Derwent 1sts move step closer to league title

Derwent 1sts all but secured the Revolution Premier Division title for the second term running with a dominant 4-2 win over James. Barring a heavy loss to Derwent 2nds in the rescheduled derby, the title will be theirs again. James’ second loss of the term also means that a Derwent one-two is now guaranteed, with the 2nds lying on fifteen points, two ahead of James in third.

Goals from captain Ryan Gwinnett, Joe Easter, Tom Shelbourn and Mark Askham helped Derwent overcome a stubborn James side that was missing many first team players. James’ goals came from the impressive Andrew Jopson who added another two to his account for the season.

Derwent dominated possession from the off, with James’ midfield sitting quite deep and allowing Derwent’s dangerous midfield to work several opportunities. Skipper Gwinnett opened the scoring for Derwent with a composed finish before Jopson equalised and subsequently put James in the lead with a controversial goal, the striker looking a mile offside. Joe Easter scored the goal of the game with a beautiful free kick before defenders Shelbourn and Askham wrapped up the win for the men in black and blue.

Within the opening few minutes Derwent believed they had gone ahead through a Joe Easter volley that ricocheted off the bar, but the referee adjudged the ball to have not crossed the line.

A few missed chances later and Derwent had the opening goal, with Michael Whittall playing a measured chip over the defence to Gwinnett, who took the ball down nicely and finished high into the net.

Derwent continued to take the game to James with Belshaw heading wide and Easter having a shot deflected wide. However, James striker Jopson had other ideas and raced past Shelbourn before slotting home off the post.

James were soon to take the lead in highly controversial circumstances. Jopson received the ball before rounding the keeper and finishing, with the goal being allowed to stand despite the forward quite clearly being offside. Derwent were furious with the referee and rightly so.

Derwent continued to press forward, incensed by the decision, and Gwinnett should have bagged his second when he sliced over from a few yards out. Winger Sam Weighall was then denied by a flying save from Andy Balzan before Gwinnett was again denied an equaliser by a heroic goal line clearance from Dom McCormick.

Derwent finally found the equaliser with the last kick of the half. Awarded a free kick about 30 yards out, Joe Easter stepped up and curled an unstoppable shot into the top corner.

The Black Swan looked deflated at going behind just before the break and Derwent took full advantage at the start of the second half. Centre back Shelbourn somehow found himself in the opposition box and managed to side-foot home a pinpoint cross from Jack Low.

James striker Jopson started to look increasingly isolated up front, with the midfielders dropping deep to deny Derwent space in the final third. However, he did manage to fashion another chance, with his pace taking him through on goal before being crowded out by several Derwent players.

James captain Sangha then picked up an injury, and with no one to replace him the Black Swan were down to ten men.

Derwent eventually got the goal they needed to secure the win, with Gwinnett making a darting run into the box before firing straight at Balzan, the rebound falling perfectly for left-back Askham to calmly slot into the corner.

Derwent captain Gwinnett was delighted with his team’s performance: “I thought we were very strong today, we got caught with two sucker punches in the first half with a questionable offside decision. The second half was the best we have played all season and I’m very pleased to get a Derwent 1-2”.

Derwent 1sts: Cooper, Bell, Belshaw, Shelbourn, Askham; Whittall, Naylor, Easter; Weighall, Low, Gwinnett (c). Subs: Ntephe.

James 1sts: Balzan, Sangha (c), Elliott, McCormick, Axford; Fox, Jobling, Baker, Austin, Edwards; Jopson. Subs: Cauldwell.