Image Credit: Dom Smith
Making their dominance of the match count, James College 2s scored two second-half goals to see off a stubborn Goodricke 2s side 3-2 on Saturday.
The penultimate game of a busy day in college football, James knew that Goodricke were there for the taking, and in the early exchanges it would become clear James’ side were technically superior. The favourites (in all black) kicked off, facing Goodricke (in green).
College football can be a curious place, with some players appearing way too talented or too poor for their team’s average standard. James 2s were a class outfit throughout this match, but number 8 Charlie Gregory pulled the strings in midfield consistently. His cute
turns and sharpness in contesting stray balls set him apart from those around him on both sides.
The first chance of the day duly fell to him, although Goodricke goalkeeper Daniel Howard gobbled it up with ease. James ramped up the pressure slowly but surely, and continued to test – but not yet trouble – the gloves of Howard.
A low long shot from Joe Foggin was parried by Howard on 21 minutes, with the ball falling to winger George Pullin. The immediate shot came flying back in from close range, but Pullin was left bewildered as he watched Howard spring to his feet and make a truly elastic second save. It really was one for the cameras.
But there weren’t any cameras. Gangly striker Dom Woodhouse misfired from a good position in Goodricke’s first clear-cut chance, but James were back on top minutes later. One of their three number tens on the day (representative of the often-disorganised college football), Alfie Dunn waltzed through a melee of static players before arching a curling shot agonisingly wide of the post. It
Goodricke were hanging on, but you never do know what will happen in football and on 33 minutes, they took an unexpected lead. Wearing a ‘2019 GOODRICKE COLLEGE FRESHERS’ shirt, Cameron Galloway volleyed straight through the goalkeeper to earn his team a shock lead in this all-Campus West tie being played at the 3G pitch on Hes East.
No sooner were Goodricke ahead than they conceded the equaliser. A James corner from the left was recycled back into the box via the other wing, and when it came across there were acres of space for George Pullin to poke home the leveller.
The de facto hosts just about held their own for the remainder of the first 45. At the break it was Goodricke College 1-1 James College.
Proceedings were slower and more measured in the second half. James so nearly took the lead on 50 minutes when another of the number 10s, Alfie Dunn, toe-punted the ball narrowly over Daniel Howard’s crossbar.
But ten minutes later, Howard did concede to Dunn – James had scored from another corner. The ball was knocked out to Dunn on the edge of the box, who instinctively snapped a volley into the far corner with applaudable technique.
As all games seem to, the contest became stretched and more and more the flanks assumed the key battlegrounds. In particular, John Strasenburgh and Pullin had James’ left-wing completely sewn up between them.
The two goals in the first period were typical finishes, but all three of the second half’s offerings were unerring finishes. The second one bought James two ahead on the scoreline, with Will Norwood hammering the ball into the net with a crashing drive that clattered
the crossbar on its way in. 3-1.
Could it be topped? Step forward James Simmons. The midfielder planted a delightful freekick into the top-right corner of the net, bending it round the wall to give Goodricke the faintest hope of stealing a draw with one minute of stoppage-time remaining.
A speculative bicycle-kick bounced harmlessly wide with the last kick of the game to confirm Goodricke had been overturned and James had prevailed in this league encounter.
Goodricke were clinical in finishing off two of their rare presentable opportunities, but James had more gears to find and didn’t need to be so efficient with their shooting in order to still leave the pitch victors. The eventful encounter ended Goodricke 2s 2-3 James 2s under the floodlights on a perishingly cold Saturday evening.