UNIVERSITY OF YORK SECONDS 2
SHEFFIELD HALLAM THIRDS 1
BUCS League 5B – Wednesday 3rd March
Adam Tyrrell’s dramatic late winner killed off the dogged challenge of Sheffield Hallam on Wednesday afternoon and, in the process, ensured the seconds will be playing their hockey in League 5B for another year.
The celebration told you everything about how significant this intervention was – Tyrrell tumbled to the floor, laid on his back with arms outstretched as his jubilant teammates sprinted from all corners of the pitch to mob him. It was reminiscent of Paul Gascoigne, the former England football midfielder, after he scored that seminal goal against Scotland in Euro ’96.
Tyrrell, on a hot streak after his hat-trick in the 7-0 Varsity rout of York St. John on Sunday, fired under the leaping Hallam goalkeeper with a second bite of the cherry, his initial effort from six yards blocked. It was a deserved reward for a strong York performance in which they should have punished the basement-dwellers more emphatically.
A glance at the standings underlines the importance of this 68th minute winner: while a draw wouldn’t have meant the end of the world, with just one round of fixtures left, things wouldn’t have entirely have been in York’s hands as they travelled to promotion-chasing Bradford next Wednesday. As it stands now, however, they are nine points clear of Hallam, and their future looks clearer.
York made the more encouraging start on a sun-kissed Astroturf, seeing a goal disallowed on five minutes after the ball flashed through the ‘D’ untouched before a close-range shot from Adam Douglas, who notched two on Sunday, was deflected wide.
Wednesday’s victory gives York a handy nine-point lead over Sheffield Hallam, enough to secure their place in League 5B for another season. Photograph by Sam Newsome.
Moments later, Adam Phillips searched out space down the right and, following speedy interplay with Tyrrell flicked a tempting square ball into Douglas’s path, only for the forward to be blocked off. The hosts settled quickly and had the superior tempo and rhythm, seeing another long-range effort disallowed and forcing a succession of unconverted short corners.
The best chances of the opening 35 were yet to come, with another Douglas snapshot prompting a rather extravagant save from the goalkeeper as he club-fisted the ball away with his left glove. At the other end, after finally locating some creativity, Hallam forced Tom Chevins, the home goalkeeper, into evasive action but the scores remained locked at zero at the changearound.
Sensing that the game was there for the taking, York wasted little time in pinning Hallam down as the second-half got underway. A couple of minutes in, Phillips produced a reverse shot with his left hand which had the goalkeeper sweating as it trickled wide, although Chevins was needed to race from his goal on a couple of occasions as the visitors countered.
Adam Phillips lets fly for York. His goal, on 50 minutes, finally broke the deadlock after a number of good opportunities had gone begging. Photograph by Sam Newsome.
On 50 minutes, finally, the deadlock was broken: building pressure from a short corner, Will Fresson drove the ball in from the left and, after an initial effort had been deflected into his path, Phillips was on hand to score from a couple of yards. The great moment of opportunism was marked by another carefully-choreographed celebration – based on canoe paddling – which followed on from Sunday’s imaginative goal reactions.
The joy wouldn’t last. Duncan Sills hobbled off worriedly clutching his ankle and, perhaps distracted by the reshuffle, York’s lead was cancelled out within ten minutes. The goal happened almost in cinematic slow motion as a fairly innocuous shot from the edge of the ‘D’ took a snick off someone’s stick, fooled Chevins and crawled over the line.
York were looking stretched and, briefly, looked likely to slip to a damaging defeat but, when the game and the season as a whole needed taking by the scruff its neck, there was Tyrrell.
York Line-up: GK – Tom Chevins, 27. Dan Forshaw, 2. Mike Giblin, 14. Duncan Sills, 3. Tom Harcourt, 26. Joe Walsh, 44. Adam Phillips, 47. James Evans, 25. William Fresson, 32. Adam Tyrrell, 1. Adam Douglas
Substitutes: Tom Norman, Sam Unsworth, Hugh Richards