York Men’s 2nds 3
Northumbria Men’s 3rds 2
A CHAOTIC last fifteen minutes – which saw both teams score twice – ended this racy relegation standoff and ensured York men’s football 2nd XI place in BUSA league 5B for next season. Opponents Northumbria 3rds needed nothing less than a win, and their dogged determination throughout the game meant York would never feel comfortable.
York, donning bibs due to a colour clash, took the lead after ten minutes when captain Mark Worrall smashed in his fourth goal of the campaign. Tom Wilson’s free kick from the corner of the penalty area was a lofty inswinging goal attempt which the goalkeeper, blinded by the sun, could only parry onto the crossbar. The ball spilt to Wilson in waiting, whose calmness in front of goal put the fluorescent yellows deservedly in the lead.
York could have done more to trouble their opponents in what should probably have been an easier match. Chances followed chances, but uncertainty in the final third meant that the goalkeeper was not troubled again before half-time. Holding striker John Evans narrowly failed to latch onto a well-weighted cross from Mike Flood, who quickly found himself weighing up a long range effort which should have been passed to a well-positioned Graeme Wiggins.
Kicking into the wind has been a problem for Worrall’s men of late. Opponents have been quick to realise that weak goal- kicks are met with less vigour, which often leave York unable to retain periods of possession.
By the second half, the pitch had thawed into a muddy mess and surely contributed to the ensuing mayhem. Tempers were aggravated by an incompetent referee who blew on demand, and a handful of Northumbria players who had no qualms in claiming all that was not theirs. The match seemed to turn when Mike Flood clashed with the goalkeeper, striving to meet a ball that should have been left. Both players were carried off and left to watch baffling performances both on and off the pitch.
Northumbria then somehow managed to scramble an equaliser, but John Evans responded immediately with a sublime half volley just inside the area. Kept low and fast, it gave the goalkeeper absolutely no chance whatsoever. It all happened very quickly, and then the ambulance pulled up to rescue the injured players. Except that it turned up onto the pitch. Then it got stuck, again and again, ripping up the pitch, before finally being pushed in several circles towards safety.
This somewhat bizarre and unprecedented distraction made time for another Northumbrian equaliser, but York dug deep once again and responded. This time, Kit Edwards latched onto a stray ball to score a heroic winner, grabbing York a well-received victory and no small amount of relief. It was certainly a nerve-jangling ride for everyone involved, but for York, the final result gave cause for jubilation.
Player of the Match:
A tireless defensive performance in wintery conditions