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Gateshead College 0 - King James I Academy 1. A 12 player football squad from King James have travelled to Gateshead International Stadium for their North East Colleges League fixture against Gateshead College. The early season encounter between the two sides had seen King James take all three points, with a more recent fixture resulting in a share of the spoils.
Playing conditions were difficult on the exposed 3G pitch with strong winds and temperatures just above freezing, however King James made a positive start and created some credible opportunities. Carl was again in imperious form, commanding his area and dealing with any Gateshead attacks. Kieran had been joined by Lewis in the heart of defence and soon settled well into the role. Christen and Chris occupied the full back positions with Harry protecting the back four in a deep central midfield position. Matthew and Will in central midfield were using the ball well, with Will in particular having a lively game. Nathan and Ryan, both playing in advanced positions, were alongside Callum, making his third appearance for the team and looking lively up front.
The King James pressing game caused mistakes from the Gateshead defence, with Callum unable to capitalise on a couple of occasions, however it was after this sustained pressure that with 30 minutes on the clock, Will picked up a loose Gateshead pass before driving forward and hitting a fantastic strike from outside the 18 yard box into the top right corner.
King James continued their dominance; although Gateshead started to cause a few problems, any attacks were thwarted by the King James defensive unit. After 25 minutes Connor was introduced to the game, replacing Nathan who had worked tirelessly. At half time the scoreline read Gateshead College 0 - King James I Academy 1.
The second half saw Gateshead College come out with renewed vigour and from the opening whistle pressed King James onto the back foot. The defensive unit was having to work overtime to stop the constant pressure and when the rear guard was breached, Carl was in inspired form, saving several one v one's, including a stand out save from a header that seemed goal bound, which he dove low to his left to parry away from danger. When efforts did manage to beat Carl, the cross bar and post came to King James assistance, frustrating the Gateshead players.
With their backs against the wall for the majority of the second period the final whistle came as a welcome salute to a well fought victory. Final score Gateshead College 0 - King James I Academy 1. King James man of the match accolade went to Carl for an impeccable goalkeeping display, showing bravery, leadership and a great deal of technical ability.
The King James squad next face East Durham College away on Wednesday 29th April, with the team looking for a good result after a recent narrow defeat against the Peterlee outfit.
King James I Academy, South Church Road, Bishop Auckland, County Durham DL14 7JZ