Pictures by Daniel Golton
Langwith 3rds made an imperious start to their College Vase campaign, overcoming their Hes-West opponents Alcuin 4ths 4-1.
The first knockings of the College Cup were played out last night in the form of the Vase qualifiers. This year’s Cup will be the first entirely hosted on the new JLD astro and with the sun setting behind the goals it made for a suitably theatrical backdrop to the opening games of the tournament.
COLLEGE VASE, GROUP E
Goodricke 3rds 3-2 Vanbrugh 4ths: Goodricke opened their Vase account in style in the early game but it was not without difficulty. Early dominance from Vanbrugh forced a 2-1 lead heading into the final ten minutes of the match, but Goodricke, out of character from last term’s flimsy mentality that saw them finish 4th in the bottom division of college football, pressed on and were eventually rewarded with a late equaliser.
At this point the game became stretched as both teams frantically went in search of a winner, Vanbrugh showing profligacy at one end by firing over a point-blank chance from a corner that seemed easier to score; this was to be their downfall.
With a clearance from the Vanbrugh defence only falling to an onrushing wall of green shirts, Goodricke surged forward en-masse. A slick pass to the right was hoofed into the box, where it bobbled, players around the ball hesitating, before the Goodricke striker finally reacted with a spectacular bicycle-kick into the roof of the Vanbrugh net.
Langwith 3rds 4-1 Alcuin 4ths: It was a golden day on the JLD for Langwith 3rds, who following their desperately unfortunate relegation from the Revolution 2nd Division earlier this term, showed teams around them they will be a force in this year’s Vase.
From the off the Yellow and Black were on the offensive, Matt Guy skewing an easy chance wide from the angle and an ever flamboyant Brad Chalker firing narrowly over. It wouldn’t take long though for the 3rds to break the deadlock.
With the Alcuin defence caught ball-watching on the Langwith attack, Charles “CJ” Chiweshe was slipped through on goal where he poked into the far corner. Langwith secured a quickfire double not long after as a corner whipped in from the left landed plum on the head of Guy to help him atone for his earlier miss.
The second-half saw the Yellow and Black lift their foot off the gas a little, something captain Nathan Mallett may be worried about going into this group’s harder games. Alcuin took advantage of this lethargy to pull one back to 3-1 following CJ’s replica of his first goal but it would prove to be in vain as Langwith finished them off, Matt Edwards lashing in from the rebound of a Chiweshe shot.
James 5ths 3-0 Hes-East Babas: Life for the Hes-East Babas did not start well as they were comfortably dispatched by the James 5ths in the day’s late game.
Featuring players cobbled together from those unable to make Langwith’s 4th team and the remnants of the 3rd Division’s whipping boys, Constantine 2s, this was a team that never looked set to upset any form books. Throughout the game they showed little attacking threat, their one effort on goal narrowly wide from a physically dominant Hamid.
James 5ths took full advantage of their opponent’s incoherency as a team, the inevitable finally happened mid-way through the first half as a long-ball over the top was pocketed with some ease. This was shortly followed by goal number two as the Babas failed to clear from a corner and the ball was bundled home in the resulting melee.
The game was finally put to bed in the second half when the James striker leapt upon a ball only palmed away by the Hes-East keeper following a free-kick. Despite the best efforts of Hes-East’s former Southampton U-11s player and captain, Josh Hoakip, the Babas could find no way back into the match.
The road looks long for the Babas but for James, they couldn’t have wished for a better start.