The first years conjured up another dynamic and delightful display to secure the JMU Journalism World Cup title with a 5-0 victory against Level 3 in the last tournament.
Level 1, who racked up an incredible 14-0 win in the semis to set a new record, produced a performance fitting of the finale, although the graduating class can to some extent be comforted by the fact they were defeated by worthy champions.
The debutants could have won by a much wider margin and they went ahead within 10 minutes when Anton Brooks broke down the left flank to cut inside before squaring it for Ethan Taylor to open the scoring.
In a bid to respond, Level 3’s Jack Keogh went on a pacy break and forced a corner which Finbar Curran swung in to cause momentary alarm, but the third years could not force it home.
The London-based Level 1 players were to prove prolific on the night, with the other four goals emanating from the capital.
Brooks, who hails from Wimbledon, served up an ace first touch to control a high pass and then struck a sweet, unstoppable shot into the far corner. It was so good that Brooks could not help instantly applauding himself for his own skill.
YouTube: JMU Journalism
While it wasn’t all one-way traffic, the greater opportunities were being created by the new boys, as Lewis Pugh and Luke Edwards went close and Level 3 goalkeeper Stephen Killen performed heroics to minimise the scale of the defeat at IM Marsh.
Local lad Killen showed as much bravery as he did agility and athleticism with a series of excellent saves, including one in a painful challenge that could have ended his participation in the contest before half-time, yet he soldiered on.
Cockney showboater, Beck Pascal, should have added a third soon after the break as he sought to impress with his trickery, although he would later make amends.
Level 3’s Curran came closest to getting them off the mark, especially with one drive which produced an acrobatic parry from Matt Gomersall, but there was only ever likely to be a Level 1 triumph.
Lingering hopes for the third years were extinguished when Charlie Mullings found himself in space to release Brooks and he added the third with a cool finish, bringing his personal tournament tally to six overall.
Fancying his chances outfield, Killen handed the goalkeeper’s gloves to Level 3 captain Ross Crane and then set up Curran with an ideal opening which he squandered, before Pascal immediately made it 4-0 at the other end on the counterattack.
Brooks repaid an earlier favour to his fellow Londoner by setting up Mullings to round off the scoring with the last kick of the match.
As referee, Sean Alcock, blew the full-time whistle on the final and the whole event, nobody could deny that the JMU Journalism World Cup had ended in style after 10 glorious years.
YouTube: Looking back at the first JMU Journalism World Cup (2010)