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Postgrads hold off Halifax thirds in Plate victory

The champions of the Spring Term league in college football carried on their run of success over to the summer term as Wentworth's firsts side came out as 4-2 victors against an inspired Halifax thirds

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WENTWORTH FIRSTS 4-2 HALIFAX THIRDS
Vase Final

[flickr-slideshow tags="wentworth1shalifax2s200613"]
Images: Agatha Torrance

The champions of the Spring Term league in college football carried on their run of success over to the summer term as Wentworth's firsts side came out as 4-2 victors against an inspired Halifax thirds.

From the offset, the postgrads were the dominant side as Halifax failed to settle into a rhythm; perhaps the nerves of lifting the Plate were getting to them. In the opening minutes, Dom Green saw a goal-bound shot deflected wide, whilst Dave Clinton headed over the bar from the subsequent corner.

After five minutes, Wentworth's pressure finally cracked through the 'Fax defence. Some trickier by left-winger Vasileios Kourvelos won his side a corner. Ben Keane stepped up for the set-piece, which he took quickly and the low ball was tucked into goal by Clinton whilst Halifax's defenders failed to react.

Wenworth doubled their lead only a couple of minutes later, once again through Kourvelos. He was given too much time to cut inside from the left as he fired a low shot past a helpless Fax goalkeeper, Hamish Denham. So far, Denham had continually been let down by his defense.

On the 12 minute mark, Wentworth increased their lead to 3-0 as Halifax's shaky start began to cost them dearly. Beating the offside trap, the in-form Kourvelos was put through against the goalkeeper by Greg Harrison and the postgraduate goal machine made no mistake as he slotted the ball coolly past Denham.

With a quarter of an hour played, Halifax found enough motivation inside themselves to get them back into the game. Ed Henry hit a magnificent volley on the edge of the penalty area dangerously towards goal but, thankfully for Wentworth, it was deflected wide.

From the ensuing corner, Halifax found their first goal of the game. Johnny Stansfield came to to hit a shot off the bar. The ball fizzed back down onto the line and Wentworth goalkeeper Jon Cook was quick to claim the ball, but the referee had already decreed that the ball had crossed the line.

Halifax's goal had now given them the confidence to find a way back into the game after a nightmare start and the match was certainly a much more even affair until half-time.

The half-time break appeared to have been utilised more by Halifax as they came out as the more focused side for the second half, and it wasn't long until they found a deserved second goal.

As Halifax broke quickly through the centre of midfield, Wentworth centre-back Iain Parker headed clear an attempted lobbed through-ball from the penalty area, but his clearance only found the feet of opposing striker Alec Reick. Reick wasted no time as he smashed a perfect outswinging volley into the top corner of the goal with the outside of his foot.

With Halifax now only a goal away from an equaliser, the postgrads were keen on putting the game to bed. However, their final ball was often missing as their lone striker, Dom Green, failed to get any decent service from his teammates. Nevertheless, Wentworth's spells of possession were enough to keep the chasing Fax at bay.

The pacey Stanfield was certainly having the best of Halifax's chances as they desperately fought for an equaliser. Half-way into the second half, he forced a strong save from Cook as he burst down the right and shot from a tight angle, receiving the ball from a clever one-two with Reick.

Two minutes from time, Fax nearly found their equaliser under bizarre circumstances. Goalkeeper Denham stepped up to take free-kick deep on the right-hand side on the half-way line. His massive kick flew dangerously across goal as it nearly snuck into the net at the far post; Halifax were unlucky in not being able to get anything on the ball to turn it towards goal.

As Halifax continued to throw everything at Wentworth in search of a miraculous late equaliser, the postgrads put game to bed with the last move of the game. After winning a free kick on the break, the deep set-piece found Kourvelos lurking across the far side of the D. With a neat touch, he laid the ball back to Parker (now playing as a defensive midfielder) who fired a low shot across goal and into the side netting.

A down-trodden Halifax captain James McNeill told Nouse: "If we weren't as sloppy at the start then it would have been a different story. We made it hard for ourselves and we nearly got there. We conceded the last one because we were going all out for a goal".

The Wentworth captain, Dom Green, spoke of his own performance as well as the success of the side throughout the year: "It's a testament to the other twelve players who were involved in the match today to win with me in the team, because I was absolutely diabolical. I'm immensely proud of the team; for Wentworth to win the Plate and a league title as well in one season is fantastic".

As for the opposition, Green added: "Halifax are obviously a fantastic footballing college and the way they play their game was very admireable today. They gave us a good going and it's really a willing endorsement to their spirit that they came back from 3-0 down to give us a scare towards the end".

Wentworth: Cook, Keane, Parker, Kosunalp, Sellers, Clinton, Bawdon (Fellgett), Kourvelos, Martin, Harrison (Paes), Green (C)

Halifax: Denham, Horn, Cornwell, Mason, Kershaw, McNeill (C)(Pheasant), Henry, Harrison, Stansfield, Reick, Doherty

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