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James College were made to look distinctively average by a strong County side, as Lancaster’s A league winners secured vital Roses points for the university. A brace from Galloway, as well as strikes from Rutter, Mason and a pile-driver from skipper Joel Watson were enough to seal a comfortable victory for the home side.
It was a drab encounter in truth for the first 30 minutes as neither team could carve out a clear-cut chance, with both sides looking to get the measure of each other. After the half-hour mark though it was County who started to take control, the first chance falling to striker Tom Candler, who forced a smart stop from James ‘keeper Johnny Simm. The best chance to break the deadlock fell not long after to County winger Andrew Wells, but as he raced clear of the York back-line could only find the side-netting.
Constant County pressure did eventually culminate in them taking the lead just before half-time. Jordan Gammie broke free of a congested midfield and slid the ball into Galloway, who made no mistake, expertly rounding Simm and slotting home. County deservedly led at the break.
The second half began in a similar vein to the first, with neither side able to work the ball through a packed midfield, although one half-chance did see Gammie blaze the ball over the James crossbar.
It was the away side who grabbed the next goal against the run of play and in the simplest of fashions. A long punt up field from Simm wasn’t dealt with by the County defence and Matt Singleton made no mistake as he fired low past Hartas to equalise.
County however, could not have responded any better. Within three minutes of conceding, the home side were back in front, courtesy of a moment of magic from captain Joel Watson. Picking the ball up on the half-way line, Watson drove forward and let fly from all of 35 yards, producing a stunning strike that left Simm in the James goal with absolutely no chance.
Now buoyed from Watson’s strike, County began to get out of second gear and took control of the contest, getting their third goal just moments later. A Jack Barnett long throw found Al Rutter totally unmarked in the James penalty area, as he nodded in from five yards to double his side’s advantage.
The third goal allowed breathing room for the Lancaster based side, as they eased up and opted to pick off James on the counter, as the away side desperately tried to reduce the arrears. County added a fourth through Will Mason, who was sharpest in the box to turn home a corner that James failed to clear.
The polish was added to a fine display late on, as a pacey counter-attack proved fruitful for the home side once again. Wells broke clear on the left and after bearing down on goal, had two bites of the cherry before unselfishly squaring the ball for Galloway to add his second and County’s fifth.
County’s victorious skipper Joel Watson was delighted with the result: “We played really well, kept it organised and everyone gave it a hundred percent. I’m very happy with the performance of the players and the subs as well, as they all came on and made an impact. We’ve worked really hard on fitness all year and I think it really made a difference in the second half, especially with us scoring the late goals.”