Derwent survived a late bombardment by Halifax to grind out a well-deserved 1-0 win on 22 acres this Sunday. Winger Xander Brinkworth scored the only goal of a fiercely competitive match that saw Derwent showcase their resilience, whilst extending their run of consecutive clean sheets to four games.
The match started at a frantic pace, with both sides refusing to give the other any time on the ball. Steve Walwyn was influential from the start on Derwent’s left wing, often driving forward to give impetus to Derwent’s attacks, and yet neither the Blues nor Halifax could manage to test the two goalkeepers. Midfielder Ash Daly went close moments before the half time whistle blew with a curling drive that flew just past the upright, but neither side looked like breaking the deadlock as they strode back out for the second half.
Yet barely a minute after the restart Derwent were 1-0 up. Substitute and sometime campus sports journalist Jake Farrell provided a peach of a cross that Baines met in the air, only to have his effort blocked. The ball fell for Brinkworth in space though, and the winger reacted quickly to slot home and put his team ahead.
Halifax reacted immediately, and almost scored when Derwent goalkeeper Seb Treasure flapped at a cross, leaving the ball bouncing precariously in the area before it was hoofed to safety. Later in the half Derwent threatened again when Walwyn came clean through on goal only to be stopped by a brilliant last-minute challenge by Lund, whilst Dan Atherton missed a glorious chance to seal the game when he stroked the ball just wide after breaking into the Halifax box.
Connor Brennan’s introduction gave his side new strength, but despite Halifax’s relentless pressure forcing Derwent back into their half for the last 15 minutes, Matt Hallam’s side held on to record an important win. After the game Derwent captain Matt Hallam, outstanding in the centre of the park for the Blues, praised his team’s attitude against difficult opponents.
“It was always going to be a tough game, we knew that beforehand. Halifax dominated, but we always knew that was going to be the case. We soaked up the pressure though, and the defence was key today. It was a fantastic team performance.” Halifax captain Tom Ragan thought his side deserved the draw though, saying: “Frustration is the word. We didn’t deserve to win but we didn’t do enough to deserve to lose either.”
Whilst Halifax lick their wounds, Derwent will take confidence from an impressive start to Spring Term college football.