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James run away with huge win against league-leaders Goodricke

The game was billed to be a classic when the league's undefeated top two sides took to a blustery 22 Acres, but it was the more organised James side that ran away with a huge win this afternoon.

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[flickr-slideshow tags="jamesgoodricke271013" caption="Images: Petroc Taylor"]

The game was billed to be a classic when the league's undefeated top two sides took to a blustery 22 Acres, but it was the more organised James side that ran away with a huge win this afternoon.

Contrary to the final score, the match started very evenly as the prowess of both teams' passing meant that they were cancelling each other out in midfield. In the early stages, James striker Matt Singleton shot on target, whilst Goodricke's Johnnie Gilbanks and Matt Tandey also found room to test the goalkeeper at the other end of the pitch.

Nevertheless, James began to slowly creep into the game as they took a hold of possession with the fluid football that they're known for. Briars fired a shot off the crossbar after twelve minutes and five minutes later James took a deserved lead.

Ralph Gill, playing in central midfield, picked out Freddie Ferrao on the left wing after a good spell of James pressure. Ferrao darted towards goal and fired off a low shot; Goodricke 'keeper Tom Neil got a hand to the shot but the ball was still spinning towards goal. Defender Aaron Sullivan slid in to try and clear the ball but he could only deflect it into his own side netting.

James were now much more comfortable in possession and they doubled their lead after twenty-five minutes. Once again the talismanic Ferrao broke down the left as he outpaced the defence and fired low past Neil into the bottom right corner of the goal.

On the half-hour mark, James put Goodricke out of sight. A piece of succinct, direct play to Gill on the right allowed him to pick out the volley of Singleton to make it 3-0.

Goodricke responded with very little as the rest of the half drew on. Their prolific playmaker, Joe Mann, had been kept reasonably quiet by the man-marking of Gill, meaning Goodricke's lone-striker Simon Hurst was getting little of the service he was used to. A dragged shot wide of the post by Mann summed up a poor first half for the Hes East side.

Thankfully, Goodricke looked much more goal-threatening in the second half. However, any long balls were normally swept up by James goalkeeper Andy Balzan who, shortly after, somehow managed to keep out a close-range shot from Hurst; today's clean sheet from the goalkeeper was very well earned this afternoon.

Sadly for Goodricke, James put any chance of a comeback on ice when Ferrao grabbed another goal on fifty-eight minutes; a cross from Briars delightfully picked out the free head of Ferrao at the far post.

Hurst tried to instantly react for Goodricke, but, once again, Balzan was in the way of another close-range shot.

The game died down to a blissful lull as James happily sat on their lead, looking to exploit the pressing Goodricke on the break. With fifteen minutes of play left, one of these James exploits paid off.

The forever-unpredictable Ferrao found space on the left for a speedy, flashing ball across goal; the ball struck the head of defender Robbie Anderson as he conceded an unfortunate own goal, putting the score at 5-0.

James still had time to score two more goals in the final ten minutes. The first came when substitute Michael Austin picked out Singleton on the edge of the box, who held the ball up well before setting up Spurling for the shot - the ball rocketed into the back of the net in what was James' most attractive and well-worked goal of the day.

The final and seventh goal came in the closing minutes for James. Some Singleton trickery in the box lured a foul from the Goodricke defence and referee Joe Easter had no option but to award a penalty. Singleton coolly stepped up to the spot and send the goalkeeper the wrong way to make it 7-0.

A thrilled James captain, Ralph Gill, told Nouse: "We carried on our form from the first half against Halifax last week... We had some fantastic hold-up play from Matt Singleton and Balzan made some really good saves to keep us in the game. We know they've got a few good players and we wanted to keep them quiet - thankfully we did today; I think that was key."

A more critical Goodricke captain, Johnnie Gilbanks, said: "We didn't get tight to them anywhere on the pitch and we didn't look comfortable on the ball; we had no composure or confidence. It's disappointing after the last two games because we were looking good".

James: Balzan, Sangha, Elliot, Axford, Alhasan, Gill (C), Spurling, Haresnape, Ferrao (Spilsbury), Briars (Austin), Singleton
Goodricke: Neil, Watkins, Anderson, Sullivan, Fagan (Prior), Tandey, Gilbanks(C), Mann, Cottingham, Lewis, Hurst

Man of the match: Matt Singleton

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