Goals from Kayinsola Akinwuntan, Sam Morris, Alex Wilson, Eddy Mort and John Findlay consigned Exeter to a 5-1 defeat as St John’s Men moved into first place in the JCR Premier Division.
With Balliol’s tie against St Catherine’s postponed due to player shortages, this Monday game offered John’s the opportunity to move to the top of the league and assert themselves in the title chase. John’s took their opportunity with aplomb, dispatching Exeter in a surprisingly one-sided contest, given that the game was second versus third at kick-off.
On a small pitch, both teams tried to break away fast when the opposition lost the ball, but with the ground sodden after hard rain for most of the morning, the first-half was a scrappy affair, with the teams going in at the break at 1-1.
In fact, Exeter took the lead against the run of play in the 10th minute as John’s keeper Stás Butler dropped a cross, allowing Arthur Wellesley to tap home. Yet almost straight from the restart, John’s were level as Blues strikers Mort and Akinwuntan combined well, the former threading it through to the latter who dispatched the ball into the back of the net.
After the initial frenzy, the pace of the game slowed, as Exeter seemed content to sit back and soak up the pressure applied by John’s. In particular, Akinwuntan was causing the most problems for the Exeter defence, with his close control and direct running creating several chances, the most notable a cross he sent into the box from deep within the John’s half that was struck past the post by Mort.
The advantage, however, swung decisively to John’s after half-time, as substitutes Wilson and Morris combined on 55 minutes to give their team the advantage. After good work by Wilson on the left-hand side, he crossed the ball to Morris who volleyed it low and hard into the back of the net.
Further goals arrived in the latter stages, as John’s maintained their knack for scoring late. Wilson turned scorer in the 75th minute, controlling the ball well on the edge of the box, and looped it over Blues keeper Sean Gleeson, with the ball seemingly taking a deflection. Two minutes later and the contest was as good as over. Paddy Osborne was fouled in the box, and Mort converting the subsequent penalty, despite Gleeson diving the right way.
John’s added gloss to a fine result in the last five minutes, with Findlay scoring the pick of the lot. Phil Thumfart, who had a fine game in central midfield winning the ball and distributing well to set his team out on the attack, put a ball into the box which was slammed into the roof of the net by Findlay.
Speaking after the game, Exeter’s captain Gleeson was disappointed: “It was not good enough,” he said. “We know that we are better than that. We weren’t good enough today, and that’ll do.” In truth, Gleeson was right, as resolute John’s defending meant that Exeter’s exciting attacking players Oluwatobi Olaitan and Henri du Périer were kept quiet throughout.
Sam Shah, John’s left wing-back, was pleased with his side’s performance, saying that John’s had “put Exeter to the sword” in a fine performance. Indeed, John’s could have had several more, with good chances for Mort in the first half, and Morris hitting the bar during his team’s purple patch in the game’s latter stages.
Goals rained across the JCR Premier Division as Wadham thrashed Worcester 8-2.