York negotiated the first hurdle in their BUCS Trophy campaign in confident fashion with an assertive 19-6 victory over Nottingham Seconds at York Sport Village on Wednesday. With Nottingham having forced York to fully apply themselves in establishing a foothold in the game in the first half, the hosts pulled away in the second period. They showed not only their class, but also a great measure of resolve in emphatically responding to two disheartening defeats to Durham and Newcastle that threatened to sour a promising start to their league season.
The game begun with both sides competing for the ascendancy and exchanging goals in what was truly an end-to-end affair. Libby Storrick grabbed York’s first, combining with captain Chloe Searle and Connie Shaw in breath-taking fashion to underline the trio’s importance to their side’s aspirations. Nottingham immediately pegged them back, equalising in a matter of seconds, before the Black and Gold regained their precarious lead through Fenella Houlton- who was given the time and space to arrow a rapier-like effort into the bottom corner from distance.
Although Searle, who delivered one of her better performances this season, experienced no difficulty in hitting her attacking stride, Nottingham made hay through a sneaky wraparound play that plundered them two goals before York could respond. The visitor’s counterpunches brought the score back to 6-4, by which time Searle and Shaw had both scored twice each.
From this point on, the home side rallied together at the back, establishing a clearer defensive shape- closing down the troublesome inside left channel- and showing greater determination in checking Nottingham attackers and marshalling their runners out of the danger zone. Kitty Leech, although forced off with shin pain in the second half, remains fundamental to their defensive unit and Abbey Marcroft continues to look assured in her role. This lended York a platform to unfurl their attacking prowess, as Aine Moylett played Searle into space through the middle to make it 7-4.
Nottingham’s time-out could not stymie the White Rose’s rhythm, however, and Connie Shaw duly took advantage of a defensive mix-up for the eighth. After seeing her snapshot kept out by the keeper, Shaw cracked the code shortly after- feinting left and jinking into space on the right from which she finished clinically at 9-4.
On the stroke of half-time, Joy Mendes da Costa provided a finish at the back post to power York into double figures. After the break, a stunning move culminated in Storrick’s sumptuous defence-splitting delivery, which Searle took at head height and deposited in the top corner to make it 11-4. Nottingham struggled to match the physical presence of the Black and Gold, who held a noticeable size advantage and used this to good effect to dominate the midfield running.
Libby Storrick wasted no time in accelerating the scoring, firing in the twelfth and thirteenth goals. The visitors were out of the game at this stage but refused to give up, and at 12-6 had they taken advantage of fumbles from Shaw and then Carruthers things might have been different. After they scored at 12-6, York embarked upon a goal glut as the floodlights begun to illuminate the 3G and night drew in. All seven of the concluding efforts were scored by one of Shaw, Storrick and Searle in an enjoyable jaunt for the triumphant triumvirate.
However convincing the victory turned out to be, in cup competition progress into the next round is always the primary concern and this was comfortably ensured. Following a challenging period, character and personality were needed in order to respond to two consecutive defeats and the girls have proven they have these qualities in abundance. York face an eye-watering journey down south to play Oxford seconds in the next round after Christmas.
York: Reynolds, Leech, Marcroft, Carruthers, Pay-Savage, Thomas, Shaw, Searle, Storrick, Thompson, Moylett, Houlton, Nicholson, da Costa
Player of the Match: Chloe Searle