St Anne’s/Somerville 7St Catherine’s 1 St Anne’s/Somerville proved on Sunday that goalkeepers are not indispensable as the newly promoted side overcame a mysterious case of missing kit to overwhelm a lacklustre St Catherine’s. Alex Stewart, the Anne’s/Somerville keeper, was sidelined after his clothing – helmet, leg guards and all – inexplicably vanished from St Anne’s College, forcing the joint team to field 11 outfield players. "Who’d steal a goalie’s kit?" Stewart exclaimed in dismay as he stood in frustration by the touchline. However, what looked to be a hindrance turned out to be a blessing in disguise as Anne’s/Somerville excelled themselves defensively and worked as a tight-knit unit to hit seven past Catz and make the perfect start to the new season. Martin Sykes put in a remarkable attacking performance to score five goals, while Nick Randel added two to complete the onslaught. But no one epitomised St Anne’s/Somerville’s stiff-necked grit more than John McKeane, whose performance in the centre of defence propelled his side towards an amazing victory. It was the Manor Road college, though, who hit first as Richard Hill capitalised on Anne’s/Somerville’s gap in front of the net to slot home for a third-minute lead after a neat interchange of passes. Anne’s/Somerville threatened to hit back, and eventually did on seven minutes as Randel equalised from close range. Captain Laurie Bennett, playing a crucial organising role in a team containing a number of freshers – to the point of instigating a pre-match name-learning session – was an influential figure and twice came close to scoring. He was backed up by some heroic defence from McKenzie, most notably a last ditch, goal-saving tackle at 1-1 when a Catz score might easily have changed the nature of the game. Anne’s/Somerville recovered from Catz’s early onslaught to stretch their lead to 3-1 at the break, Sykes scoring from a few yards out to put the home side ahead and then running through the Catz defence to add his second just before half time. Catz wasted a short corner just after the interval and were punished three minutes later as Sykes completed his hat trick with a precise first-time shot from the left. He was more fortunate than skilful seven minutes later, though, receiving a long pass and shooting at the Catz goalkeeper, who could only return the ball to Sykes who slotted home his team’s fifth. Randel added a sixth and Sykes a seventh late on to complete their marvellous show, but Catz will be irate at their capitulation after starting with a deceptive advantage. On the pitch at Iffley Road, it was Sykes, Randel, McKeane and Bennett who were the Anne’s/Somerville talismans, but their real hero was the phantom kit-thief, who left some on the sidelines wondering whether more college teams will now turn out without a goalkeeper.ARCHIVE: 3rd week MT 2005
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