York centre back Aaron Burke scored a memorable injury time equaliser to salvage a 3-3 draw for the White Rose just minutes after Lancaster thought they had stolen the points, in a grandstand finish to the Roses weekend.
Lancaster had taken the lead with just a minute remaining when their striker was quickest to react after Ben Macpherson in the York goal had parried a shot from the edge of the box. It looked as if it was going to be heartbreak for York who had been pushing hard for a winner and had missed a series of great chances. But Burke sparked celebrations when a low ball across the Lancaster box landed at his feet and he drilled home from close range.
‘We never looked like losing,’ said a delighted captain Nick Wall after the game, whose goal in the first half had got York back on terms after the reds had opened the scoring.
Paul Rayer’s pace had caught the York defence napping as he latched onto a long ball before clipping it over Macpherson beautifully to put Lancaster in front. Many might have expected York to fold given performances this season, but Wall pulled his team level with a true captain’s goal. Andy Day hooked the ball into the box and Wall bravely nodded it past the onrushing keeper before beating the last Lancaster defender to the ball and smashing home for the equaliser.
It was the referee who then took centre stage when he gifted Lancaster a questionable penalty. The York defence looked to have repelled a Lancaster break with two great tackles, but the referee deemed that the second challenge had been a foul, and Lancaster coolly converted the spot-kick to make it 2-1.
The teams then had to brave difficult conditions with hail and torrential rain, and it was York that seemed to cope better. Chasing the game early in the second half they created a string of good chances before the equaliser came. Mark Redding found Paul Heggarty with a superb long pass, and the midfielder showed good strength before poking the ball to Matt Martin who made no mistake with just the keeper to beat.
Martin and Rodney Lewis squandered good chances for York who should have been able to kill the game off long before Lancaster looked to have stolen it, but Burke’s last minute effort gave York a much deserved draw.
‘We’ve had a poor season,’ said Wall after the match, ‘and we didn’t want to bail out like that.’ ‘We get a lot of criticism around campus, and its good to prove to people, like Langwith, that we can play football.’
The Women’s 1sts also picked up a draw, as Lancaster held them 1-1. A first-half own goal had given the away team the advantage, but Lizzie Stewart equalised early in the second half. This set up an exciting end to end finish, but neither side could find the clinical touch to take the points.
The Men’s seconds lost 1-0 in a bad tempered match which saw Lancaster reduced to ten men late on, but they held on and their first half strike was enough