Supporters of the underdog in sport, avert your eyes. This will not be pleasant reading. In a game that was billed beforehand as a David versus Goliath clash, David had his ass well and truly handed to him. Derwent 1sts demolished Alcuin 3rds 7-0 on the astro today, in a brutally efficient performance that was supplemented by a powerful hat-trick from midfielder Dan Atherton.
For a few minutes after kick-off, lowly Alcuin maintained parity with Derwent, college football league champions for the past two terms and College Cup favourites. With the clock approaching five minutes played and scores still level, perhaps Alcuin’s players could even dare to dream for the impossible. A win would be stretching credibility, but maybe, if they played the games of their lives and luck stayed on their side, a hard-fought draw could be stolen from Derwent’s vice-like grip.
The dream was crushed when striker David Kirk reacted superbly to head in the opener after a Matt Hallam set-piece. The clock hadn’t even hit five minutes. There was to be no way back for Alcuin afterwards. Kirk’s goal opened the floodgates, and less than ten minutes later the powerful Josh Baines leapt highest to direct a header from a Hallam corner under the body of Alcuin’s goalkeeper and make it 2-0. Soon after Derwent, pressuring the Alcuin defence into conceding fouls, were awarded a free kick on the edge of the area. Atherton elected to take charge, and cooly curled his shot low around the wall and into the far corner: 3-0. There was minimal celebration from Atherton as he trotted back to the centre circle for the re-start, giving further evidence that this game was merely business for a Derwent side keen to rack up the goal count and get back on form, after a less than impressive showing in the previous match, a miserly 1-0 win against the postgrads of Wentworth.
Alcuin finally managed to test goalkeeper Seb Treasure towards the end of the half with a header on target from striker Del Jahal, but that effort would be as close as the 3rds team would get to scoring. Despite typically strong efforts from the likes of Lev Harris, and top-class yelling from the increasingly hoarse-voiced David Ambrozejczyk, Alcuin could never get near the Derwent goal. Josh Baines at centre-back and captain Joe Boughtflower at right-back were in unforgiving form, providing Derwent with a redoubtedly solid base from which to attack.
And despite being already three goals up at the interval, attacking is what the Blues continued to do in relentless fashion as the second half began. Ten minutes after play resumed only manic scrambling from Alcuin’s defenders, who at one point cleared the ball off the line three times in succession in a matter of seconds, prevented Derwent from getting their fourth. Atherton had already cracked the ball off the Alcuin post with a stinging drive when full-back Steve “Wally” Walwyn finally opened the second half’s scoring, stealing in between Alcuin’s central defenders to poke the ball home from close range and make it 4-0.
Atherton got his second of the game with ten minutes to go, heading in from a corner, before minutes later grabbing his hat-trick with another towering header from yet another Hallam corner. With the final kick of the game winger Xander Brinkworth was rewarded for a match of strong running with the team’s seventh goal, his deflected shot rebounding in after Hallam’s set-piece delivery had fallen invitingly in the Alcuin penalty box.
Despite the emphatic nature of his team’s victory, Derwent captain Joe Boughtflower seemed almost nonplussed after the match, saying that his team still had room for improvement. “We can play better, but we’ll take the result,” he said. “We were strong from set pieces, and overall it was a good win today.”
If Boughtflower is to be believed, Alcuin can at least take some solace from the fact that Derwent only had an average day at the office. However the suspicion is that Alcuin will fail to see Boughtflower’s comments as any consolation for a hiding that was not unexpected, but probably far from pleasant. With Alcuin left to lick their wounds, Derwent now march on to bigger fish.
Man of the match: Dan Atherton shone with a hat-trick and Josh Baines impressed with a commanding defensive performance. But man of the match goes to Matt Hallam for a characteristically assured performance in central midfield, as well as providing the set piece deliveries leading to five of his team’s seven goals.