall to Singleton who smashed it into the roof of the net from 10 yards out.
James were applying pressure throughout the first half and it took a last ditch sliding tackle from Pickar to deny them from getting their second. James’ next chance came from a corner in which their right centre back got up well and met the ball with a strong Vidic-like header which slammed against the crossbar.
This James centre back was having a flawless first half and had Alcuin striker McLarty in his back pocket. His best moment came when McLarty was in for a one on one, but the centre back came out of nowhere to put in a perfectly timed last ditch slide tackle just as McLarty was about to pull the trigger.
The final chance of the half fell to James once again and their striker Singleton who was causing Alcuin’s defence problems throughout the first half. He made a good run into the box to meet a James cross, but the ball fell to him at an awkward angle, causing him to improvise handling it towards goal and disguising it as a header (a-la-Maradona). Unfortunately, he didn’t achieve the same result and his attempted hand of god remake went just wide. James went into half time with a 1-0 lead and they seemed comfortable, but this would change in the second half.
I don’t know what the Alcuin captain said to his players at half time (maybe he gave them some of that juice from Space Jam), but whatever he said, it definitely worked. They looked like a different team in the second half, pressing James a lot more effectively and pinning them in their own half for most of the second half.
Alcuin created three or four chances early on the second half but failed to convert. Their first goal then came through winger Garn who ran onto a great through ball from McCartney before slotting it past the keeper inside the box.
Alcuin continued to apply pressure and had a penalty shout when it appeared that Sangha clipped one of their players’ heels in the box. The ref initially gave a penalty but the Alcuin player admitted that he was falling over before he was touched, and so the referee decided not to give the pen.
Alcuin continued to assert their dominance and their next goal came around 20 minutes into the second half through midfielder McConnell. He picked up the ball and skipped past two players before smashing it across the keeper into the bottom left corner from 20 yards.
Alcuin subs Twin and McClellan-Bestidas were causing a lot of issues for James down the wings, and McClellan-Bestidas got Alcuin’s third through chipping the keeper after playing a neat one two with McLarty to get in behind James’ back four.
At 3-1 Alcuin tried to slow the game down and see the game out, but they got a bit sloppy and a misplaced pass put James striker Jopson in on goal. The keeper was off his line quickly to deny Jopson but his clearance fell into the path of Singleton whose first time strike from 25 yards out found the back of an empty Alcuin net.
However, Alcuin soon made up for their mistake through winger Twin who scored the best goal of the game. He picked the ball up on the right wing before dribbling past three James defenders with ease and chipping the ‘keeper.
Alcuin are in a good run of form with 7-2 (Vs. Halifax) and 4-2 wins in their last two games and go on to face Goodricke next week.