College football report: St John’s 1-3 Pembroke

first_imgThe increasingly open race for promotion to the First Division saw another twist on Friday as an impressive Pembroke College won at St John’s.  As yet unbeaten in the league in Hilary Term, and unbeaten at home for fifty weeks, St John’s went into the game as favourites.  Pembroke, however, outfought and outplayed St John’s to win a tough and tense match 3-1.  It was the home team that took an early lead after four minutes.  Top scorer Matt Evans-Young was found unmarked on the edge of the area and passed into the net his twelfth of the season.  What followed was an open game, with both teams playing attractive passing football, lacking the bitterness which soured the second half.  Evans-Young almost doubled the lead twenty minutes after his first, having taken the ball past the Pembroke keeper, only for right back Rob Gates to intervene with a heroic last ditch tackle.  At the other end of the pitch, play was dominated by the yellow booted Etienne Ekpo-Utip.  Combining the touch and height of Berbatov with the pace and strength of Henry, he was the outstanding footballer of the afternoon.  He had a strong claim for a penalty turned down soon after following a collision with Clem Naylor.  With only two minutes to go in the first half, a similar incident produced a different result as the spot kick was given.  Ekpo-Utip drove the ball past Alex Berend, for the goal which was fair reward for his performance.   The second half started slowly, the best chance being an Ali Craggs free-kick hitting the wall.  On the hour mark, the game started to develop an unpleasant edge.  A late challenge from Ekpo-Utip on John’s centre half Paul Eastham raised complaints from the touchline, and a dispute over a tackle in midfield led to a scuffle in the centre circle.  Adam Taylor was at the heart of it, as he was for many of the flare ups after half time.  On sixty five minutes, Ekpo-Utip’s second goal put Pembroke ahead.  Cutting in from the left, he shrugged off challenges from Eastham and his centre back partner Steve Jennings, and placed the ball into the bottom corner.   Four minutes later, an injury to Pembroke right back Rob Gates allowed for a necessary cooling down period.  Gates, challenging James Earle, fell awkwardly and dislocated his shoulder.  Play was halted as Gates was taken off the pitch and an ambulance was called.  After a six minute stoppage, cooler heads prevailed.   The replacement of Stu Faragher with Sam Freedman signalled John’s intent, but the increased space in their half was well exploited by Pembroke.  Both Chris Stovin and Taylor, playing off the dominant Ekpo-Utip, went close in the last ten minutes.  The win was sealed in the last few minutes when Stovin’s shot from the edge of the box was deflected by Dave Parsons over Berend and into the net.  It confirmed the three points for a strong and competitive side who now have as good a chance for promotion as St John’s or any of the other competitors.last_img read more