Derwent 2nds – 2 (Nicholson 39, 82)
Alcuin 1sts – 0
DERWENT 2NDS continued their outstanding run of form toppling another 1sts team for the third consecutive week. Today it was Alcuin’s turn to face the newly promoted side, and despite their efforts they were unable to halt a Derwent 2nds team.
It was a high-tempo start to the game; both teams fighting for position with Derwent pegging Alcuin back in their own half in the early stages. This counterbalanced Derwent 2nds’ recent habit of starting games a little sluggishly, with their passing not as crisp as it can be.
Jack Low caused trouble down his wing all day, making a nice turn allowing him to put a dangerous cross into the box which just evaded the head of Frank Simpson, and if the connection had been made Derwent would have taken an early lead.
Alcuin utilised their pace well, breaking quickly throughout with Fernando, McLarty and Nestor the only troublemakers to occasionally worry Derwent. Derwent were once caught napping at the back, McLarty squeezed in between the Derwent centre-backs and his disguised shot missed the post by fractions.
Alcuin were defensively cohesive for the majority of the first half, as Derwent struggled to link up in the final third and find that killer ball to break the deadlock.
Euan Bell must have been practising his ‘luscious volleys’ all week, spurred on by false reports of the phenomena in his last match, as he hit the bar with a great effort. After the match he was insistent that the ball had crossed the line and that he had been denied consecutive weekends with his name on the scoresheet. Little did he know that his Sunday appearance for the firsts would see him rewarded for his misfortune.
In what had been a close game so far, it would take something special to open the scoring, and unsurprisingly the talismanic Rob Nicholson took a chance well outside the box that sailed over a poorly positioned Alcuin ‘keeper, giving Derwent a 1-0 lead at the end of the first half.
Ryan Conner found himself in a number of positions for the black and blue today, in his usual defensive employment in the first half, on the floor pulling off an impressive goal-saving block, and then moving into midfield after the interval as Derwent looked to see the game out.
Alcuin spent the entire second half looking for a way back into the game, taking into account the windy disposition of the 3G and testing Derwent’s goalkeeper Felix Aylett who had a magnificent game pulling off many game-saving stops. Alcuin skipper Peter Kennick came close with his long-range effort dipping too late to trouble Aylett and passing over the bar. Derwent’s nonchalant centre-back pairing of Euan Bell and Luca Castiglione also had standout performances, with Castiglione equalling his partner’s effort in the first half, hitting the bar himself after a surging run late on in the game.
After soaking up ungodly amounts of attacking pressure, Derwent were able to put the game out of sight in the last ten minutes, when Alcuin’s Richardson would double his tally of mishaps in a rather suspect performance overall, allowing Rob Nicholson to sneak the ball into the net after Jack Low had been denied from close range.
This was another great performance from the Derwent 2nds, who are learning how to grind out a win even when not playing the football that they would like to. They dug in and collected another three points, not only effectively guaranteeing life in the Revolution Premier League for the forseeable future, but also putting them in a position where they are snapping at the heels of James and their first team collegiate peers.
Derwent’s Felix Aylett: “It was a very difficult game… Alcuin are a competitive side and I was impressed by the determination shown by us today. The wind was a nightmare and penned us in our half for the entire second half, but we took our chances and came away with a well deserved victory.”
Alcuin’s Peter Kennick: “On the floor we didn’t really have the quality today. We didn’t deserve to win, but I don’t think they deserved to win 2-0, it could have easily been a draw, two scrappy goals [cost us the game]. Our performance wasn’t at the level that I expect.”
Vision MotM: Luca Castiglione (Derwent)
Derwent 2nds: Aylett (c); Conner; Castiglione; Bell; Reynolds; Stones; Ntephe; Simpson; Mulligan; Low; Nicholson. Subs: Whittaker. Alcuin 1sts: Richardson; Kennick (c); Pickar; Perera; Quintana; Barrie; McConnell; Nestor; Garn; Fernando; McLarty. Subs: Strong, Harget.