York Men’s teams emerged bruised, but ultimately triumphant, from this afternoon’s feisty indoor football battles, scooping 4.5 of an available 5 points across four contests, enabling the visitors to establish daylight in the overall rankings. However, it would be a very disappointing Roses for the women’s teams, both slumping to defeat against superior Lancaster five-a-side outfits.
In the showpiece finale to the day’s action, York Men’s firsts struck a powerful psychological blow ahead of the potentially decisive grass-pitch match-ups tomorrow afternoon, with a scrappy 1-0 victory against physical opponents. A penalty split the teams, converted by Johnny McWilliams, although the game ended on a sour note following a bloody facial injury to York’s Tom Wells, inflicted following a vicious touchline tussle with a Lancaster defender.
Requiring little motivation ahead of the encounter, it soon became apparent that York’s talents would be neutralised by the strong-arm bullying of the home side, meaning much of the opening half was played in front of packed defences. Captain Henry Smith and Dominic O’Shea led by example, covering enormous tracts of the pitch, although both would be repeatedly replaced by rolling substitutions as the sweltering conditions took their toll.
After a confrontational first half, leniently controlled by the official, York began to assert themselves after the break, O’Shea working a shooting angle to be denied by the goalkeeper, while previously Smith had blazed over when well-placed. Lancaster squandered an excellent opportunity, when a shot from the right evaded goalkeeper Andrew Emmerson but struck the upright. After the decisive intervention from the penalty mark, Lancaster showed little initiative and as the reality of defeat dawned, their physicality took hold, resulting in several unpleasant scraps and the unfortunate Wells incident in the dying moments.
Earlier, the Men’s seconds produced a stunning performance with a 4-0 victory over a Lancaster side composed predominantly of first team regulars, the goals coming from Laurie Swan (two penalties), Richard Remington and Dan Cox. Again, Lancaster preferred the physical approach, but they seldom troubled George Taylor in the York goal and they were dismantled at will by a superbly flowing display, which could easily have yielded additional goals.
In the preceding match, the respective third teams shared six goals and the single point on offer, although a business-like York side will have felt frustrated to surrender a three-goal advantage, gained in extraordinary circumstances courtesy of three Tristan Holdsworth penalties. There were excellent performances in this game by defender Paul Nightingale and the sprightly striker Parris Williams although the concession of two late goals left the team cursing their luck. In the day’s opening game, York picked up another valuable point with a thrilling 4-3 victory, despite the fielding of a makeshift side and ambiguity over the referee’s interpretation of the finer points of indoor football.
In the Women’s matches, the first team let slip a lead early in the second half to succumb 4-1 to a confident Lancaster team. The first half was largely uneventful, with both teams maintaining a high line of defence, which made chances a rare commodity. The second half presented a stark contrast, with a glut of goals and missed opportunities, triggered when York’s Melissa Tran netted a stunning long-range strike. This only served to inspire their opponents, who responded devastatingly through goals from McCartan (twice), Phillipson and an unlucky own goal by Hayley Smith. The Women’s seconds had earlier been defeated 4-0, with the Lancaster strikes coming from McKinley, Williamson (twice) and Henry.