The final game of week 6 in the College Cup saw heartbreak for Vanbrugh 1sts as they let a 3-1 lead slip away against Derwent 2nds in a match where they needed a win to stand a good chance of qualifying for the knock out stages of the cup.
This game was physical and fast paced, both teams using set pieces to their advantages, but Derwent made sure to let their presence be known amid Vanbrugh’s swift attacking tactics. Vanbrugh were emphatic from kick off, Harry O’Brian quickly establishing his dead ball strength with an inch perfect free kick from the half way line straight to the head of Liam Sides who could only head over. Vanbrugh took the lead within the first ten minutes, an impressive turn from Elliot Ross playing himself through one on one with keeper Aylett and slotting a cool finish into the near left hand hand corner. The game remained even, with Derwent having their fair share of chances, Eyles firing from long range to force a good save from stand in Vanbrugh keeper Kallum Taylor.
Though the possession and chances seemed equally shared out, Vanbrugh managed to double their lead after fifteen minutes; O’Brian’s on target free kick from thirty yards out, aimed into the box but with no touch from anyone flew all the way into the net, Vanbrugh’s special weapon once again producing the goods.
It was clear that the game would be very end to end early on, and no sooner had Vanbrugh’s two goal cushion sunk in, it was halved by Michael Whittall, heading into the top right hand corner from Alex d’Albertanson’s corner. The momentum was now with Derwent, who looked to draw level before half time. Joe Eyles played through d’Albertanson who looked clean through but was caught by Graham who intercepted , Vanbrugh needing to slow the game down to avoid losing their valuable lead. They had a chance to restore their two goal lead before the break, which would have helped their nerves considering how cherished a win would be, with O’Brian’s shot hitting Ross, whose miss-kick fell to Wignall who rushed his shot from a good position and fired high and wide.
The second half began with both captains assuring their team of the importance of the next 30 minutes, with a win for Derwent seeing them in pole position for qualification. This looked out of sight however within the first ten minutes due to a great goal from Liam Sides. Joe Lund played it into the striker who still had so much to do, taking the ball past the defender and smashing home into the top corner.
From there Vanbrugh should have been out of sight, and would have been but for a wonder goal from Alex d’Albertanson. The ball fell to the midfielder on the edge of the box and juggling the ball over two Vanbrugh players, volleyed into the top corner, with Taylor stood still, only able to watch the ball hit the net. Derwent now had fifteen minutes to get a draw, Vanbrugh had to hold on but couldn’t keep the ball, showing signs of panic as Derwent pressed and pressed for the equaliser. Jack Low did well to control the ball as it was hooked forward on the counter attack but his finish was week and an easy save for Taylor. The YUSU President fought hard to keep his side in the lead saving another from Low soon after, the striker doing well to get into a shooting position, but with such fierce pressure the goal looked inevitable. With a corner conceded from Low’s shot, there was an almighty goal mouth scramble which resulted in Sabas poking the ball forward to Elvin, who at point blank range couldn’t miss, a pitch invasion followed, Derwent leveling with an ugly goal that couldn’t compare to the earlier brilliant strikes from both teams, but they emerged with what they needed, pulling the score back to three all and earning a well fought draw.
Derwent 2nds captain Michael Whittall had a draw on his mind before the game ‘managed to do it the hard way, I asked for a 0-0 draw and I got 3-3 so chuffed to bits, feel sorry for Vanbrugh but cracking team spirit, bit lost for words because I’m knackered now’. His side face Halifax 1sts next week, with both sides with qualification in their sights.
Vanbrugh captain Max Brewer was, with the rest of the team, gutted with the result; ‘last week and this week we’ve both been in a good position and (conceded) sloppy goals at the end so it’s two very unlucky rolls of the dice that have cost us going through so (we’re) really disappointed but I think there’s still a mathematical chance but realistically we’re going to be in the plate’. Vanbrugh will hope for a miracle next week but will likely have to settle for the plate this year.