UNIVERSITY OF YORK FIRSTS 1
UNIVERSITY OF NORTHUMBRIA SECONDS 3
BUCS League 3B – Wednesday 9th December
The sky was clear, the pitch was swamp-like, and the York Firsts were out in force. After a hair-raising face-off with Northumbria just a week earlier, in which the opposition had scraped at 3-2 victory, York had something to prove. The teams were pretty evenly matched. It was our feet against theirs. Tighten your laces girls…
Northumbria, or “Poly” as our opponents affectionately shouted in encouragement to each other (not, in fact because they were all called Polly, although this did take some time for the blonde York team members to establish), came out fighting. In fact, if boxing gloves had been allowed on the field, rest-assured the whole team would have looked like Ricky Hatton. York entered the game, Captained by Jenny England, ready to rumble, with attractive red bibs on… not the baby kind… although they did dribble.
The first goal, alas, was conceded by York… it wasn’t the most impressive display of Northumbrian skill however, the ball being stumbled and tripped over before flopping across the goal line, like a kipper out of water; parched, desperate and beginning to smell. The second goal by the opposition was blinding. Fair play, they did a cracking strike from far far away; to continue the fish metaphor… it leapt into the goal like a salmon up a waterfall. Although our fanstanding first-half goalie Sarah Milner was frustrated with herself for having let it pass her, we all knew that there wasn’t anything more she could have done. The ball was clearly going at break-neck speed and could have actually broken her neck had she attempted to save it.
York passed the ball with their feet and sometimes their heads, true to the nature of the beautiful game, and secured a sweet sweet goal, making the half-time score 2 -1 to Northumbria. It is also worth noting the nearly-goal from York, in which the ball ricocheted like a pinball machine between the post and the Poly’s goalie before it was finally captured and hugged into her stomach like a mother hen and her chick, just in front of the line… no goal.
The Second half saw Annelie Schutz cracking on the goalie kit, releasing Milner and her wrath onto the pitch. Tensions were running high and the pressure on York to claw back goals mounted, with more pushing and shoving between players occurring than you’d see in the queue for Ziggy’s on a Wednesday night.
Captain Jenny went down, winded by a shot to the stomach, but after a good rest in the mud, regained the ability to breathe and returned to the midfield trenches to join her troops. York broke free from Northumbrian defenders a number of times, with shots at goal and inspirational crosses consistently occurring from players such as Ruth, Katie, Lucinda and Gabby. Although the ball never managed to hit the back of the opposition’s net again, it was clear that Northumbria were never safe in their lead… in fact they were as unsafe as the boy in Free Willy who let a killer whale jump over him.
When the final whistle blew, York knew that their defeat would be a hard one to swallow. It is worth applauding the York defenders who gave Northumbria a good run for their money and ensured that they weren’t bullied into submission by the opposition’s attackers, despite being jostled more than a Morris Dancer troop at a village fete. Their opponents, who were no more skilled than the York side, felt it appropriate to sing a song of victory which ended with some pretty shocking expletives… a sad testimony to the lack of good sportsmanship present in the youth of today it would seem. I can only express my relief to know my grandmother was not in earshot of such lyrics.
Given that none of the team are men, “man of the match” would be an inappropriate title to award any of the squad. But certainly, as footballing females, all the girls fought bravely throughout their last match of the term, and rest-assured, with the new term bringing new challenges (like running-off the effects of Christmas dinner), for the York Women’s Firsts, greater things are yet to come.