An inspired performance by the men’s football seconds of York granted them a deserved 2-0 win over their Lancastrian rivals, whose frustrations showed when the match erupted in a mass brawl after the final whistle on 22 Acres.
Both sides struggled to create chances in the first fifteen minutes of what would be a very physical match. On the quarter-hour mark when a deep free kick from Ryan Gwinnett had to be tipped away from goal by the Lancaster goalkeeper, whilst Jeremy Nester headed wide from the resulting corner.
Chances continued to be few and far between as both sides struggled to find their rhythm. Lancaster failed to deliver any meaningful final balls to threaten Cornel Keller’s goal, whilst Tom Shelbourne forced a save after latching onto a through ball at the other end.
York thought they had broken the deadlock shortly before half-time in bizarre circumstances. The referee penalised Lancaster’s goalkeeper for holding onto the ball for more than six seconds and York were awarded an indirect free kick near the penalty spot.
Leo Smithson took the free kick quickly for Sam Weighall to slot home, but the referee called play back and ordered for it to be retaken. Gwinnett’s shot from the set-piece, however, sailed harmlessly over the bar.
The match gathered considerable pace in the second half as both sides began to find the rhythms they were lacking in the first half. Smithson shot over the bar in the early exchanges, whilst a mazy run from Lancaster’s right-winger cut inside and fired off a low shot that forced a fine save from Keller.
The game was now becoming end to end, with a notable chance coming for substitute Andy Naylor, who could only fire a shot wide across goal, and the Lancaster striker whose shot was stopped by the legs of Keller when he broke free of York’s defensive line.
York were still looking more threatening and they finally broke the deadlock in the sixty-third minute. Nester won the ball in Lancaster’s half and broke into the penalty area; he was tackled well but the ball only fell to Weighall on York’s right, who slotted the ball home with ease.
Just a minute later, York contentiously had a penalty appeal turned down. Smithson put Gwinnett in behind the full-back down the left wing, who cut inside and got goalside of his marker before being brought down – somehow, no decision was given at all.
Lancaster piled on the pressure in the last fifteen minutes in search of an equaliser, with several teasing balls into the final third forcing several last-ditch challenges from York back four. Mark Askham nearly conceded an own goal with ten minutes left on the clock before Andy Fernando had to clear off his own line.
Substitute Max Cherry should have put the game to bed in the final ten minutes when York hit Lancaster on the break. Weighall switched the ball from right to left to Nester, who picked out Cherry in front of goal but the striker could only fire his shot straight at the keeper.
In the dying moments, Lancaster continued to waste their chances as York defended resiliently before Naylor secured victory in the final kick of the game; a ball was played was played brilliantly across goal for Naylor to easily tap home.
The goal, seemingly, was the final straw for Lancaster as players scrapped with York players in the middle of the pitch as the referee, rather cleverly, decided to blow the final whistle.
York captain Mark Askham told Nouse, “In a game like that, you expect it to be physical so in the first half, 0-0 was fair. But in the second half, we said that we weren’t here for a draw and we always want to be on the front foot to try and win and I think we probably deserved it.”
York squad: Keller (GK); Askham (C), Bull, Shelbourne, Bell; Weighall, Nester, Ingham, Coathup (Naylor), Gwinnett (Fernando); Smithson (Cherry)