ANDREW JOPSON, Michael Whittall and Mirhire Overo-Tarimo got on the score sheet as James and Derwent battled it out in a 2-2 draw.
The game got off to a flying start with James taking the lead within the first ten minutes. Derwent’s centre backs were clearly still asleep and played a very sloppy back pass to Derwent ‘keeper Cooper. Jopson was on the front foot and quickly intercepted the poor back pass before running past the ‘keeper and slotting the ball into an empty net.
However, Derwent responded well to the early blow and had a couple of good chances soon after. Their first chance came from a corner, when Overo-Tarimo got up well for a header but couldn’t manage to steer it on target. Derwent were on the attack again a few minutes later and were playing some nice one-touch football around the box. The ball eventually fell to Overo-Tarimo who slotted it into the roof of the net with a first time finish from five yards.
James were still very much dominant and were quickly in on goal once again through Jopson. He picked the ball up around 30 yards out and knocked it past Derwent centre back Bell and used his rapid acceleration to storm away from the Derwent defence. Once he was in for a one-on-one he decided to go for power over precision, thus his powerful attempt could only find the crossbar before going out for a goal kick.
Jopson was on fire at this point and he managed to get in behind Derwent’s defence once again after Gill played a great long through ball to him that split Derwent’s defence like the Red Sea. Jopson then used his pace to sprint away from Derwent’s defenders before rounding the keeper and rolling the ball into the back of an open net from ten yards.
Derwent once again responded quickly to James’ goal, this time with a goal through defender Whittall. They won a corner and after a good delivery Whittall managed to out-jump his marker and find the back of the net with a powerful header.
Derwent then stepped up their game a bit and Naylor had a spectacular volley from 25 yards out smash against the crossbar soon after their goal.
The first half ended 2-2, but truthfully James were unlucky not to be in the lead at this point after exploiting Derwent’s high defensive line over and over again. However, during the second half the game started to change and Derwent started to dominate.
Weighall began to look very dangerous and he was having a great battle against Axford on the wing. Derwent were on the front foot throughout this half and were dominating in midfield whilst also looking very dangerous on the wings.
However, James’ centre-back partnership of Elliott and Dom was as solid as a brick wall, and time after time they denied Derwent from creating clear-cut chances through their well-timed tackles and clever interceptions.
Derwent had the majority of the possession in this half but their final ball was lacking, and this, combined with James’ well drilled centre backs, meant that despite their possession they didn’t create too many clear-cut chances. Overo-Tarimo was managing to get forward well and had a few good headers but these truthfully weren’t too much of a threat to James.
The best chance of this half actually fell to James with around ten minutes left in the game. Derwent failed to clear their lines from a James corner and the ball ended up falling to James substitute Austin who smashed the ball on the half volley from 20 yards out towards the right side of the goal. Cooper was at full stretch to make a good save; however, his save fell to Gill who headed in the rebound from three yards out. James’ celebrations were cut short once they realised that the goal had been disallowed as Gill was offside. The league giants finished level, a result which certainly suits Derwent.
Derwent 1sts XI (4-2-3-1): Cooper; Whittall (Nicholson), Bell, Shelbourn, Askham; Overo-Tarimo, Naylor; Weighall (Ingram), Gwinnett, Ferrao (Low); Trant.
James 1sts XI (4-4-1-1): Balzan; Sangha, Elliott, McCormack, Axford; Tuite (Carr), Gill, Jobling, Davies (Austin); Edwards; Jopson.
THE KEY PERFORMERS:
Weighall (RM) – He was a constant threat and used his pace and power to create chances. He also put in a shift defensively to help Derwent stay solid at the back.
Andy Naylor (CM) – He was great in the middle of the park and was probably Derwent’s most creative player. He was very composed on the ball and was effortlessly spraying pings all over the pitch. He was Derwent’s equivalent of Paul Scholes.
Mirhire Overo-Tarimo (CDM) – He played as a holding midfielder, but still managed to be an attacking outlet throughout. Due to his height he was a threat from set pieces and his Yaya style runs from deep also caused James numerous problems.
Andrew Jopson (ST) – The game’s MOTM. His pace allowed him to get in behind the Derwent defence numerous times and he was always two steps ahead of Derwent’s centre backs.
Callum Elliot (CB) – Elliot was solid at centre back and was particularly impressive in the second half. He was great at tracking Overo-Tarimo’s runs in the second half and making last man tackles and clearances.
Dom McCormack (CB) – McCormack was dominant throughout and didn’t lose a header all game. His partnership with Elliot was immense and they saved James time after time in the second half. The partnership was reminiscent of Ferdinand and Vidic’s in 2008/09.