Gage the hero in dramatic Cup victory

BUCS Northern Conference Cup

Images: Andy Davis

Captain Hannah Gage scored the winning penalty flick in a dramatic encounter with Durham thirds, to send the women’s hockey firsts through to the quarter finals of the Cup.

The match ended 1-1 after extra time, with the home side progressing 3-2 on penalty flicks to continue a remarkable run in the competition.

The opening stages were scrappy, but York were on top, and after Frankie Hall tested the Durham goalkeeper it seemed that they would soon take the lead.

But shortly afterwards, Durham were ahead when Sally Dolton cleared off the line, only to see an opposition player pounce on the rebound at the far post.

For the remainder of the half York were frustrated, unable to keep possession or get enough players in attacking positions.

Their best chance fell to Rachel Faustino, who looked certain to score after Emily Lucas’ effort was saved, but the Durham defence somehow cleared their lines.

York started the second half in much brighter fashion and were soon rewarded when Lucas, who had already wasted two short corners, hit a shot which deflected into the path of Jill Mercer, who turned it into the net from a tight angle.

An onslaught of York attacks followed, with Faustino and Lucas each going close from two more penalty corners; the Durham goalkeeper and the post were all that denied York a second goal.

But the White Rose were unable to maintain such intensity, and, despite earning two more penalty corners, it was unsurprising when the full-time whistle blew with the sides still level.

Extra-time was a tight and largely uneventful affair, York’s only real chance coming when Faustino earned a penalty corner after a mazy run, but once again Lucas was unable to covert, leaving the game to be decided on penalty flicks.

Things weren’t looking good for York when Faustino missed their first flick to give Durham the advantage, but York keeper Laura Porter saved the next two attempts from the visitors.

Lucas and Vaila Ormiston both placed their flicks to perfection, into the top corner, and although Mercer’s effort was saved, Durham missed at the fifth attempt to give York the chance to snatch victory.

It was the captain Gage who stepped up, and she sent her flick well out of the keeper’s reach to send the watching crowd wild.

This was yet another impressive win for York, beating a side two divisions above them to reach the last eight of the Cup.

Afterwards, Gage told Nouse: “It was really tough, they’re a good side and they really pushed us hard. But on the day, I guess we wanted it a bit more. I’m really happy with the girls, they all gave so much, and I can’t believe I scored a flick!”

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