Derwent secured the Revolution Premier League title with a relatively comfortable win over Alcuin. The champions survived an early scare, going a goal down in the opening minutes, but picked themselves up as the game progressed and ran out 4-1 winners.
Needing only a draw to take the title, there was a danger before the match of complacency, with the need for only a point sometimes meaning teams sit back and invite pressure. However, Derwent were impressive in the way they went about the match, calmly responding to going behind and then taking the game away from a dangerous Alcuin side.
After a delayed kickoff, it was Alcuin who drew first blood within the opening few minutes. A free kick played long into the Derwent box was met by Shelbourn, but his clearing header dropped to the feet of McLarty, who dispatched his volley into the bottom corner from the edge of the box.
Derwent almost immediately responded through centre back Euan Bell, but his header flew wide. For the next few minutes they seemed shell-shocked, only just waking up to the challenge that Alcuin posed to their title bid.
After a few scrappy exchanges, Derwent equalised with their first real foray into the Alcuin half. Joe Easter took aim from just outside the box, with his shot taking a wicked deflection off an Alcuin defender and wrong-footing Richardson in goal. Derwent won’t be complaining about the nature of the goal, with the deflection maybe being the bit of luck they needed to push on and secure the title.
Easter nearly doubled his tally minutes later, with his curling shot being pushed onto the post by Richardson in the Alcuin goal. There were a few chances for either team leading up to half time, with Alcuin’s Joe Carver striking the woodwork. A blinder of a save from Cooper just before the break kept Derwent level, with the keeper denying Perera from point-blank range.
Going into the break, both teams looked pretty evenly matched. Alcuin were looking the more likely to score but Derwent had replied well to the early setback and were starting to string some nice passes together. Derwent’s Nicholson was brought off with a suspected injury, replaced by Eloka Ntephe who dropped into right back with Weighall moving out to the right wing.
The next goal was to be crucial, with Derwent looking for a lead to calm the nerves and Alcuin pushing to cap off a fantastic season with a win. It was the champions however who took the lead, Ferrao being played in down the left side of the box by Gwinnett and smoothly slotting home past the onrushing Richardson.
Sam Weighall’s move up the pitch to right wing was paying dividends, with his pace and strength causing Alcuin problems. Barely seconds after going ahead, Derwent found themselves with a 2-goal cushion, Weighall the scorer. He brilliantly flicked on a lofted ball through to Ferrao making a run down the left wing, who in turn found the perfect return ball into the box for Weighall to flick into the far corner, all but securing the title.
There were a few chances for Alcuin to claw a goal back soon after, with Shelbourn producing a brilliant goal-line clearance to deny McLarty a second. McLarty shot wide from a tight angle a few minutes later, with these chances needing to be converted to bring them back into the contest.
It was Derwent instead who ruthlessly sealed the win with their next chance, Jamie Trant slotting home after some nice build up play from Shelbourn and Ferrao. With their 3-goal lead, Derwent looked comfortable and cruised to the final whistle, securing the Revolution Premier Division title in the process.
Title-winning captain Ryan Gwinnett had this to say after their victory: ‘This is the third weekend when all five Derwent teams have won every game and it’s the fifth unbeaten weekend as a club, which is a great achievement for us. With regards to our performance today, at half-time we tried to push the defence out to stop them getting space and to allow us to play our football and that’s when everything starting happening. We started playing really well, and I thought we were superb in the second half. Eloka [Ntephe] had to fill in at right back and was fantastic, their left winger had a great first half and he managed to keep him quiet in the second so I’m thrilled with that. Just very pleased to win the league!’
Asked whether there is pressure entering next season on the back of such an impressive campaign, Gwinnett says ‘that was always the aim, we wanted to win both terms. The new system where you can play uni players does benefit us. We haven’t had the best luck in the leagues but we’ve stepped it up this season and set winning both leagues as an aim for the season. We’ve accomplished the first win and hopefully can push on next term’
Alcuin captain Peter Kennick was proud of his team’s impressive league campaign: ‘We didn’t start the season how we wanted to with a draw and a loss, but after that we started to pick up some really good results as the players started to gel better and the freshers got into it. I think that’s what’s been the enjoyable thing, when I joined Alcuin were known as the physical team, and you’ve seen today that we can pass and we can play well’
Vision Man of the Match: Joe Easter (Derwent).
Derwent 1sts XI: Cooper; Weighall, Bell, Shelbourn, Askham; Easter, Ingham, Gwinnett; Ferrao, Nicholson, Trant. Subs: Ntephe.
Alcuin 1sts XI: Richardson; Kennick, Pickar, Perera, Quintana; Carver, McConnell, Garn, Fernando, Sarin; McLarty. Subs: Harget, Barrie.
The Revolution Premier League title race as it happened: http://www.yorkvision.co.uk/sport/revolution-premier-league-live-blog-231114/23/11/2014