UNIVERSITY OF YORK FIRSTS 17 – 10 LEEDS BECKETT CARNEGIE UNIVERSITY FIRSTS
BUCS Northern 1B
In a high scoring affair with offense to the fore, York came out on top- thereby announcing their intentions to compete in the higher reaches of Northern 1A this season. Leeds Beckett were tough opposition, able to stave off York’s attacks for much of the first half. However it was in the third quarter that the home side pulled away- scoring eight to Leeds’ three- to secure the spoils. This goal glut gave York such comfort that they were able to get away without scoring once in the final quarter.
Leeds took a rare lead initially, plundering a 1-0 lead on the counter attack in the opening minutes. Connie Shaw- in typically tenacious fashion- was having none of it and secured a quick brace. She equalised with a wraparound and powered through a brittle Leeds defence to make it 2-1. Goalkeeper Beth Reynolds made a crucial save down low with her left leg shortly after, preventing Leeds from making an immediate response. This defensive stability, complemented by intelligent marking from Laura Carruthers, Aine Moylett and Rachel Thompson, gave York a chance to surge forward. Libbie Storick applied the finishing touch for a third goal and Hattie Whillams placed an inch-perfect effort into the top right to extend the advantage.
The visitors seemed to take heart from captain Chloe Searle’s inability to profit from a free position- awarded after a foul. They scored two in quick succession, building attacks chiefly down the left flank. Leeds’ second came as their forward collected a high pass and swooped her stick down for 4-2, while just before the end of the first quarter they scored with a daisy-cutter which just evaded Reynolds.
The second quarter was neck and neck, with the two teams trading goals and somewhat unable to keep the back door shut. Storick netted her second after a mazy run, only to see Leeds pull level. A goal from the right made it 5-4 and the attentions of Claire Thomas could not prevent a Leeds midfielder from scoring their fifth. Connie Shaw’s pass was tailor made for Chloe Searle who applied an eye-catching first time finish from close range. Storick wanted some of the action, receiving a good pass from Searle to score and then returning the favour for 8-5. Just after the captain scored another to make it 9-5, her stick was inspected to ensure it was deep enough to fit regulations. In many ways, this was a tribute to the balletic ease with which she glided through the Leeds backline time and time again.
This was certainly a proficient team performance from York, but the masterful midfield trio of Searle, Shaw and Storick took collective control in the third quarter. Stealthy, sibilant and strident in their forward running, together they scored the tenth, eleventh, twelfth, thirteenth, fourteenth and fifteenth goals. Searle controlled the game, Shaw provided tireless running in spite of some shameless foul play and Storick linked the midfield with the attack and was the spearhead of so many penetrative runs into threatening attacking zones. Claire Thomas played an important role in anchoring the midfield, giving those three licence to break forward. Hattie Whillams scored the sixteenth and seventeenth goals to increase her tally for the day to three.
York failed to add to their haul in the fourth quarter, but instead directed their efforts into retaining possession of the ball and killing time. Leeds were able to close the gap to seven by scoring three times in the closing stages, and in truth they could have had more. York will be keen to ensure that such comebacks do not cost them in the future. After feeling aggrieved with a 7-8 loss in their opening game away to Newcastle, they delivered an excellent response here. Next week they face Manchester second’s, who recently suffered a 24-0 loss to Durham.
York: Searle, Thomas, Nicholson, Storick, Shaw, Bell, Moylett, Leech, Reynolds, Carruthers, Pay-Savage, Mendes da Costa, Houlton, Whillans, Harcroft, Gordon, Thompson
Player of the Match: Libbie Storick