Image: Nick Levy
The Battle of the Roses was fought on the immaculate athletics track pitch for the football on Saturday. While York women 1s secured a commanding 2-0 victory; York men’s 1s suffered a frustrating 1-0 loss to 10-man Lancaster team. UYWAFC wasted no time in showing their quality; just two minutes in and the ball was poked home after Lancaster’s goalkeeper could only parry the first attempt back into the mixer.
Indeed, there may have been thoughts of a repeat of last year’s 7-0 routing. In the second-half, UYWAFC performed a carbon-copy of their bright first half start; scoring early after the restart. This time the ball was cleverly played over the bewildered Lancastrian defence, before being met by a clinical finish into the net. Lancaster’s first real attempt on goal came in the second-half, however, it was raised for being offside. Since both York and Lancaster showed defensive stability, it came down to who could better link the midfield with attack; undoubtedly, it was UYWAFC. In the end, the two goals were enough for York to earn a deserved four points.
Next up, it was the men’s turn, but there was little to get excited about in this drab game. UYAFC looked short of ideas going forward and this soon led to frustration as the first half progressed without any real goal scoring chances. Defensive stability defined the first-half, and therein lies credit to both sides’ pre-match preparations. They cancelled each other out to the extent that everyone was becoming restless at the damp squib of a match unfolding in front of them.
This match needed something to liven it up and it certainly got it just before half time. Lancaster’s striker, Onraet-Wells, sporting what seemed to be a broken wrist, was deservedly shown a red card for a reckless tackle on Ebai Nsoatabe. Lancaster, clearly unimpressed with the decision, argued with the referee long into half-time. York could be forgiven for going into the second half with optimism, but it was almost like they expected to win with their one man advantage.
Kudos to Lancaster – they showed real grit and determination to (ironically) play better despite their numerical disadvantage. A rejuvenated 10-man Lancaster team soon found themselves 1-0 up as York allowed Armstrong a free header, which he buried into the bottom left-corner past Max Donnell-Ford. They had been knocking on the door since half-time, with Lancastrian winger Airey enjoying a considerable amount of success on the left. The final 10 minutes were characterised by constant Lancastrian pressure and York failing to get out of their own half.
Lancaster saw three chances go begging, as Donnell-Ford pulled off a double-save to keep UYAFC in the tie. UYAFC captain Josh Bew – who scored two goals in Roses 2014 –was restricted to just one shot in his last university game by a solid Lancastrian defence. Bew described his side’s performance as “one of the worst” in a post-match interview with Tom Harle. His side simply “didn’t show up” and that it was, above all, “very frustrating”. In a game where the number of chances could be counted on one hand, York’s complacent reaction to the red card and disappointing performance left them on the wrong end of a 1-0 score line. But let’s not downplay the efforts of Lancaster who reacted positively despite their red card.