York Men’s 1sts 5
Leeds Men’s 2nds 0
A MARVELLOUS first-half display by the University of York ensured a comfortable victory against Leeds, one of the highest-rated teams in the BUSA league. The result also meant that they topped the league at the end of an excellent season. The outcome of the result was never in doubt, in a match where York repeatedly pressurised their opponents from the start; they produced a superb attacking display, aided both by Leeds’ lack of organised defence and failure to create any sort of attacking threat.
The game had only been underway for two minutes when good work from the York midfielders culminated in a perfect pass on the left for Daniel Brown. Unchallenged by any of the Leeds defenders, he scored with a cool right-footed finish in the bottom corner. A minute later, following more combative displays from the York midfield, the ball went to Dominic O’Shea who produced a great assist on the left to Henry Smith. Smith’s sublime technique ensured he found the space to put the ball past the hapless Leeds goalkeeper and gift York with a dream start.
The next few minutes saw York looking to extend their lead further with passion and aggression epitomised by Henry Smith, who was never shy of putting in a tackle when necessary. York’s constant pressure saw them awarded with a free kick on the right, resulting in a penalty box skirmish and the ball falling to Brown’s feet; he narrowly missed the goal from 10 yards.
Leeds’ only attempt in the first ten minutes was well dealt with by Simon Oatridge – his clearance resulted in an unintended cross for Henry Smith, who was harshly tackled immediately after by a Leeds midfielder and resulted in a three-minute delay.
Leeds failed to mount any serious challenge to the York defence, mainly thanks to quick and effective defensive work from Henry Smith and Shaun Evans. The Leeds defender’s poor positioning and his failure to clear the ball effectively saw a great chance fall to Pardeep Singh on the left side of the penalty area – only for him to narrowly miss the goal. Minutes later, Ian McKellen’s free-kick saw the ball fire into the top corner to make the score 3-0.
Leeds’ frustration was epitomised by their strikers, whose unrewarded speed and alertness were spoilt by persistent abuse of the referee. In the 38th minute, a swinging corner from the left was headed into the top-left corner by John Searle to make it a well-deserved 4-0. Leeds were then further humiliated when York made it 5-0 just before half-time, courtesy of a free-kick from outside the area from which Singh completed the rout.
The second half saw a dejected away side desperately trying to cut the deficit by adopting a more attack-minded system, with the midfield and strikers pushed deeper. York, on the other hand, adopted a more defensive style and did not suffer any real threat, despite Leeds having the majority of possession.
The only noticeable moment was Singh’s fantastic surge from the halfway line to Leeds’ area, only for his shot to be blocked by the keeper. “I am absolutely delighted,” said captain Daniel Brown. “Two very quick goals killed the game early in the first half. We kept the ball well and the understanding within the team was excellent. We made a very good team like Leeds look very average.”
The captain also paid tribute to goalkeeper Sean Henderson, who kept a clean sheet. He added that that he was pleased with the discipline of all his team-mates, whom he labelled “unsung heroes”.
Player of the Match:
Kept a clean sheet and pulled off several impressive saves