Northern 4B League
York were rewarded for a fine first half defensive display and a more adventurous, attacking second half display with their first three points of the season, and provided the perfect response to a humbling defeat in the Northern Conference Plate last week.
York made a relatively slow start going forward, which was capitalised on by Sunderland. They put the UYAFC defence under the microscope immediately, and had a strong penalty shout turned away by the referee when the ball struck a York arm – the referee handing the defenders and early reprieve when he deemed the handball accidental.
Sunderland made attempts to use their physical advantage pay by testing York’s organisation and concentration with an almost constant barrage of long balls. Whilst York were never likely to win any balls in the air, they showed a lack of intensity when closing down the second balls which almost cost them dear. Sunderland’s brighter start nearly showed, when a smart ball broke for a Sunderland winger to shoot across goal, only to be denied by a strong save by debutant Cooper.
Not only this but Sunderland looked dangerous on the counter, almost opening the scoring when York gave the ball away cheaply and found themselves two against three. A good ball across the 6 yard line saw the ball fall to a Sunderland forward who side-footed what everyone assumed would be the opener, only for Charlie Cooper between the York sticks to dart quickly across goal and deny a certain goal in spectacular fashion, putting the ball behind with an outstretched foot.
Just as York looked to be finding their rhythm, Sunderland’s pressure paid off. A good cross came in from the left-hand side, which looked comfortable enough for the York ‘keeper. However Sunderland’s forward gambled on a front post run, running in front of Cooper to prod home a simple finish and put his side in front midway through the first half.
York came out a reinvigorated side at the start of the second half, looking to make the most of the good defending which had kept them within touching distance of their opponents. The equaliser did not come immediately, but promise going forward was starting to be shown – Andy Naylor not quite managing to divert a well struck shot, that was going wide, towards the goal.
Parity was restored in mesmerising style. A quick free-kick from Askham was worked out to the left and to Elliot Tester who can inside his defender on the 18-yard line and struck an unstoppable shot into the far top corner, sending his team into raptures.
A chance came, virtually straight from the restart, for York to go ahead. Elliot Tester nearly turned provider when his fine cross flew agonisingly past Andy Naylor’s head.
York were not waiting long for their second goal. A floated ball from inside the York half caught Sunderland’s defence off guard, and fell to Shelbourn who had continued his run. The York centre-back had all the time in the world to lift the ball over Sunderland’s onrushing goalkeeper and set his team on course for victory.
Sunderland nearly undid all of York’s hard work, with a little help from a lapse in concentration from the UYAFC back four. A looped ball from right to left in the York box came to a Sunderland substitute who had not been tracked, but when it was easier to score, the Sunderland man scooped a dismal finish over the bar.
Dominic McCormick – who was outstanding even on a day when any of the back line could have won man of the match – saved his captain’s blushes late on. Askham was wrong footed by some quick feet, and a curled finish looked to be heading into the top corner only for McCormick to head off the line.
Despite a frantic final few minutes, this was the last action of the match before the whistle sounded and the York eleven exploded with elation and relief.
Skipper Mark Askham spoke to Nouse after the match, and was especially pleased with his team’s second half display. “Brilliant character in the second half. The equaliser didn’t come right away but we kept plugging away and a bit of magic from Elliot has got us right back in the game.”
York XI: C. Connor (GK), M. Askham (C), T. Shelbourn, O. Bull, D. McCormick, H. Collins, T. Jobling, M. Garn, A. Naylor, E. Tester, G. Heath. Subs: J. Edwards, H. Ferrao
Man of the Match: Dominic McCormick