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Wentworth dismantle Vanbrugh to clinch Plate victory

The Plate final concluded this year's College Cup, with Wentworth seconds producing a superb performance to beat Vanbrugh thirds 3-1

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Plate Final

Images: Agatha Torrance

The College Plate final brought a fitting close to another enthralling year of collegiate football, with a consuming battle fought out between two finalists whom few would have expected to reach these late stages.

Although both Wentworth and Vanbrugh wanted to lay claim to their Cinderella ending, it was the graduates who emerged victorious, after producing a superbly judged counter attacking display to pick apart their opponents. For all Vanbrugh's attacking possession, they struggled to produce chances against a stubborn Wentworth defence.

Wentworth didn't have to wait long before opening the scoring, the first goal arriving mere minutes into the encounter. An onrushing Lachlan Murray fired on target inside the area, and, despite a superb palm from Kallum Taylor, Matt Beacham was on hand to slot home the bobbling ball.

Wentworth pressed for more goals, with Samir Abdoulaye having his close range cannon reflexively saved by Taylor. Vanbrugh, however, were enjoying more possession in the final third, though they seemed to be floundering when carving out chances.

Adam Lewis sliced in from the wing, but his resulting shot found only the side netting, whilst Mark Lajca's cross looped dangerously on goal, this well claimed by Jon Cook.

Wentworth doubled their lead, and again the source was the powerful running of Murray. As he sprinted on goal, Taylor attempted to rush out to meet the ball, misjudging the Scotsman's acceleration. Murray was able to composedly lob the stranded keeper.

After this goal, Wentworth changed to a men-behind-the-ball tactic, with Murray often their only attacking outlet. This certainly made life difficult for Vanbrugh as they entered the second half.

Adam Lewis did manage to enjoy a gilt-edged opportunity, firing hard at goal from six yards. Within the blink of an eye, Jon Cook somehow contrived to pull off arguably the save of the tournament, jumping high to tip over the bar and leaving the JLD stunned.

Vanbrugh were passing nicely but remained unable to force a goal, whilst Wentworth constantly threatened on the counter attack. Murray again forced Taylor into a good low save, before the leggy Wentworth man was the catalyst for another goal, the final nail in Vanbrugh's coffin.

With little resistance from the Vanbrugh defence, Taylor was again forced to tackle the pacey Murray outside his area. Although forced wide, Murray managed to swing in a cross, leaving Mutlu Cukurova with the simplest of finishes.

Vanbrugh showed heart in the final stages despite their impending defeat, showcasing the fight that had marked their unexpected progress throughout the tournament. Charlie Frobisher latched onto Callum Priest's scintillating throughball, shooting hard but ultimately too high. Adam Lewis scored a late consolation, cutting inside the area before finding the corner with his left boot.

Wentworth captain Dan Howdon was thrilled with his side's surprising victory, completely untipped before the start of the Cup. He told Nouse: "I'm absolutely delighted, all the way through the tournament we've played really well. I think this was probably our best performance throughout the whole thing."

Vanbrugh's captains Mike Sutcliffe and Mark Lajca were understandably disappointed after the defeat, stating "The game today didn't go our way, but to get this far at all is an incredible achievement. Fair play to Wentworth, they played really well and deserved the victory."

Vanbrugh: Taylor, Habeck, Lajca, Frobisher, Barnard, Fisher (Connolly), Robinson (Mason)(Coy), Knight, Poynter-Hall, Priest, Lewis

Man of the match: Alex Habeck

Wentworth: Cook, Townson, Kosunalp, Eslick, Muladdin, Beacham, Rhodes, Kearney (Lomas), Abdoulaye, Cukurova, Murray (Yamaguchi)

Man of the match: Lachlan Murray

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