Trinity fend off St John's

Yusuf Muhammad 9 February 2008

This was an eagerly anticipated tie, with Trinity being top of the league but St. John’s having comprehensively beaten St. Catharine’s in their last match. Were John’s to win they would overtake Trinity and, depending on other results, go top of the league. The match was watched by a number of spectators from both colleges, such was the pull of the ultimate college grudge match, and they were not disappointed with the enjoyable game that was played out in front of them.

John’s started off extremely brightly and were soon a goal up. A throw-in from the left was flicked on by John’s striker Jack Hambleton for his strike partner Ben Gibson to steal in front of Trinity’s keeper Lars Boyde, and deftly flick it into the net. However, this only served to wake Trinity up and John’s lack of concentration was quickly punished, with Trinity breaking quickly with striker Marchant outpacing the John’s central defence to smash past Tom Verney in the John’s goal.

The rest of the half continued in this fast-paced fashion, but John’s dominated possession and confined Trinity mainly to their own half of the pitch. They carved out numerous corners and amid an almighty goalmouth scramble halfway through the first half the Trinity defence somehow managed to keep the ball out of the net. Trinity themselves had a good chance which keeper Verney did well to tip over the bar. John’s had two penalty appeals for handball, the first after a shot struck a hand and the second after a Trinity player fell to the ground and appeared to push the ball away. Both of these appeals were waved away by the referee and the teams went in level at half time.

The second half, almost inevitably, was played at a slightly slower pace, but there were still chances at either end. Trinity were much the more clinical with their possession. It was they who took their chance halfway through the half, with a first shot being parried only for Marchant to be on hand to sidefoot the ball into the empty net for his clinically-executed brace. John’s pushed on looking for the equaliser but were unable to carve out many clear-cut chances despite the possession. The chances they had were kept out by some fine stops by Boyde and some organized defensive work led by skipper Richard Speight. As John’s pushed they were always going to leave space at the back, and five minutes from time a quick break by Trinity culminated in a great strike by Soroghan from twenty-five yards out.

John’s may have felt that they deserved a point from an encounter in which they had a greater share of the possession. But Trinity made their possession count and deserve to remain top of the league.

Yusuf Muhammad