Roses 2016 Preview: Men’s Football

Its not been a vintage BUCS season for UYAFC. Can they rise to the occasion at Roses?

Image: James Hostford

Jeremy Nestor will be a key player in York’s midfield for the Firsts game on Friday. Image: James Hostford

Fixtures

Men’s Seconds: Friday, 13:00, Football Pitch 2
Men’s Firsts: Friday, 15:00, Football Pitch 1
College B League Winners: Saturday, 11:00, Football Pitch 2
College Select: Saturday, 11:00, Football Pitch 1
College A League Winners: Saturday, 13:45, Football Pitches
Postgrad: Saturday, 16:30, Football Pitch 1

2015 Results

Image: James Hostford

The Seconds 2-0 win in 2015 sparked scenes of jubilation. Image: James Hostford

Men’s Firsts: drew 0-0 (Last 5 Roses: DDLLW)
Men’s Seconds: won 2-0 (Last 5 Roses: WLLLW)
Men’s Thirds: won 1-0 (Last 5 Roses: WLLDL)
College A League Winners: lost 1-3 (Last 5 Roses: LLLLW)
College B League Winners: drew 2-2 (Last 4 Roses: DLLW)

Points Available: 9

Inside Track: Matthew Birtles, Press & Publicity Officer

How have the club performed this season?

As a whole, it’s been a solid but unspectacular season. The club have not kicked on in the way that we had hoped after losing a lot of players last year. The 1s and 2s have struggled to compete against the very best in their divisions and finished 5th and 4th respectively. The 3s have been the most successful side, having a good season coming second and a long cup run.  It has been an average season but each team has a point to prove in their Roses clashes.

What do you expect from Lancaster?

After last year’s success- being unbeaten and not conceding a goal in any game- the club expects to find Lancaster sides with a point to prove. They will be physically strong and mentally fired up, especially with the backing of their home fans. The 1s were drawn together in the cup this season which York won fairly comfortably at home but the away fixture is always more difficult, especially with the smaller pitches. Expect a fiery and volatile atmosphere.

Which individual players could stand out?

In the 1s side, fresher and Player of the Year, Tom Gamble will add composure, strength and stability as he anchors the midfield. His astute positioning and ability to pick a pass provides our incisive attacking threats with licence to express themselves. For the 2s, the quality of Angus Maney and the mercurial Billy Bruce will be key. Either of them could provide the creativity that has occasionally been missing this year.

Why should people come and watch the football?

Promising fast, free-flowing football, plenty of goals and drama and possibly a scrap or two if Jeremy Nestor has his way, the football is not an event to be missed. Being away in Lancaster, the support for the White Rose will be even more important and hopefully help achieve as much success as last year.

Year in a Tweet

At this time of year there’s always a scramble to find good omens for Roses; in the case of men’s football, you don’t have to look very far. Earlier in the season, a brace from Josh Bew- passed fit for the trip to Lancaster- and further goals from Garo Heath and Dom McCormack sent UYAFC Firsts to a 4-2 victory in the second round of the Conference Cup. Okay, this might have been back in November, but the White Rose must take any psychological advantage they can into Friday’s fixture.

Red Rose Report: Chris Bickley, SCAN Sports Editor

Our firsts want to avenge the cup defeat to York in what was ultimately a Roses sparring match, but it also means that we know what to expect.

Nouse Verdict

In the context of the last few years, last year’s Roses was a superb one for UYAFC. The 2-0 win sealed by the Seconds sparked some of the most memorable scenes of what was an exceptional weekend.

The Firsts game, watched by a snarling crowd, quickly descended into a scrap and Lancaster had some success in disrupting York’s passing game with physical play. They will almost certainly look to outmuscle the visitors again and will rely on guts rather than guile.

The loss of physical players in the defence and midfield means that less combative characters, such as Tom Shelbourn, Jeremy Nestor and Matt Coathup will have to step up and match the hosts blow-by-blow. It might be worth throwing the likes of Alex Ingham and Dalton Harris in the mix in anticipation of a physical encounter.

Josh Bew, favourite to start in the lone striker role, has been passed fit but may yet miss out due to degree commitments; his experience could be key. If the White Rose can get the ball wide to Garo Heath and Eddie Fotheringham- which they failed to do last year- they will have earned the chance to prove they can break the Lancaster defence down for the second time this season.

The Seconds will be without both centre-backs in captain Euan Bell and Ollie Marsh, absences that may also take their toll on the team’s ability to compete physically. Without their nous, the presence of Andrew Naylor in midfield will become all the more important.

It’s not been an easy BUCS campaign for any of UYAFC’s teams- they don’t have the winning habit- but they have a real chance to put down a marker and earn some keynote victories for York.

Leave a comment