UNIVERSITY OF YORK FIRSTS 22-3 UNIVERSITY OF MANCHESTER SECONDS
BUCS Northern 1B
A fast start was the key to York’s second successive victory in Northern 1A, securing their win over Manchester Seconds by a yawning nineteen-point margin. The hosts flatly refused to let their visitors settle in what could only be described as a blitz of a first half. Only an ankle injury to Hattie Whillans, which was the cause of lengthy disruption, could stop the marauding Black and Gold hoards pouring relentlessly into Manchester territory. York scored eight goals before their opponents could manage one in response. Manchester never gave up but were ultimately outfought and outclassed. In the dying stages they simply wouldn’t let up, continuing to amass a scoreline which will prove highly beneficial to their goal difference tally in the league; on such factors trophies can be decided.
In the goalscoring stakes, the usual suspects Connie Shaw, Libby Storick and Chloe Searle were on hand to deliver the goods: scoring seven, eight and three times respectively. The eleventh goal was an exercise in endurance, as Storick nonchantly shrugged off a couple of injurious challenges and, despite losing her footing, still managed to force home a powerful shot into the far corner. Searle’s sneaky, incisive runs always provide a profitable outlet, receiving the ball from Storick after a foul behind the net to make it 4-0.
Shaw served up her staple of bounding, sinuous runs from deep positions, and while she is not always the first to offload the ball, she has an uncanny ability to fend off markers and forge angles that never seem probable given the dearth of space in the final third. The twentieth goal was the pick, as Storick received the ball out on the right and cut inside before faking left and planting a high effort in the roof of the net to gasps of wonder. What an absence her’s will be when she returns to the States in early December. As well as the eye-catching efforts, the White Rose were also efficient from unglamorous free positions, converting after fouls on a couple of separate occasions.
Although the trio will inevitably garner the majority of the plaudits, in this game so much more than attacking flair is required to deliver results. Beth Reynolds is a first class goaltender, always solid in dealing with even the toughest efforts at her feet. Her distribution of the ball is also notable for its effectiveness, often starting threatening attacks by feeding Storick, who leads transitional phases alongside Shaw. First years Laura Carruthers and Abbey Marcroft have slotted in comfortably and form part of a defensive unit- alongside Rebecca Pay-Savage and Kitty Leech- that, although not without creakiness and uncertainty on occasion, with time should be a formidable proposition.
Claire Thomas is the glue that meshes the offensive and defensive structures together; in the space of a few moments she was seen up at one end netting a rare goal in the second quarter and then taking a bludgeoning in her own half to earn a tough foul. Joy Mendes de Costa deservedly got her name on the scoresheet, cutting in from the right and poking her effort into the bottom corner to popular delight. Fresher Fenella Houlton is one for the future in attacking areas, and her goal in the fourth quarter was a fine individual effort.
This could have been even more emphatic- the injury to Whillans really disrupted York’s rhythm and Manchester’s third should not have been allowed to stand. In many ways, they weren’t at their best and delivered a more well-rounded and clinical display against Leeds Beckett last Wednesday. To their credit though, they restricted Manchester’s attacking to a couple of isolated incidents of individuality and successfully broke up their longer moves.
Although York have shown themselves across the last two games to be an irresistible force at home, more challenging opposition lie in wait. Now they need to go to Sheffield and prove that they can adapt and do the same in unfamiliar environs. In such form, it would take quite something to stop them.
York: Reynolds, Carruthers, Marcroft, Pay-Savage, Leech, Thomas, Searle, Shaw, Storrick, Whillans, Houlton, Nicholson, Gordon, Thompson, de Costa
Player of the Match: Connie Shaw