Smash-and-grab victory for Durham thirds in women’s hockey

The jubilation on the Durham team's faces as they left the field was clear to see. Image: Peter Iveson

The jubilation on the Durham team's faces as they left the field was clear to see. Image: Peter Iveson

UNIVERSITY OF YORK 0

UNIVERSITY OF DURHAM THIRDS 1

A late goal from Allie Watts sealed a unlikely win for Durham thirds as they managed to leave York with all three points despite being under the cosh from the first minute to the last. It proved to be one of those days for York’s women as they did everything but score, only for Durham to steal the win with their only shot on target, consigning York to their first league defeat of the season.

The game resembled something of an attack versus defence training session as York regularly besieged the Durham area. Crucially the one area they fell short in was the finishing department as they failed to convert any of their numerous chances.

York started well by exerting the early pressure, principally due to their slick passing, but the nearest they came to opening the deadlock was a shot by Frankie Hall – kept out by Durham’s keeper Kat Alexander.

Chances were few and far between, despite the White Rose dominating possession and although Charlie Bartlett’s side went in at the break much the better of the two sides the score remained 0-0, with very few goal-scoring chances of note.

There was a recurring theme beginning to emerge as York were awarded short corner after short corner only to see their subsequent efforts on goal kept out by Alexander in the away side’s goal. On one occasion Emily Lucas’ shot on goal was parried but nobody following up could get enough contact on the ball to convert the opportunity from close range.

Images: Peter Iveson

The pressure was beginning to rise as the seemingly inevitable goal that York had strived for suddenly began to slip away. Hannah Gage went close after a good run by Club President Laura Pepper and with time running out an effort from Hall nearly fell nicely for Gage again at the far-post but unfortunately eluded her, much to the frustration of the clearly tense York management and support.

It seemed the game was now likely to end as a draw as York’s toiling continued to prove fruitless but a short corner for the away side was cleverly played to Allie Watts who hit home to send her teammates into raptures. The visitors had produced a classic away-day performance, soaking up wave upon wave of attacks before nicking the points with five minutes to play.

York Captain Charlie Bartlett was nigh on speechless at the end of the game, but managed to sum up her team’s major emotion: “It’s disappointing but the team worked really hard. The score didn’t reflect the match but to be fair to Durham their defending was great and we couldn’t quite break it”.

It was a particularly galling result for York with Durham the only side placed above them in the league, but today’s performance showed that the White Rose is more than capable of competing and with three games left, and with a very favourable goal difference thanks to last week’s 12-0 mauling of the University of Sheffield seconds, Bartlett’s team might just push their Durham counterparts for promotion.

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