Staff A win men's college football trophy
(12 May 2017)
Staff A team claimed their first silverware in over 15 years with a 3-0 victory over Josephine Butler A in the Football Trophy final. Featuring 80 teams it’s the largest competition in College Sport and the win capped off a great season for the Staff in which promotion to the Premiership was also achieved.
Managing to keep together nearly all of the squad from last year who achieved promotion to Division 1 and adding some excellent new additions we set a target of achieving promotion and winning a cup.
In the first round we faced Hild Bede B who sat a few league places behind us. The final score of 5-1 didn’t reflect a tense affair which we only took hold of in the last twenty minutes with a brace from Dan Boulton and a fine finish from Steven Poulter.
Next up were Van Mildert E of division three, playing a back three we gave up few chances, and goals from Matteo Capasso, Yogi and Kevin Mason saw us advance to the next round 3-0 winners.
We went a goal down for the first time in the competition to Aidan’s B, before Luke Tinkler headed in a Jack Coates throw-in to level things up. Luke then returned the favour to set up Jack C in one of the best team goals of the season. Tim Lamb scored from the penalty spot after Jack C was brought down, and at half time we were 3-1 up and thinking of the next round. Aidan’s came back at us scoring twice and growing in confidence as the game headed towards penalties. Jack W took matters into his own hands in the dying minutes to win it with a sumptuous effort hitting the underside of the crossbar, bouncing on the goal line and back up into the roof of the net. A goal worthy of winning any game, 4-3 to the Staff.
John’s A awaited us in the Quarter Final, having only beat them 1-0 in the league, we anticipated another close game. Scoreless at halftime, a mazy dribble from Stuart Thompson ended with a foul inside the box and Lamb stepped up to confidently dispatch the penalty. Johns pushed hard for an equaliser and we caught them with a devastating counter, taking the ball from our box to theirs in a matter of seconds Jack W squared selflessly for College Sport Manager Jack Coates to put the gloss on another solid defensive performance.
Our first premiership opponents came in the form of undefeated champions Van Mildert A. Known to be solid in defence with a pacey forward line, we expected a real test of our abilities. We produced our best performance of the year. Team Durham President Will Legg put us in front controlling the loose ball from a Jack C corner, with his back to goal he turned and shot into the corner. We wasted a number of good chances to extend our lead before half time and soon after the restart lost our defensive shape allowing Jake Pope to run beyond our back line and score. Thompson capped off a man of the match performance creating a goal from very little to put Staff 2-1 up, he ran tirelessly all game and would have had a second had the referee been better placed to see another effort cleared from behind the goal-line.
Josephine Butler A stood in our way, looking for their third trophy in three years. They started the better, seemingly first to every loose ball and creating a couple of half chances they put wide of the goal. We played to their strengths hitting hopefully long balls that centre-halves Wild and Sansome handled with ease. We finally clocked on and began to pass the ball around on the floor more often and take control of the game. Scoring just before half-time was ideal, a cross to the near post from Lamb was stabbed towards goal by Mason, the keeper could only parry it and Thompson was first to the loose ball to score. Thompson was heavily involved in the second, running into the Butler box he was brought down for another penalty converted by Lamb. The gloss was added with another ruthless counter attack, Jack W held off the defender controlled the accurate kick from Luca Santoni and finished smartly.
College sport is one of the University’s many shining lights. The facilities, participation levels, range of sports offered and professionalism with which it is organised make it a pleasure to be a part of. The Staff teams are made up of lecturers, research associates, technicians, former students and professional services staff from all over the University. Led by Dr Steven Poulter and Paul White with the support of Applebridge Construction, the Staff have added a second team, achieved back to back promotions and a title before this cup win. We look forward to the challenge college teams offer next year and apologies for the occasional mistimed challenge.