York indoor women’s hockey firsts claimed a valuable point on Friday in a 2-2 draw against Lancaster, as the White Rose began to build up a lead which would end as the largest winning score in Roses history.
There was an electric atmosphere and stifling temperature inside the Tent on Friday afternoon, with a large crowd gathering to support both sides. Whilst York’s home crowd was characteristically vociferous, with chants of “Yorkshire!” ringing around the sidelines before kick-off, credit must also go to the travelling Lancaster supporters who made their presence known.
The match got off to a pacey start, and it was the Red Rose that were on top early on, as they almost took the lead immediately from the push-back. However, York defended the Lancastrians’ first corner of the match well, and broke out with speed. York captain, Laura Atkinson, was looking in especially-fine form in the early stages, moving the ball around skilfully. However, Lancaster were eager to stretch play and placed the home side under a sustained period of pressure in the opening stages.
It was Atkinson that provided York’s relief on the counter-attack, and as she broke forward, her side progressively began to look more comfortable on the ball and retained their shape better than the away side.
With York in the ascendancy, they began to create regular chances, as Katie Penrose and Hermione Warmington both went close. Warmington and Minerva Saner then combined well in a slick move, and Warmington was set up to tap the ball in at the Lancaster goalkeeper’s far post to put York 1-0 ahead.
After falling behind, Lancaster seemed reinvigorated, and once again began to attack with intent. However, York’s defending was resolute, and on the odd occasion that the defence was unlocked, Liz Furber in the York goal was on hand to soak up the Lancastrian pressure.
As the game approached half time, Amy Woodruff broke out of defence well with the ball, and keeping possession, made a mazy run up the pitch spurred on by the York contingent on the adjacent court. However, her shot was ultimately saved confidently by the Lancaster keeper. However, as the match progressed it was notable that York’s pace was paying off, allowing them to break at speed and put Lancaster under increasing pressure.
In a rare lapse of concentration, Lancaster forged a rare first-half chance as Atkinson was dispossessed halfway up the pitch; although the ball was shot across the face of goal, there was nobody inside the York area from Lancaster able to convert, and the danger was averted. It summed up a pulsating first half which was end-to-end; however, the sides went into the break with York holding onto their slender lead.
Shortly after the restart, York then doubled their lead after a well-worked move, and the home side were good value for it after what had been a bright opening few minutes in the second period of play.
However, it was only a couple of moments later that Lancaster broke well, flashed the ball across goal and slotted home to make the score 2-1 and reignite the contest; it was extended further when York went down a player after receiving a yellow card.
With their numerical advantage, Lancaster could press with more confidence, and they began to pen York back as they were increasingly backed by the self-proclaimed ‘Red Army’ inside the Tent. This pressure ultimately paid off, as they managed to sneak another goal past Furber and level the scores up at 2-2.
Despite pressing for a winner in the closing stages, it wasn’t to be for York, and Lancaster continued to threaten themselves. Ultimately, the White Rose had to settle for a point with their Lancaster counterparts. However, it was a spirited performance which was well-received by the home crowd.
York squad: Liz Furber (GK), Laura Atkinson (C), Katie Penrose, Minerva Saner, Ruth Mason, Isabelle Hutchinson, Amy Woodruff, Hermione Warmington, Alice Young.
Player of the match: Hermione Warmington.