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Alcuin stunned by Vanbrugh Seconds

The Owls silenced by Vanbrugh's clinical second string in the opening round of fixtures in Group B

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IMAGE: Jake Richardson

Vanbrugh 2's smashed Alcuin 1's in a dominant display as Alcuin lost their temper and the game.

The game, however, did not start so one sided. The opening stages were a maelstrom of quick passing and end to end football, until with only a few minutes gone, Hayden Spencer fired a shot in from the edge of the area which was then turned in by a deft header by Guy Bevan-Thomas.

Though Alcuin have the pedigree of a talented side with their three man midfield featuring a UYAFC 1's, 2's and 3's player, they couldn't cope with Vanbrugh's pressure.

The leggy calming influence of Oli Vyvyan snatched the ball away from Matt Barrie on several occasions and Vanbrugh looked most dangerous with their captain and playmaker Callum Long on the ball.

Jeremy Nestor was Alcuin's only bright spark. Elegant on the ball, even he struggled with the high press and continued pressure. This culminated in a deadly Vanbrugh break. Seb Harwood slipped a ball into the path of Bevan-Thomas. His first shot was blocked, but looking up he found goalkeeper Simon off his line and made no mistake with his lobbed second.

Vanbrugh's clinical attacking player highlighted Alcuin's main problem. Southwell, in for the absent Cam McLarty, failed to hold up the ball for the onrushing Alcuin midfield.

Mcclarty's physical presence was missed. Neither Barrie nor Garn could really get onto the ball in attacking positions. Their best chance came from a Kieran Paulas mistake which Michael Garn drove low into Farrow's waiting hands.

Otherwise Paulas and Aweida proved that Vanbrugh 2's would not fall easily to any college side. Paulas- a confident ball player unafraid to turn inside of his own area- and Aweida a no-nonsense fan of hoofed clearances. Not a single Alcuin shot came from inside of the area in the first half.

The second half, however, was all change. Southwell, the tall striker, departed. On came Sarin KC. The diminutive midfielder functioned as a false nine and Vanbrugh's stranglehold over the game was broken.

Alcuin finally began to play football. Matt Barrie, Alcuin's most likely goalscorer, came close immediately after the restart. His looping header headed off the line by Rob West.

Forced back, the balance of play swung away from Vanbrugh. Sarin, improbably wriggling away from Paulas, looked certain to score but Farrow's quick keeping smothered the ball at his feet.

The game levelled out. It became scrappy, and Bevan-Thomas almost added his third, as Knowles' shot ran across the face of the goal. From six yards out Bevan- Thomas scrambled it out of his feet, eventually pushed it ahead of him, and blasted the ball straight down the throat of Simon.

With the scrappiness came frustration. First from Barrie, then most explosively from Garn. The usually mild mannered winger reacted as his shoe fell off and was kicked away, by lashing out full pelt at Ben Dyson with a kick. A red card seemed certain but the referee did little more than warn both players.

The finest battle of the afternoon came between Dyson and Garn. As Alcuin grew into the game so did Garn. His mercurial feet threatened, but Dyson kept pace well and never gave him a second of space. Dyson's performance summed up Vanbrugh's. High energy, passionate, yet confident in possession.

Next came Alcuin's most dangerous chances. A goalmouth scramble, where the entirety of both teams seemed to pile into the area, resulted in two clear chances. The first blocked and the second rolling gratefully into the arms of Farrow.

Alcuin's pressure continued. Bastidas threatened soon afterwards, his lively performance a bright spark on a poor afternoon. His shot, however, was well saved.

Hayden Spencer had faded out of the game in the second half. His influence with Vanbrugh had declined. A failed Turner clearance led to him reintroducing himself in style, as his sublime volley rifled the ball into the top corner with an early contender for one of the goals of College Cup.

Alcuin were then reduced to range efforts. Barrie was robbed by Callum Long who then slotted wide under duress, the last chance of the game.

Alcuin 1's, frustrated with their performance, will hope to bounce back with victory next against Derwent 3's. Vanbrugh 2's on the other hand, have the unenviable task of taking on James 1's.

Alcuin: Simon, Farrant, Toumazou, Turner, Strong, Barrie, Nestor, Bastidas, Garn, Twin, Southwell

Substitutes: Sarin, Robison

Man of the Match: Jeremy Nestor

Vanbrugh: Farrow, Dyson, Paulas, Aweida, West, Vyvyan, Siddle, Long, Spencer, Harwood, Bevan-Thomas

Substitutes: Brack, Knowles

Man of the Match: Ben Dyson

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