Football: Alcuin 1sts 2-2 James 2nds

ALCUIN TOUGHED it out to gain a point against James College in a 2-2 draw in the College Cup. The JLD played host to Alcuin 1sts and Black Swan 2nds, in what was a tight game filled with controversy and fierceness.

Alcuin set the tone of the game by taking the lead within the first 10 minutes. Sean Perara played a long ball forward that was converted by the head of Fernando, as the Black Swan keeper Balzan came rushing out. From the outset this match was reminiscent of a League Cup tie in Stoke, as long balls and strong tackles flew in from every way.

A free kick on the edge of Alcuin’s penalty area, defended by a three man wall, was cleared for a corner, Alcuin players adamantly called for a goal kick as they claimed the ball took a nick off a Black Swan man, but were unsuccessful in their plea. The corner was taken short, and quickly whipped into the danger area with the No. 4 Axford managing to get onto the end of it.

The game started to heat up at this point with the likes of Gill making strong defensive headers and crunching tackles on Alcuin players. The diligent Black Swan defence made way for a spirited attacking spell as Gill drove into the final 3rd but was halted by the Alcuin defence.

James seemed the better side at the latter stages of the first half with a long range effort from Spilsbury fizzing over the bar. The James attacking spirit brought a succession of corners, each producing a series of small scuffles causing the referee to award a penalty for an apparent hand-to-face offense. Steel hammered home the penalty to the keeper’s right.

The whistle blew just as Alcuin showed some spirit at the end of the first half. McConell’s fancy feet led to a shot which unfortunately dragged wide. At the break, James seemed the more determined and confident, Gill in particular utilising his aerial strength. There was hope yet for Alcuin though as the second half sprang into action, a run of flick ons leading to Hinchcliffe being through on goal before he was brought down ferociously by the keeper and hurtled over. The referee awarded a penalty but showed no card to the keeper, even with a swarm of Alcuin players calling for Balzan to be sent off. The opportunity though went begging as Fernando hit it wide, leaving the Black Swan still in the lead.

James had a chance to settle the match when Baker intercepted a poor pass out from the Alcuin defence, but his shot agonisingly hit the post. Frustrated, Alcuin began to lose their discipline in the later stages of the second half, often being penalised in dangerous areas.

Alcuin won a free kick at the edge of the attacking third, Fernando, unfazed by his penalty miss, hammered the ball into the
top corner; a Yaya-esque strike from the Alcuin attacker.

Both sides played well but Alcuin will be kicking themselves for not taking their penalty chance. Alcuin now must gain a point against Derwent in their next game and hope others do them a favour. Alcuin Captain, Fearn, had this to say about the game: “The keeper should have gone for our penalty. If we’d taken our chances better, we would have won it, but you have to applaud the team for fighting.”