UNIVERSITY OF YORK FIRSTS 5
UNIVERSITY OF DURHAM THIRDS 1
BUCS League 3B – Wednesday 17th February
The women’s hockey firsts made an important step in their BUCS League campaign today, crushing their closest rivals Durham thirds in a 5-1 victory. York, who at the start of play were just behind their opponents in third, turned in a dominant all-round performance which will undoubtedley give them invaluable momentum to take into the remainder of the season.
Anna Smith’s team controlled the game from the off and signalled their attacking intent with a spell of intense early pressure. Laura Pepper was especially impressive in the middle of the park and acted as the attacking fulcrum of the team. She played an excellent pass through in the just the fifth minute which sent Francesca Hall bearing down on goal. A somewhat cynical challenge gave York the first of what would be a succesion of short corners.
Although they failed to capitalise in the first instance, Pepper firing just wide from the resulting set piece, they did not have to wait long before their dominance was converted into a tangible advantage. The breakthrough came courtesy of an elegant move involving Rachel Faustino, Hannah Gage and Andrea Pisesky who menanced the Durham defense as a trio throughout. The ball eventually fell to Emily Lucas who smashed home from a tight angle to give York an early lead.
Despite York being in the ascendency, this lead lasted all of a minute. In a move that came almost from the restart York allowed the Durham forwards a rare oppurtunity to formulate a cohesive attack. This resulted in an equaliser being poked home from three yards with York goalkeeper Beanie Usher left stranded. York will have been displeased that they didn’t consolidate their lead but they redeemed themselves with a magnificent reaction to the shock of being on level terms.
Andrea Pisesky fires home a flick penalty for York’s fifth and final goal on an afternoon which confirmed their strength in relation to their nearest challengers in League 3B. Photograph by Peter Iveson.
The away side didn’t look likley to add to their tally and gave York a number of gifts in their defensive third. A miss-hit pass was pounced upon by Pisesky on the right and she managed to force a corner through her hard work. A Durham indiscretion from the subsequent set piece gave York another short corner opportunity and Pepper converted decisively. They took this deserved lead into the break perhaps wondering how the margin by which they led only stood at one.
The manner in which they started the second-half suggested that they were not content to sit on their lead. The early stages were mainly confined to the Durham half although the away side did look dangerous on the sporadic occasions that they mounted counter attacks. However, any resistance that they were begining to build was soon laid to waste by the third York goal. Faustino got in on the act this time after good work from her attacking counterparts Hall and the perpetually dangerous Pisesky. This decisive strike gave York the freedom to play expansive Hockey and at times it looked as though they could have inflicted a defeat of embarrassing proportions on the travelling side.
Today’s match was York’s last home fixture of the season in the league, with trips to Leeds, Newcastle and Northumbria still to come. Photograph by Peter Iveson.
In the end they were restricted to just two further goals. It was Gage that added the fourth after a stifling period of York pressure, flicking excellently into the top left corner after a scramble in the Durham area. The final goal came from a flick penalty earned from perhaps the best move of the match. York worked the ball the length of the pitch as Charlie Bartlett, who was outstanding in defence, went on a storming run to set up a lightning counter attack. Pisesky then sent a superb cross field ball to Hall who was unceremonioiusly stopped by a panicked Durham defender when she seemed certain to score. Pisesky gratefully slotted the flick penalty home for a goal that her efforts completely merited.
Although Durham piled on some late pressure, York rarely looked in extreme danger and will be pleased with a professional, clinical performance. After outstanding performances recently in both league and cup they will be hoping that they have hit their form at the perfect time for the impending run in to the end of the season.