Record-breaking Level 2 outclass Alumni

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Holders Level 2 made JMU Journalism World Cup history by smashing the Alumni to pieces in a 9-2 rout that underlined their overwhelming superiority in a tournament they now threaten to dominate.

Liam Keen’s slick and talented squad, fizzing with justified confidence after thrashing the Alumni again in a repeat of last year’s final, must now defeat the third years to retain their trophy. Few would back against them to succeed after racking up a record score in this one-sided semi-final.

From left: Evan Fyfe, Jack Butler, Ed Baldwin (2), James Farrington (3), Ross McAuley and Joe Watson all scored as Level 2 beat the Alumni 9-2 in the 2017 JMU Journalism World Cup Semi-Final

Nine goals by six different players ended the Alumni’s proud run of four successive appearances in the showpiece match, though the outcome looked obvious from the very first minute at IM Marsh.

Whatever plans the graduates had to contain the defending champions lay in tatters almost immediately when Jack Butler’s speculative attempt squirmed under the body of Alumni goalkeeper, Tom Begbie.

Hat-trick star, James Farrington, opened his account when The Bolton Thunderbolt lashed in the second with a left-footed beauty soon afterwards, before the Alumni hit back with a sweet chip by Nick Seddon to reduce the deficit.

However, the irresistible tide began to flow once more as Ed Baldwin’s drive left Begbie embarrassed with another fumble into the net on an evening to forget for the Cumbrian ‘shot stopper’.

YouTube: Post-match interviews with captains Liam Keen (right) and Chris Shaw

Joe Watson found the bottom corner to make it four, then Farrington scored in the same spot to leave the punch-drunk Alumni side staggering and falling right through the ropes – clean out of the ring – trailing 5-1 at the interval, wishing they could throw in the towel already.

Veteran defender, Jeff McGlinchey, gave the old boys false flickers of hope with a quick reply just after the restart, using his powerful thighs to bundle home Matt Crosby’s pinpoint cross, but within a minute Level 2 raced clear once more when Farrington completed his treble.

Ed Baldwin makes history with the ninth goal as Level 2 beat the Alumni 9-2 in the 2017 JMU Journalism World Cup Semi-Final

Accomplished finishes by Evan Fyfe, Ross McAuley, and Baldwin for his brace, brought up the record-breaking ninth strike for the rampant second years.

What was long over as a contest was finally confirmed when referee, Jake Mullen, mercifully blew the full-time whistle, followed by unseasonal snow falling out of what had earlier been bright blue skies, after this avalanche of goals.

Few things are certain in football – especially the JMU Journalism World Cup – but it would take a shock of huge proportions for the third years to deny Level 2 back-to-back titles in Thursday’s final.

Photo galleries – click on a thumbnail to enlarge the images

2017 Semi-Finals: Level 3 3-1 Level 1 >>

JMU Journalism World Cup archive reports >>

YouTube: Looking back at the inaugural JMU Journalism World Cup (2010)