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Vanbrugh's qualification hopes fade after Derwent comeback

Vanbrugh saw their hopes of progressing further than the group stages diminish today after Derwent fought back from a two goal deficit to end the game 3-3

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Group B

Vanbrugh saw their hopes of progressing further than the group stages diminish today after Derwent fought back from a two goal deficit to end the game 3-3. The result means that Vanbrugh now have to beat Alcuin next week and hope that Derwent beat Halifax in order to progress further.

Vanbrugh started out the better of the two teams in the first half, threatening early on after Harry O'Brien's free kick from the right was headed over by Liam Sides at the far post. It was O'Brien that played the crucial role in the opener though. After collecting the ball in the middle of the pitch, O'Brien advanced into Derwent's half and after shrugging off two defenders, slipped Elliot Rous Ross in between the two Derwent centre backs. Rous Ross finished calmly, slotting the ball in at the near post to give Vanbrugh an early lead.

Shortly afterwards, O'Brien managed to bag Vanbrugh's second. After a foul on Vanbrugh's Joe Lund, O'Brien hit a free kick from the left wing from about thirty yards out. The ball in bounced awkwardly in front of Derwent keeper Charlie Cooper and subsequently went in to give Vanbrugh a 2-0 lead.

However, Derwent much to their credit stuck at it and their tenacity paid off as they managed to claw a goal back before half time. After Vanbrugh's Matt Graham handled the ball, Derwent's midfield maestro Alex D'Albertanson stepped up to take the set piece. His ball in met the head of Derwent's captain Michael Whittall, who had made an excellent run across the face of goal to the near post. Whittall's header went in just inside the far post to reduce Vanbrugh's lead to just one goal.

Derwent could have then scored the equaliser through Sven Sabas who had a good opportunity to test Vanbrugh keeper Kallum Taylor but was ultimately denied by Graham's interception. Chris Wignall could have scored a third for Vanbrugh before the close of the first half after he was left with the goal at his mercy thanks to a neat ball from the left. However, he skewed his shot over the bar, leaving Cooper untroubled.

The half time score saw Vanbrugh lead Derwent 2-1, yet after the first five minutes of the second half, Vanbrugh extended their lead to two goals. Lund played a good ball into Sides on the edge of the Derwent area and after a good first touch, Sides took the ball to his right where he struck a potent volley that sailed past Cooper into the top right corner of the net.

It was after Sides' goal that the Derwent comeback was initiated. Whittall's ball to D'Albertanson on the left was finished expertly by the Derwent midfielder. D'Albertanson hit an audacious lob which looped just over Taylor, yet just under the bar and into the top left corner of the Vanbrugh net to reduce Vanbrugh's lead to just one goal.

With the score line at 3-2 the game seemed perfectly poised for a grandstand finish. Derwent were the better side for the latter stages of the match and the attacking momentum seemed to be with them as they threw the kitchen sink at Vanbrugh during the closing stages of the match.

D'Albertanson's free kick was headed just over the bar by Sabas before substitute Jack Low's shot was saved by Taylor at his near post. However, similar to last week's match against Halifax, Vanbrugh were punished by some poor defending from a last minute set piece.

A Derwent corner from the right was whipped in to the box and met the head of Sabas who managed to rise above the Vanbrugh defenders. His header downwards was met with panic in the six yard box from the Vanbrugh defence before it was finished by Matthew Elvin to give Derwent their equaliser and end the game 3-3.

After the match, a jubilant Michael Whittall, Derwent captain, spoke to Nouse, "We managed to do it the hard way but I asked for a 0-0 draw and we got 3-3 so we're chuffed to bits. I feel sorry for Vanbrugh but [we had] cracking team spirit."

Meanwhile, an injured Max Brewer, Vanbrugh captain, offered his thoughts on the game's outcome to Nouse saying, "Last week and this week, last minute set pieces have cost us and if we can't defend them then we don't deserve to go through, which seems to be the case, so we'll battle it out in the Plate. If we give them enough opportunities to launch the ball into our box then we're going to concede. I can't fault the effort, but the quality wasn't there."

Derwent: Cooper, Tapper, Elvin, Shelbourn, Fraser, Whittall (C), Curteis, D'Albertanson, Nozaki, Eyles, Sabas. Subs: Fisher, Low, Metcalfe.
Man of the Match: Alex D'Albertanson.

Vanbrugh: Taylor, Graham, Brennan, Picknell, Wignall, Coy, O'Brien, Grout, Lund, Sides, Rous Ross. Subs: Watkins, Woodall.
Man of the Match: Liam Sides.

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Derwent Posted on Friday 30 May 2014