York completed a gritty 2-1 victory over Northumbria Seconds in a fiercely contested encounter on 22 Acres. Wednesday’s win means that they have now put paid to the same opposition twice, in league and cup, inside the last seven days; and as if that wasn’t even enough, it has also given them a three point cushion at the top of Northern 3B and kept their unbeaten record intact. For these three-fold blessings they are indebted to Anty Cole’s stunning brace and a determined second half rear-guard action, led by Anna Cook in goal and central defender Ali Miller.
The Black and Gold dominated the early running and were the sharper out of the traps. Romy Fernandez Reumann bounded deep into the area on a couple of occasions, but was constantly trying to manipulate the ball onto her right side and thus lost her bearings. Reumann’s first shot was a threatening one, but lacked power and trickled tantalisingly across the goalmouth. Lone striker Cole had a long-range effort saved and then calamitously dropped by the visiting keeper, but skipper Sophie Jermy couldn’t apply the finishing touch and fired at her leg
After 12 minutes, Northumbria took a surprise lead. Their striker brought down a cross from the left-hand side, which neatly bisected York centre-backs Roy and Miller. She turned sharply and fired in a shot that was simply too hot to handle for goalkeeper Cook. The vast majority of Northumbria’s attacks came down York’s right flank, leaving right-back Sophie Ramsbottom under fire and winger Jermy forced to offer her protection, eroding the captain’s attacking platform. The home side were offered a welcome reprieve when the away team had a goal disallowed for a push in the build-up.
York’s attacking threat came only in patches, chiefly through Kayleigh Peter’s raiding runs down the left and Fernandez Reumann’s breaks from midfield. After spending a good deal of the opening exchanges penned in their own half, they a long ball forward which fell to Anty Cole. Fully 40 yards from goal, Cole threw her right foot through a somewhat speculative effort that hung, tantalisingly, in the autumn air- then it dropped, swooping majestically into the top corner. It was a splendidly struck equaliser that will live long in the memory.
The Black and Gold looked to press home their advantage going into the break, and having earned a free-kick Cole skimmed a low effort around the wall which nestled cutely in the bottom corner for 2-1. Against the run of play, York had dragged themselves into the lead through Cole’s individual inspiration.
The second half was bereft of such excitement. Unable to proffer any attacking threat, York took to defending in numbers, often defending six-broad across their own goal to negate Northumbria’s threat. The away side were hard workers and continued to pressurise, but when it came down to crucial moments lacked any vestige of quality in the final third. Ali Miller was supreme in the centre of defence- quick for a defender and with two good feet- she made a goal-saving last ditch slide tackle on Northumbria’s captain with fifteen minutes to go. One of the few things she wasn’t in control of was a sliced clearance over her head that nearly found her own net.
An ankle injury to Ramsbottom severely disrupted the rhythm of the game and, if anything, sent York further within themselves. Under siege in the closing moments, the referee played an important part- disallowing a goal after adjudging Northumbria’s defender to have climbed on her marker at a corner, and turning down earnest handball appeals- led, of course, by Northumbria’s notoriously voluble coach. If only her team could have shown as much endeavour in creating clear cut chances as she did.
York were excellent value for their 2-1 win, showing an ability to attack with purpose and defend with real resilience. Captain Sophie Jermy spoke to Nouse after the game, saying: “It wasn’t the best football, but we still won. After what happened last year, it’s really nice to get one over on them however we do it.
They came on to us in the second half but we handled it really well. Anty Cole pulled it out of the bag again, we don’t know what we’d do without her. Promotion is a reality now”
UYWFC (4-3-3): Cook; Ramsbottom (Waterman 64), Roy, Miller, Whittaker; Chambers, Craig, Reumann; Jermy, Cole, Peters (Anderton 78)
Player of the Match: Anty Cole