A spirited Alcuin performance proved enough to edge past a lethargic Halifax side in awful conditions at the JLD on Tuesday afternoon.
Having restricted Halifax to efforts from range for large parts of the game, a clinical finish from striker George Brough sealed a first College Cup match win for the Alcuin 3rds.
The first fifteen minutes of the game were a dull affair for the spectator, with the best chance going Halifax’s way in the form of a skewed free-kick 25 yards out. The only source of optimism came from Alcuin midfielder James Homer, whose fancy tricks and delightful close control bedazzled both Halifax players and onlookers alike.
The first half improved in terms of chances, but not in terms of final product, with Homer volleying wide before Halifax’s Forrest dragged his close-range volley over the bar. Alcuin nearly took the lead just before half time when the ball ricocheted off a Halifax defender and just wide.
That close shave seemed to provide Halifax with the wake-up call they so desperately needed, who came flying out the traps in the second half. Theo Miller’s daisy-cutter was kept out by the legs of Alcuin ‘keeper Jake Richardson before ‘Fax left-back Hobson followed up with a curled effort just wide of the target. Richardson was then forced into another brilliant save low to his right as Halifax seemed to creep closer to that decisive goal.
But increased attacking impetus from Halifax left Alcuin with sporadic opportunities on the counter-attack, which they duly exploited fifteen minutes from time.
After several attempts by the Alcuin midfield to find their lone striker with a splitting through ball, their persistence finally paid dividends when a lofted through-ball from captain Dylan Chambers found George Brough, who brought the ball down and cooly placed an effort with the outside of his right boot into the bottom right corner of the goal.
After finally establishing some solid momentum in the early stages of the second half, the Alcuin goal against the run of play knocked the stuffing out of Halifax, who failed to muster another clear-cut chance. Signs of frustration began seeping in when two ridiculous penalty claims were made before Collins guided a wasteful free-kick well wide of the target. The full-time whistle seemed to come as a relief to both sides, especially after the drenching received by a second half downpour.
The win against an evidently talented Halifax team will offer great encouragement to the Alcuin 3rds, and captain Dylan Chambers was understandably upbeat following the game: “throughout the game we created more and we defended better, and I think, judging the fact we’re the 3rds [and Halifax the 2nds], we deserve the win”.
Chambers gave trickster James Homer the Man of the Match, branding him “an absolute star” and “the best touch in the JLD”. With regards to the side’s aspirations in the Cup, the skipper remarked: “we can definitely have the Plate as a goal for the first time ever for Alcuin 3s”.
Halifax Starting XI (4-4-2): Locke; Plant, Marsh, Kearney, Hobson; Dunning, Collins, Forrest, Miller; Knott, Waring.
Alcuin Starting XI (4-2-3-1): Richardson; Hesselgren, Carney, Pickar, Taube; Bentham, Burge; Pearce, Homer, Chambers; Brough.