York battle through horror conditions to reach semi-finals

UNIVERSITY OF YORK 4 – 2 UNIVERSITY OF LEEDS

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Images: Petroc Taylor

A brace of goals from Sam Barker and one apiece from Jess Craig and Ellie Whittaker ensured York a 4-2 victory over Leeds in the quarter finals of the BUCS Cup today in the face of atrocious conditions on 22 acres.

York opened up an early lead after merely seven minutes when Craig slotted the ball into the left hand corner of the net after an excellent cross from Whittaker. Leeds came back strongly at their opponents and some stern defending was required to keep them at bay.

Captain Vicky DeCamp and centre back, Rhiannon Roy produced some excellent defending to deny Leeds after a period of sustained pressure from the visitors. Roy in particular proved very strong in the air as York scrambled to clear a corner whipped in by Leeds. Right back Maria Phillips also aided York through a nervy ten minutes which saw her clear the ball off the line after another well placed corner from the Leeds side.

But a rare mistake from goal keeper Meg Phillips after nineteen minutes saw Leeds equalise. A back pass from Marte Wang resulted in drastic miscommunication between the pair and the ball bobbled into the net much to the dismay of the York side.

Whittaker continued her fine form in the match when she fired a shot just over the bar twenty-five minutes in. It wasn’t long before York were back in the lead through a sensational goal from Whittaker, a strong strike saw the ball fly into the top corner of the net much to the jubilation of the crowd.

York went into half time 2-1 up as the conditions steadily worsened; sleet, snow and rain combined to make York’s task of defending their lead against Leeds an uphill struggle.

As Leeds came out hard in the second half, DeCamp made a captain’s tackle to prevent the Leeds striker from encroaching upon the goal line.

Amy Johnson almost managed to deflect the ball into the net when she latched onto the end of an excellent strike from Bea Rye who had another very good game for the black and gold. Wang went onto the hit the side netting after another accurate cross from Rye.

Phillips made up for her first half mistake by making two brilliant saves to keep York in the match, shortly after Phillips’ heroics, Barker let rip an amazing strike from twelve yards out which the Leeds keeper was only able to parry into the net to give York a 3-1 lead.

Barker gave York even more breathing space when she scored her second from twenty-five yards out. The Leeds keeper flailed at the ball in attempt to make the save but only succeeded in tipping the ball over her head and into the net. Barker thoroughly deserved her brace as a passionate performance saw her put in some hard yards on the pitch and she added some real attacking flair to the York midfield.

Leeds scored a consolation late goal as York’s defenders were unable to deal with a Leeds corner and the ball was unluckily headed into the net by the York players. But by this time victory was merely a formality for the white rose, with five minutes to go Jess Craig’s shot was saved brilliantly by the Leeds keeper, but she failed to gather it safely and provided substitute Mel Turner with an opportunity to pounce on the rebound. Turner fired the ball just past the post in what turned out to be York’s last real chance of the match.

Ecstatic York captain Vicky DeCamp said after the match ‘We’re just over the moon, I can’t describe how happy we are to be in the semi finals’. She commented on the ‘awful’ weather but added ‘our girls did really well battling against the elements’. She had a word of praise for Whittaker’s wonder goal as well ‘a fantastic goal from Ellie earlier on, just a fantastic performance from everyone’.

Team: M.Phillips, C.Barrington, R.Roy, V.DeCamp, M.Davies, E.Whittaker, S.Barker, M.Wang, B.Rye, A.Johnson, J.Craig.

Player of the Match: Sam Barker

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