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Derwent rally to progress into Plate semi-finals

Derwent Fifths continued their impressive form as they came from behind to beat Alcuin Seconds and secure their place in the Plate semi-finals

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Image: Petroc Taylor
Image: Petroc Taylor

Derwent Fifths further solidified their reputation as this year's shock performers as they bounced back from a goal down to record a 2-1 victory against Alcuin Seconds. After Jack McConnell's somewhat fortuitous opener, first half goals from George MacGill and Matthew Cheeseborough were enough to secure the win.

Derwent found themselves immediately behind in bizarre fashion. Max Palfreman's innocuous slip allowed Jack McConnell to burst through unchallenged before slotting cooly home to open the scoring. The early exchanges were characterised by suspect Derwent defending as McConnell then dragged another effort wide. For a team who had hitherto only conceded two goals, such uncustomary defensive fragility could only be explained by the previous night's Big D event and the resultant hangovers.

McConnell remained the biggest threat as he again saw his shot fly wide, a further indication of Alcuin's early supremacy. However, Derwent were on level terms soon after as Alcuin conceded a free kick just inside their half. George MacGill's delivery bypassed the crowded penalty area and looped into the back of the net.

Not to be perturbed easily, Alcuin went is search of an immediate response and nearly did so when Stephen Harget played in Henry Lonsdale, but he could only direct his shot straight at goalkeeper Cornel Keller. Harget then blazed over from long-range as they persisted in their search for an elusive second goal.

A second goal did come not long after, albeit in Derwent's favour. A diagonal ball found right-winger Matthew Cheeseborough in space on the flank and his superb first time strike on the bounce flew into the corner of the net with keeper Jake Richardson helpless. Derwent then had a golden chance to further extend their lead when Will Davis squared for MacGill whose close range effort was blocked by Richardson.

The second half was a much tighter affair with play being suffocated in the midfield. The triumvirate of James Fraser, Freddie Ream and Will Davis were effective in their closing down as they stifled Alcuin's attacking options.

Alcuin should have levelled, however, following a corner. Stephen Harget's delivery was met at the near post by Sean Perera with his header seemingly goal bound. Fortunately for Derwent, substitute Nat Barker was on hand to prod the ball off the line and preserve his side's advantage. Alcuin's own substitute, Frederico Quintana-Ghittoni, saw his ambition lob come to no avail in what was the last notable chance of the match.

The success sees Derwent progress into the semi-finals of the Plate tournament.

Speaking after the game, Derwent's captain Peter Bunce told Nouse, "Through drunken adversity we fought to record a historic victory for the only undefeated side in the Plate so far. We are very proud of ourselves and we look forward to our game against another Derwent side and we have full faith that we can win again."

Meanwhile, Alcuin's captain Matt Twin said, "We are absolutely devastated to lose to a team that is obviously not as good as us but who executed their game plan very well. We played well and we have tried to play football throughout the entire tournament but we have struggled against long ball teams. That's what happened today and their keeper made some really good saves. I'm just absolutely devastated."

Derwent (4-5-1): Cornell (GK); Stenbourn, Hartley, Palfreman, Marsden; Deeney, Fraser, Ream, Cheeseborough, Davis; MacGill. Substitutes: Bhatia, Barker.

Alcuin (4-3-3): Richardson (GK); Petrides, Tuton, Perera, Amiyants; Toumazou, McConnell, Lonsdale; Harget, Turner, Sarin. Substitute: Quintana-Ghittoni.

Man of the Match: Will Davis


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