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Bowland enjoyed a reasonably comfortable afternoon in their Roses A league winner’s fixture, despite a second half resurgence from York’s Derwent College. The Lancaster based team, who enjoyed an unbeaten season in their domestic league, ran out 3-1 winners courtesy of goals from Graham Kennish, Jocelyn Kirby and Harry Heptonstall.
Despite the impending doom surrounding Lancaster’s chances of retaining the Carter-James Trophy, Bowland’s football team were intent on delaying the inevitable and allowing the travelling support a chance to at least enjoy the Sunday morning sunshine.
The away side were positive right from the off, using their natural width to stretch the game and attempt to isolate the Derwent full backs. Suhail Bux was especially lively throughout the early stages down the right-hand side and looked to have the beating of left-back Reynolds.
It was Bux who crafted the first early opportunities with his direct running, first being taken down by Reynolds after an amazing run, then being denied a goal by the offside flag, following a lovely exchange of passes with Heptonstall.
Derwent had less of the ball than their opponents in red, but did manage to craft a couple of opportunities during the first half, the best of which falling to Reynolds, who’s scuffed shot was cleared off the line following Stopczynski’s hashed attempt at dealing with a cross.
Bowland then cranked up the pressure, a far post header from Bux looping agonisingly over the bar and the away side were once again frustrated in their attempts to break the deadlock, it would be the dying moments of the first half until they managed to do so.
Good work from the industrious Wheatley saw Bowland win a corner on the right hand side, and from there it was Kennish who took charge. A swinging delivery was met with a thumping header from the defender, who saw his effort valiantly cleared from beneath the crossbar for another corner. This time however, Kennish would not be denied, planting his header into the far corner in a carbon-copy routine, Bowland finally led.
Derwent set out positively for the second half, but their task was made doubly hard early on following another slack piece of defending from a corner.
The initial set-piece delivery was dealt with well enough, but the second ball seemed to perplex the home defence, as Jocelyn Kirby was afforded the chance to nod a header past Aylett at the far post to double his side’s advantage.
The second goal appeared to spark Derwent into life however, with the attacking duo of Nicholson and Whittall finally able to cause the Bowland defence some problems.
The first noteworthy moment came as Nicholson’s touch in the box appeared to strike a Bowland arm in the area, but the referee dismissed the incident as accidental. Nicholson then produced a moment of quality as he spun smartly away from his marker and wrapped his foot around a cross than was a whisker away from Whittall’s right boot.
The newfound impetus in the Derwent attack seemed to unsettle the Bowland defence, as a series of hashed clearances in the area eventually fell to Whittall, but he could only fire into the side netting.
Nicholson then almost reduced the arrears with a spectacular overhead kick that flew only a couple of yards over the bar, Derwent were desperate for a foothold back into the game, but moments later they had it.
Bowland yet again were unable to clear their lines from a cross and with the ball taking numerous deflections in the box, it was eventually scrambled in at close range by Elvin, despite a heroic effort from Stopczynski to claw the ball away.
Derwent deserved their goal following a spell of decent pressure, but the high intensity few minutes leading up to the goal fizzled out soon after, mostly in part due to the hot conditions.
As the pace of the game slowed, it was Bowland who once again looked like the more assured team, controlling possession and looking to kill the game with a third goal.
The away side did manage to secure the points ten minutes from time, following the introduction of Dan Jones from the bench. The substitute managed to elude the Derwent midfield and slipped a smart pass into Heptonstall, who made no mistake and arrowed the ball past Aylett into the far corner.