UNIVERSITY OF YORK 8-7 UNIVERSITY OF LEICESTER
BUCS Championship Quarter Finals
Images: Petroc Taylor
A last minute winner from Ash Daly ensured a dramatic victory for the men’s futsal firsts on Sunday night, sending them through to the quarter finals of the BUCS Championship.
Daly struck with just 30 seconds left on the clock to see his side overcome Leicester, after what had been an intense and frenetic affair in which York made things difficult for themselves.
An electric atmosphere produced by a raucous home crowd, though, was vital in pulling the Black and Gold through their toughest test of the season so far.
Things began badly for the hosts, as a positive start from Leicester caught them off guard. Jonny Sim made a couple of smart stops, but would soon be beaten as the visitors took a deserved lead.
An off-colour beginning from the White Rose was punished further when Daly was caught in possession and Sim was rounded as he went to ground, allowing the attacker in blue to tap in.
After a time-out, the home side were much improved and pulled one back through Alex Tringham, who side-footed an emphatic effort into the corner to give the crowd something to cheer.
The visitors would soon re-establish their two-goal advantage, though, as another lethal counter-attack was again hammered home.
A lovely exchange between Tom Day and Dom Hallas resulted in the Club President bringing it back to 3-2 with a clever toe-poke, but it was Leicester’s Zac Boggs running the show at this stage. It was he who scored the team in blue’s fourth, crashing a shot through a mass of bodies.
James Briars came close time after time before the break; first he hit the side-netting, before putting a header onto the bar and back-heeling a Daly drive onto the foot of the post.
As the half-time whistle blew, York were left to reflect on a frustrating 20 minutes in which they had failed to produce the standard of play they had shown in previous encounters.
The second half, though, began in similar fashion. The men in black and gold looked disjointed, as crisp passing and first touches eluded them.
Daly beat his man and screwed a left-footed effort into the corner to make it 4-3, but York still looked suspect at the other end.
Only the brilliance of Sim between the sticks kept them within touching distance, although Leicester would later be left to rue their profligacy in front of goal.
York would soon be punished again, though, as Gregory Jones pounced on some lax defending to chip Sim and score.
Jonny Brown brought the White Rose back into it immediately afterwards, taking a cross-court pass in his stride to slam a shot across goal and into the corner.
But Leicester still looked like the better team, and hit the bar with Sim stranded. Day and Connor McCoy were both frustrated as chances came and went, with Tringham forced to make some vital interceptions at the other end.
With eight minutes to go, York had little choice but to throw men forward, and again it was the unflappable Sim who kept them in the game; the York goalkeeper came flying out of his goal to execute a perfect sliding tackle.
Both sides seemed to be losing their composure at this point – York were shooting at every sight of goal, while Leicester almost gifted them what would have been a comical own goal. With York behind, cries of frustration from the home bench were not what the crowd wanted to hear.
From nowhere, though, Daly forced an equaliser, his deflected shot wrong-footing the uncertain visiting keeper.
And straight from the restart, York took the lead for the first time in the game. McCoy made an interception on the half-way line and slipped in Tringham to slot an effort into the top corner.
The crowd’s jubilation was short-lived, however, as Boggs lashed an unstoppable free-kick past a motionless Sim.
Hallas and Daly both saw shots flash wide of the upright, but were left in further despair as Boggs added to his tally after yet another well-executed counter-attack.
With time running out rapidly, Tringham equalised for York once again, firing a left-footed effort through a mess of defenders. The pressure the home side had exerted in the closing stages was paying off, and Tringham had a golden chance to win it from a clever free-kick but blasted over the bar.
Into the final minute, and the tension was palpable within the tent. A swift Leicester move was once again foiled by Sim, whose latest in a string of remarkable saves drew adulation from the supporting crowd.
But the fairy tale ending was still to come. Running onto the ball close to the half-way line, Daly let fly with a rasping drive that arrowed into the top corner, sending all present into wild celebrations on the pitch and on the touchline.
With less than half a minute to play, York were able to run down the clock and revel in a hard-fought victory that puts them through to the last eight.
Exhausted captain Tom Day told Nouse afterwards, “It was the worst performance of the season, especially compared to how we played against Sheffield in the last game. We awful today, going 2-0 down, but it shows a lot of character from the team. You can definitely see the spirit and we were buoyed on by the crowd that came down today.
“We knew that as soon as we got level with them we could go on and win it, it was just a case of getting that two-goal difference back up. Ash Daly and Alex Tringham were outstanding as usual, as was Jonny Sim. I’m buzzing to get through.”
The quarter final match will be played on Sunday 24 February.