James will be bitterly disappointed at the final standings of the revolution premier league this term. The football they displayed today was immense, beating a decent Halifax side with a flurry of second half goals. Halifax should probably have finished higher than 5th in the table as they have the quality to do so. Both of these sides will be looking to push on next term when the College Cup is within sight.
After arriving 20 minutes late to my assigned fixture (being a player/reporter demands better time management than I am capable of unfortunately), I was informed by my Nouse counterpart that nothing of interest had occurred thus far.
A skewed shot from the colossal Ralph Gill was enough to kick the James attack into action, as soon after Gwyn Davies, who was outstanding on the left flank today, chipped the goalkeeper from just outside the box to give the Black Swan the lead.
Despite missing Conor McCoy in the midfield, Halifax began to show off some of the great passing football that they are capable of, with captain Garo Heath going close and Marsh blasting over from outside the box.
Unfortunately for ‘Fax, A Ralph Gill pass, collected by Matt Singleton who slid the ball past the onrushing keeper, doubled James’ lead going into half time.
A number of half time substitutions, including the removal of Sangha, for James may in retrospect not have been the wisest decision as within the first five minutes of the second half a ball over the top reached Garo Heath, who played it across to Omar Chadli who didn’t quite connect with the shot as well as he could have but luckily a fumbling James keeper allowed Heath to nip in and put Halifax back in the game. It took only a couple more minutes before Heath latched onto another through ball and found an equaliser to stun James who had up until this point been in control of the contest.
It was not only reporters who were sent scrambling, trying to keep up with the action, but the Halifax keeper must have been spooked somewhat to find his team suddenly back on level terms as he managed to drop a routine corner towards the front post behind his goalline to allow James to regain the lead.
A demoralised Halifax soon found themselves under the cosh with Singleton and Gill surging forward. The game started to open up, with both teams bypassing the midfield with end-to-end play that was great to watch. After a great chance by Heath to equalise, beating two players and forcing a save, James went back up the other end and Carr flicked an Edwards cross into the roof of the net to put a bit of daylight between the two sides as the sun set on Heslington East.
Credit is due to ‘Fax. With nothing to play for except pride, they chased the game until the final whistle, but unfortunately it was running away from them with the score at 4-2 with around fifteen minutes remaining. James waited until the last minute to add one last goal to their tally for the term, with Gill teeing up Edwards who scored one more time against a ‘Fax keeper who you would assume won’t be sending out any Christmas cards to a James attack that kept him busy all afternoon.
As everyone knows, James are a very strong side, and expect them only to improve as we near the College Cup. Halifax have room for improvement but are an innovative counter-attacking side who will cause problems for some of the bigger boys all year long.
Garo Heath: “I didn’t think there was that much between the two sides, especially when the score was 2-2. Big well done to the freshers who we relied on today for a big performance.”
Mandeep Sangha: “We showed a lot of character today, Gwyn Davies was immense, and is developing into a confident, versatile player who can play in a number of positions. He is my man of the match for sure.”
MOTM: Gwyn Davies
James 1sts XI: Balzan, Sangha, Elliot, McCormick, Axford, Davies, Gill, Jobbling, Edwards, Singleton, Jopson. Subs: Dee Tuite, Rob Carr
Halifax 1sts XI: Connor, Brooks, Bull, Marsh, Bruce, Durbeck, Collins, Bowden, Dunning, Heath, Waring. Subs: Goldthorpe, Gillespie, Chadli