James thrash Goodricke to go top of the league

James 6; Singleton 20, 36, 50; Jopson 42, 76, 81 Goodricke 0

A brace of hat-tricks from Jopson and Singleton finished off an underwhelming Goodricke 1s and sent James top of the league.

James were able to dominate the men in green for much of the game and were rewarded by way of some clinical and often spectacular finishing from their men up top.

The scoring started with a superlative ball being lashed into the top right from twenty-yards by Singleton and was rounded off with Andrew Jopson finishing Jobbling’s delightful pass with a chipped finish.

This match was in stark contrast to the reverse fixture last term. Whilst James ultimately dominated both games, the gulf between the two was defined by the lack of profligacy that the Black Swan had shown in the former.

After sending a strong message last week in their 6-1 victory over newly-promoted Derwent 2s, Mandeep Sangha will have been pleased to have seen his team return to the form that saw them reach the College Cup Final last year.

The pressure to win was on James after Derwent 1s produced a fierce performance against Halifax on Saturday.

This, however, was relieved early on as Singleton received the cleared ball from a Jopson free-kick and guided a wonder-strike over everyone, including a despairing Alex Woolley, into the Goodricke net.

Goodricke showed glimpses of a brighter future in this term’s campaign throughout the half but Billy Bruce’s turn and shot just before James opened the scoring turned out to be a green speck on a black day for his team.

James had quickly found their rhythm and the second goal came just a quarter of an hour later as Singleton slipped the Goodricke offside trap and coolly slotted home.

A similar goal for Jopson followed and it was clear that James were heading out of sight.

It didn’t take long after the break for Singleton to complete his hat-trick, hitting high into the net from close range after a messy scramble in the box.

At this point the game dulled somewhat, James content to sit and soak up Goodricke’s feeble attempts at pressure. The Greens were frustrated in their apparent lack of teeth and Bruce, who at times last season looked like one of ‘Ricke’s brightest, became greedy, lashing a shot near post when the pass to Jeffery looked easier.

Despite this, one Goodricke player, as ever, looked desperate to keep his side in the game. Woolley was able to pull off a spectacular double save from Singleton as game began to draw to close alas, his heroics were for nought. The poorly cleared ball fell straight to a James player and Jopson fired once more into the net.

The rout was ultimately finished a long time before even that goal but Jopson will be especially pleased with his subsequent effort. Taking in a plum pass from Jobbling he was able to turn his man and chip an oncoming Alex Woolley with a deft precision.

Captain Mandeep Sangha commented afterwards that he was pleased with his team’s performance and praised their clinical finishing as the key to their success: “We were very professional out there today and I think we took our chances well.”

Sangha was keen to emphasize that whilst knocking Derwent off their perch is of course their ultimate ambition for the term it was important that his team concentrated on each individual game just so, so as to avoid slipping up as they did last season against Alcuin.

James: Balzan, Sangha(c), Elliot, McCormick, Axford, Jopson, Gill, Jobbling, Davies, Edwards, Singleton; Subs: Carr, Clarkson

Goodricke: Woolley, Lewis, Carmichael, Anderson, Duffin, Sullivan, Osbourne, Sides, Hurst, Bruce, Jeffery; Subs: Courtney, Tandy, Lithur

Man of the Match: Singleton (James)