In a hastily organised playoff match, York’s first team triumphed over Newcastle in a 2-1 away victory that re-secures their promotion in the BUSA League.
York believed that they had gained promotion from League 3B after a six game winning streak was capped off with a 4-0 win against Sterling, but were told that they were required to compete in a playoff after organisational errors meant that too many teams had been assigned to the league that York had been promoted to.
After an agonising 2-1 defeat in extra time to Central Lancashire in the BUSA Cup on February 27, York’s men had reason to be anxious – but captain Dominic O’Shea was optimistic in the lead up to the match: “The pitch looks good, we’ve got a strong side here and we’ve got to keep our minds on the positives”.
York seemed tentative at the kick off, allowing Newcastle to attack early – gaining a corner in the first few minutes. However, the away side had the first real chance of the game on the ten minute mark when O’Shea threaded a through ball behind the Newcastle centre backs to Ed Murrills who miscued his shot, leaving the ball to fall tamely into the keeper’s gloves.
As the first half continued, Newcastle were seen to be playing for the long ball instead of attempting to play the ball into feet. This was fruitless for the most part, with York’s defence staying alert to the danger.
The breakthrough came after half an hour, when a continued spell of pressure from York led to two successive corners. The accurate delivery of the second corner led Andy Rixon to utilise his height advantage to rise above everyone else, slotting a powerful header into the back of the net.
In the final minutes of the first half York looked to be composed, keeping the ball in midfield, focusing on possession and remaining wary of Newcastle’s frequent attempts to lift a cross over their defensive line.
During the half time break, York were advised by their captain to maintain their composure and not to sit back in the match and become complacent. As the second half began, it became clear that Newcastle had changed their tactics – playing more balls through to feet and attempting a more structured build- up play.
This differing style began to pay off as Newcastle created a succession of chances in the early going, the best of which coming when York’s central defenders were left momentarily flat footed, although the Newcastle striker could only manage to pull his shot across goal, narrowly missing the target.
Frustration began to set in for Newcastle, who began to admonish the officials for every decision that didn’t go their way. This frustration was also evident in Newcastle’s tackling, which became more aggressive and less controlled as the second half went on. The home side’s highly strung attitude led to the game opening up, with both sides finding space through the centre of the pitch. It was Newcastle however, who were able to convert – bundling the ball into the net after a scrappy exchange inside York’s six yard box.
Newcastle’s celebrations were short lived, as York regained their advantage within a minute of the restart – Ed Murrills capitalising on his opportunity in front of goal. In the final minutes, O’Shea changed the York formation from 3-5-2 to 4-4-2 to successfully stifle Newcastle’s attempts down both wings and see the match out to the final whistle.
After the match, O’Shea said: “It’s great to pick up the win here. We kept our composure and were the better team on the day. We’ve had a much better season than they have and deserved to be promoted.”
York hope to continue their winning league form next season in League 2B.