By Joe Harston
Trevelyan Men’s A side were looking to make history with a Floodlit double win after their women’s side retained their title alongside South College. However, it wasn’t meant to be as a dominant display from Collingwood saw them crowned 2022 champions with a 4-1 win.
Collingwood had Trevs pinned in their own half from the get-go. Moving forward in great numbers, their attack, flanked by Billy Clark and Oliver Smallridge, caused Trevs’ back line all kind of issues in the opening stages.
It became clear that if Trevs were to keep themselves in this game, their chances would be heavily reliant on keeper, Max Watson. The hero in the semi-final shootout was in fine form once again: denying a close range shot from Ben Parkinson at the front post and then keeping out Tom Hizzett’s drive from distance.
A series of golden chances presented themselves for Collingwood’s Jay Bhavnani. He wears ‘Cobra’ on his shirt, but he was unable to strike in this game. Turning Clark’s cutback goalwards, his effort to find the corner rolled frustratingly wide.
Unexpectedly, momentum began to shift in Trevs’ favour, and they were much more efficient in front of goal.
A superb long ball from the right found the feet of Alex Baptist who had left the defenders behind him. With expert control and a flawless finish, he rolled it into the back of the net. From nowhere, Trevs were 1-0 up.
And before the dust settled, Jamie Lunnon had a chance to double their lead. Finding himself with a tight angle on the right he did excellently to lift it over Richard Brooks in the Collingwood goal. The crossbar denied Trevs another goal against the run of play.
With one more chance for the blues, their period of sustained pressure was yet again ruined by the upright. Lunnon struck again, with a venomous effort on the half volley, which forced Brooks into an impressive reflex save onto his near post.
There was time for just one more piece of action in this half. Finally, it would be Collingwood’s turn to celebrate. Exploiting the channels on a rapid counter-attack, Bhavnani’s weighted his through ball to Parkinson beautifully. From then it was easy. It was pulled back to a grateful Hizzett, who couldn’t miss, even against the most stubborn of goalkeepers. 1-1 at the break.
Sadly for Trevs, the start to the second half was a lot like the first.
Just five minutes into the second half, Oliver Kilvington skipped through a series of Trevs challenges and arrowed his effort to the right of Watson. It was an exquisite attempt which nestled in the bottom corner of Watson’s net to take the lead.
Kilvington made his way into the penalty area once again, soon after, this time he was met with the strong challenge of Xavier Watson who seemed to have won the ball. The referee was happy, but assistant’s flag changed his mind. Penalty kick. Collingwood right-back Jack Camarda took on spot kick duties in an expert manner, supplying his side with a much needed two-goal cushion.
A tiring Trevs midfield seemed to struggle with the incessant Collingwood attacks. Winning a battle on the half-way line, Oliver Flint strode forward through a vacant midfield. With no blue shirt closing him down, he let fly with power from range. A strong hand from Watson wasn’t enough to keep it out. This looked sure to bring the cup home for the Stags.
With a three-goal lead, Collingwood showed excellent gamesmanship. They slowed down the tempo and frustrated Trevs by holding onto possession well and committing tactical fouls in the middle of the park to prevent counter attacks.
This brought the game to its close. The final 20 minutes saw very few chances for either team; a somewhat slow end to a rollercoaster of a tournament.
The Floodlit Cup’s dramatic return this year has made for excellent viewing, with drama on and in the stands. It’s certainly illustrated the importance of college spirit across the university and the packed out stands of Maiden Castle gave this season a fitting climax.
This is Collingwood’s first Floodlit victory since 2018 and, it must be said, it is very well deserved.
Image: Joe Harston