James one-two scuppers revamped Vanbrugh

James 1sts     2-1     Vanbrugh 1sts

Jopson (6)                    Siddle (90)

Gill (p) (12)


– Jopson’s composed finish, assisted by Gill, sets James on their way.

– Gill scores penalty following foul by Glanvill.

– Eleventh hour Siddle goal not enough.


Two goals in six first half minutes proved decisive as James edged Vanbrugh to kick off their title defence in glorious sunshine on the 3G.

Following a disappointing end to their College Cup campaign last year, new captain Mandeep Sangha will have been delighted with his side’s first half performance, with the Black Swans at their destructive best going forward.

Facing an inexperienced Vanbrugh backline, James smacked the opposing freshers back into their GCSE years. It took a simple ball over the top to put Andrew Jopson in on goal down the right channel, who duly poked it past the onrushing Darnell-Ford for the first of the game.

The James onslaught continued moments later when Tom Wheldon slipped David Saunders through, who might have done better than his poked effort wide.

No matter, for three minutes later Saunders launched another elusive run into the Vanbrugh box before being brought down by Elliot Glanvill. Ralph Gill stepped up, looked up, ran up and guided the ball into the top left corner. With just twelve minutes on the clock, and James two up, Vanbrugh players began openly weeping with despair, and I began sighing with relief that I hadn’t missed the 44 bus fifteen minutes before kick-off.

Vanbrugh, however, refused to lie down (mainly because that’s ill-advised during a game of football). A great interchange between Marco Basaglia and captain Joe Lund led to a brilliant cross by the former which just evaded the latter. The Vans* then switched to a 4-2-3-1 halfway through the first half, with Basaglia swapping wings and threading a great ball through to Siddle, whose heavy first touch allowed Simon to smother the resulting effort.

Despite this notable improvement as the half progressed, Vanbrugh’s hopes of a comeback nearly ended as quietly as David Bentley’s career when Callum Elliot’s marvellous volley flirted with the frame of the goal and over. Nevertheless, James went into the break cruisin’.

The second half, put lightly, was awful. As the second 45 minutes dragged on, my Nouse counterpart and I began speculating on why Bolton Wanderers are in financial meltdown, and whether residents of Heslington East ever leave their rooms by choice. As a result, I didn’t really see Vanbrugh’s consolation goal, but my informers tell me that Tom Siddle finished brilliantly. Well done, Tom.

Though James did enough to secure their first three points of the season, it’s no secret that they’re far from their best yet. And that’s exciting. Now, a word from James captain Mandeep Sangha before I have to remember I’m doing a degree:

“I was happy with the first half performance, in the second we died out a bit. But we had four new freshers today, so we’re obviously integrating them into the team, and with a few of the university [first team] boys coming back in, you’ll see a difference in two to three weeks’ time”.


*Nickname yet to be confirmed…or even considered.


James 1sts (4-4-2): Simon; Sangha (c), Gill, Elliot, Axford; Saunders, Fox, Wheldon, Davies; Jopson, Singleton.

Subs: Jones, Baker, Jobling.


Vanbrugh 1sts (4-5-1): Ford; Pygott, Belbin, Paulus, Glanvill; Lund (c), Siddle, Picknall, Carruthers, Basaglia; Softley.

Subs: Tabas.


Wong’s MOTM: Ralph Gill (James).

Winners of Wong’s MOTM do not receive a sponsor-provided bottle of champagne.