Second half comeback not enough for York

York men’s hockey team continued their disappointing start to the season with a 3-2 loss at home to Durham thirds, meaning they remain rock bottom of the BUCS Northern Conference 2B…

BUCS Northern Conference 2B, Wednesday 26th November 2008

York men’s hockey team continued their disappointing start to the season with a 3-2 loss at home to Durham thirds, meaning they remain rock bottom of the BUCS Northern Conference 2B. After a woeful first half York threatened to stage an impressive comeback from three goals down, but it was too late for a team that have lost all four of their league games this season.

It was the second time in a week that these two sides had met, with Durham thrashing York 4-0 last Wednesday to put them out of the BUCS cup. It was no surprise, therefore, when after five minutes Durham took the lead with a well taken shot which easily slipped through the defence. York looked visibly angry with themselves, with Captain Billy Walsh looking particularly frustrated.

In contrast, Durham now looked lively and confident. They piled on continuous pressure, and York mistakes seemed to hand them a short corner with every attack. When going forward, the home side would constantly lose possession and were unable to deliver to their forwards. A second Durham goal looked inevitable, and on fifteen minutes it came, with a York clearance finding an away player whose shot again penetrated the defence with ease.

Mens Hockey vs. Durham 26-11-2008: Sam Newsome

York found life difficult against a good Durham side

(Sam Newsome)

Durham were fully in the ascendancy, and it was only good play from York’s goalkeeper Tom Chevins that was keeping the score respectable. York continued to lose possession easily and as the first half neared its close still could not boast one decent chance on goal.

Only Rob Newton’s ambitious shots from distance gave York any chance of scoring and with every move forward, York were hit by a quick counter. Durham’s speed with the ball was impressive and a quick counter-attack gave them their third goal. York left the field at half time looking crestfallen and beaten, the only consolation being that they were not trailing by more.

However, they returned to the field a changed team and played from the offset with a quicker tempo, holding on to possession for greater periods. After finally winning a short corner, they forced the opposition goalkeeper to make his first significant save of the match. Strong play from Walsh and brilliant defending from Tom Harbour allowed York to start to put sustained pressure on Durham, and defend more effectively against any counter-attacks. As the rain started to fall, York’s fortunes changed – a shot from Andy Harris finding the back of the net.

Durham’s own vulnerabilities in defence were now becoming apparent, and with ten minutes remaining York gained their second. The impressive Nicolai Bode received the ball from a short corner and struck brilliantly to score a fantastic goal. Just before, a Durham player had been shown a green card for what appeared to be dissent – showing the increasing frustration amongst the Durham players. York continued to pour forward for the equaliser, but it was not to be their day.

Mens Hockey vs. Durham 26-11-2008: Sam Newsome

It’s been a tough season for the men’s hockey team who are bottom of the league

(Sam Newsome)

Coach Richard Adelman praised York’s “much more composed” second half and said that today’s performance showed that with more “discipline and concentration, results will come with time”.

Captain Billy Walsh said that while York “weren’t good enough” in the first half and that they “picked it up in the second and could have won or drawn.” He spoke of York’s form so far this season, saying that they were encountering the “big” teams who were “well drilled, with professional coaches.” He said he expected wins soon, but they will have to instantly improve if they want to save their league season.

They will be disappointed they did not gain a draw, however. In the closing stages York had four consecutive shots on target, all of which were somehow kept out by the Durham keeper. The visitors were hanging on by a thread, but they defended well against the York onslaught to gain what was, on balance, a deserved victory.

York line-up: Tom Chevins (GK), Rob Newton, Tom Harbour, Chris Carr, Billy Walsh (c), Nick Latcham, Andy Harris, Jamie Harcourt, Michael Giblin, Don Adler, Mark Inman, Richard Larkin

Substitutions: Matt North, Nikolai Bode