College football has produced some odd fixtures in the past, but none as bizarre as last Wednesday’s encounter between Collingwood A and Collingwood L in the Men’s Football Trophy. Ten letters separated these sides, but a great deal of pride was still at stake.
That difference eventually showed, but at first the game was not quite as uneven as it seemed alphabetically. The depleted A’s peppered the L team goal, though many shots were from distance. L team captain and goalkeeper Oscar Wilkie produced a fine save down low to his left, and a goalmouth scramble from a corner came to nothing for the dominant side.
Indeed, the first clear chance fell to the underdogs. Winger Luke Magarinos dashed into the penalty area and fizzed in a perfect cross for Pierre Davies, who could not quite connect with the ball. Had it been turned in it might have been a very different afternoon for the L’s.
That moment seemed to jolt the A’s into action, however, and the goals flew in. Niall Flanagan was the standout performer with four, but Dan Senior and captain Justin Humphries also impressed, bagging a hat-trick and a brace respectively.
Even so, the L’s put in a valiant effort, and were afforded a rare moment of joy when Tom Taylor came on at half-time and bundled home a consolation goal. The final score was 9-1, but the L’s could be proud of their attitude throughout.
President Matthew Cass praised the quality throughout the ranks of Durham’s biggest sports club. “The fact that we’ve had our first A versus L derby really reflects the positive direction we’re going in. A Collingwood derby is always special, but a game between two sides with ten teams separating them in the same club is unprecedented.”