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Derwent Seconds triumphed over Derwent Firsts on penalties to secure the 2015 Plate title. It was a close fought encounter with neither side able to break the deadlock in normal time. The Seconds' goalkeeper Felix Aylett was in fine form as a string of saves ensured that the game went to penalties. With Josh Bew and Sam Weighall both seeing their strikes from the spot miss the target, the Seconds were crowned champions.
The game began at a high tempo with both sides seeking to assert their authority early on. The Firsts, however, were up to the challenge and soon clever link up play on the right flank between Joe Easter and Eddie Fotheringham allowed Josh Bew a run at goal. The striker was ruled offside though as the match began to open up.
The Seconds nearly went ahead when striker Rob Nicholson burst through on goal only to see his tame effort easily gathered by goalkeeper Charlie Cooper. The hot temperatures were not effecting the speed of play as both sides went in desperate search of an opener. Fotheringham struck a fearsome drive from outside the area which saw keeper Aylett miraculously spill his attempted catch onto the crossbar.
Nicholson then wasted another opportunity reminiscent to his first, with Cooper remaining untroubled in the Firsts' goal. Nevertheless, the Firsts should have been ahead soon after through Andrew Naylor; latching onto to Jamie Trant's cross, he could only direct his effort over the upright as yet another chance came to nothing. With numerous opportunities going begging, both teams' frustration grew. This came to a head when the Seconds' Alex Ingham's long throw found Nicholson unmarked with the goal gaping. The striker failed to make a substantial connection and only succeeded in diverting the ball away from goal.
An elusive first goal was proving hard to come by as Naylor's close range effort was to be superbly denied by Aylett once more. At the other end, however, Cooper looked remarkably less comfortable as he failed to gather an Ingham corner which fell to Nicholson who, in turn, was unable to scramble the ball over the goal-line. This was the last chance of what had been entertaining, albeit decidedly wasteful, first half displays from both sides.
The second sparked into life almost immediately. Fotheringham let fly a tremendous strike which seemed destined for the corner of the net. Aylett was not to be beaten, however, and acrobatically tipped the ball over the crossbar in a save which belied his hangover claims. Such was the frequency of missed chances, the match appeared certain to end as a goalless draw. This perspective was only further confirmed when Ferrao's searching cross was headed on by Jack Low yet Alex Stones was closed down before he could find room to get a clean strike at goal.
In the closing stages, the Firsts were largely in the ascendancy as Fotheringham saw his strike shake the upright. Despite this, neither team were able to break the deadlock meaning penalties beckoned.
With the Seconds to begin proceedings, Luca Castiglione showed composure as he calmly slotted his penalty past Cooper. Bew was then unsuccessful in his attempt which rattled the crossbar before Jules Delay struck home to give the Seconds a 2-0 advantage. Fotheringham's effort stung the fingertips of Aylett but the shot's power ensured it found the net. Nicholson and Joe Easter both scored for their respective sides before Ingham made the score 4-2 to the Seconds. Weighall stepped up knowing he had to score to give his team a glimmer of hope but his attempt sailed harmlessly over the crossbar, ultimately gifting the victory to the Seconds.
After the game, Derwent Seconds captain, Matty Elvin told Nouse that, "A draw was a fair result. We contained them and they were limited to long range efforts which Felix [Aylett] dealt with very well. We were disappointed to get knocked out of the cup but we knew we could come and win the Plate and we have done that.
"I can't thank the boys enough for their effort so well done to all of them as they have worked hard week in week out when the results didn't go our way. We didn't get down, we regrouped and got on with it. I think we did well and deserved to win today"
Meanwhile Derwent First's captain Ryan Gwinnett said, "It is obviously pretty disappointing to lose but penalties are always a lottery and we should have beaten them in sixty minutes. We had a few chances but I am really pleased for them [Derwent Seconds] as they have had a good year.
"In terms of the year as a whole we have had an unbelievable year really. We won two leagues pretty comfortably. I don't think the JLD or the College Cup style suited us. We have not been able to find that final ball all tournament to be honest. I'm not too disappointed about today, I'm just disappointed about the overall cup."
Derwent Firsts (4-3-3): Cooper (GK); Weighall, Shelbourn, Whittall, Askham; Naylor, Gwinnett (C), Easter; Fotheringham, Bew, Trant.
Derwent Seconds (4-3-3): Aylett (GK); Nicholls, Castiglione, Elvin (C), Reynolds; Ntephe, Ingham, Stones; Low, Nicholson, Ferrao. Substitute: Delay.
Man of the Match: Felix Aylett