UYAFC undone by nightmare conditions

BUCS Northern Conference 3B

Images: Agatha Torrance

The men’s football firsts were left to rue the arctic weather conditions this afternoon, as they were comprehensively beaten 8-2 by Huddersfield on 22 Acres.

After going in level at half-time, the home side were helpless to prevent a second half Huddersfield onslaught as the visitors used the weather to their advantage.

Such a heavy loss against the side sitting bottom of the league represents a bitter blow to York’s promotion hopes, particularly when the Black and Gold’s impressive form of late suggests that they should have picked up the three points.

With both sides keen to get the game on, the first half began in the midst of a blizzard that would only get worse. It was end to end stuff in the opening stages, though, with Huddersfield guilty of wasting two glorious opportunities early on, denied by a combination of goalkeeper Luke Bradley and the snowy playing surface.

Tom Day was then unlucky not to put York ahead, as he got on the end of a cross at the back post, only to see his effort hacked off the line. That was before Tom Clarke put a shot wide after pouncing on a slack piece of defending.

The wind meant that Huddersfield were struggling to get out of their own half, and York seemed to possess a far superior passing ability that kept them on the front foot.

Two York players somehow failed to connect with a dangerous corner from Ollie Harrison, but another set piece would soon deliver the first goal of the day. Clarke took an inswinging corner from the right which, after a scramble in the six yard box, fell at the feet of James Davies, who stabbed it into the net.

As the blizzard intensified, there was little on-field action to speak of. That was until the visitors equalised out of nothing; a long ball over the top caught the home defence napping and Huddersfield’s Fellaini-esque number nine was able to calmly slot past Bradley.

York had the chance to go in at the break ahead, but Phil Taylor headed over the bar, before Clarke was presented with a glorious one-on-one opportunity that was saved by the keeper’s legs.

1-1 was the score at half-time, but York would soon find that those misses would prove extremely costly.

Shortly after the restart, the home side discovered the perils of trying to play into the blizzard, as a clearance from Bradley fell short and the resulting cross was finished neatly. And it was 3-1 moments later, as York’s slow start to the second half was punished further.

In a goal-laden period, Clarke then pulled one back for York, at last getting his goal after racing in behind the defence to finish composedly.

But a complete fluke of a fourth goal for Huddersfield effectively killed the game as a contest. An attempted cross from the corner of the area somehow found its way on target and looped over Bradley.

An incredible save from the visiting keeper at the other end kept York two goals behind, but with the conditions worsening it was an impossible task for the hosts.

With the wind on their side, Huddersfield were able to break through the home defence time and again, and it was 5-2 when Bradley came rushing out of his goal and left a simple finish for the opposing striker.

Clarke and Davies were both missed clear-cut chances to get their side back into the game, but, with York’s players struggling to see the ball or their teammates, it was always going to be an uphill battle.

Defending became an impossible task, and three quickfire strikes condemned the Black and Gold to a damaging defeat, the big number nine reveling in the conditions and causing all sorts of problems with his height and power.

York did a fine job at damage limitation after the eighth goal had gone in, and the referee mercifully called time on proceedings before the full 90 minutes were up.

In reality, York had to win the first half by a considerable margin to have stood a chance of victory in today’s conditions, but it remains to be seen just how costly this result will be.

York: Bradley, Jones, Belshaw, Brandreth, Tringham, Mawdesley (Daly), Harrison (Harris), Davies, Day (Kimber), Taylor, Clarke