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James thirds hit for six as Derwent make final

Derwent firsts proved their credentials as potential winners of the College Cup as they cruised past an unfortunate James thirds side to reach the final against Halifax firsts

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Cup Semi Final

[flickr-slideshow tags="derwent1sjames3s18613"]
Images: Dan Holland

Derwent firsts proved their credentials as potential winners of the College Cup as they cruised past an unfortunate James thirds side to reach the final against Halifax firsts.

Despite the eventual scoreline, however, the first ten minutes had 0-0 written all over the game; the only thing of note that happened was Derwent striker David Kirk being caught offside as both teams started nervously. Thankfully, after 12 minutes, the flood-gates opened.

Kirk fed a piercing ball to Joe Easter in front of goal and after the ball ping-ponged off each of the three defenders surrounding Easter, he suddenly found himself with the ball in front of goal again as he coolly tucked the ball into the net.

After a quarter of an hour, Derwent nearly doubled their lead. Kirk won a free kick on the right-hand side and left-back Ollie Harrison's curling effort forced a decent save from James goalkeeper Andy Lake.

The ensuing corner found the head of Harrison, but his headed effort fizzed off the post. The ball was only cleared as far Ryan Gwinnett on the edge of the box and his bouncing volley was, once again, well dealt with by Lake.

Nevertheless, in their next play, Derwent doubled their lead when Tom Brandreth's long throw was nipped into goal by the low head of Mirhire Overo-Tarimo as James' defence failed to react.

Two minutes later, Derwent found another goal that was, again, a tad unlucky on James' part. Gwinnett broke on goal and fired off a shot that fizzed off the base of the upright; but as the James defence cleared the ball, Sam Earle stood intercepted and the ball ricocheted into the goal past a helpless Lake.

With Derwent now comfortably in the lead, they took their foot off the gas, which allowed James to finally create some chances. A James free-kick from deep found the head of centre-back Jordan Steel at the far post but it was cleared off the line by Overo-Tarimo, with James' cries for handball dismissed by referee Joe Lawton.

Shortly before half-time, James found a goal that they believed could give them a foot in the game. Working quickly through the centre of the park, Will Goodwin found room to feed the ball to striker Alex White just inside the penalty area. White took a clever touch to keep the ball close to him before he hooked his right foot around the ball and tucked it into the bottom corner of the near post, far from the reaches Derwent shot-stopper Frank Woodcock.

If the scoreline had remained 3-1 going into half-time, then the second-half would have be a tense one. Derwent, on the other hand, weren't keen for this to happen as they added a fourth with only seconds to spare in the half.

From a seemingly non-threatening move, Easter fed the ball to Overo-Tarimo mid-way into the James half, who turned and fired a rocket of a strike into the top corner - Lake, again helpless, remained rooted to the spot as Overo-Tarimo continued the pattern of a wonder-strike being scored in each fixture of the semi-finals.

James came out completely deflated after the break and Derwent allowed the game to relax to an unexciting pace for the first 15 minutes. Gwinnett, Harrison and Easter each wasted chances of finding a fifth goal.

Derwent thought they had found their fifth goal after 48 minutes. Dan Atherton fed the ball to Kirk to the left of goal with just the keeper to beat, but he squared the ball to substitute Jamie Trant at the far post; Trant finished with ease, by the referee chalked off the goal for offside.

After Goodwin missed a rare chance for James with minutes to spare, Derwent finally found their fifth goal. Dave Belshaw put Atherton through on goal and the ever-reliable striker made no mistake as he dinked his shot over the onrushing goalkeeper.

Then, in the final play of the game, an undeterred Derwent decided to finish on an even bigger high. A superb one-two move between Earle and Trant freed the latter player down the right; his shot was confidently blocked by Lake, but he couldn't stop the ball from spilling into the path of Kirk who slotted home the follow-up.

Although James captain Ameer Alhasan was pleased that his team got this far, he felt his side were particularly unlucky: "In the end, a few of their goals were just in the right places for them; we didn't get the rub of the green. Of course, we deserved to lose but I think 6-1 was a bit of an unfair reflection on how successful we've been. I'm really proud of the boys, I'm not sure that any other thirds team has done this before".

A thrilled Derwent captain, Ollie Harrison, had this to say of his team: "I'm very happy, we did exactly what we needed. Against a threes-class team, we would have been very disappointed if we lost. Going into the final, the team's clicked and today was very, very fun"

Ahead of the College Cup final, Harrison added: "Being half a uni team - we are and they are - we know each other's players and their weaknesses, so it's going to be a great clash. They'll be individual battles there and I think it will be a difficult one but we're going into it with confidence".

Derwent: Woodcock, Askham, Brandreth, Belshaw, Harrison (C), Easter, Earle, Overo-Tarimo (D'Albertanson), Atherton, Kirk, Gwinnett (Trant)

Man of the match: Dan Atherton

James: Lake, Schofield, Manners, Steel, Beaglehole, Goodwin, Blumson (Wright), Mabe, Embleton (Williams), Alhasan (C) (Boedt), White

Man of the match: Will Manners

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