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York hold off Sheffield in cup tie

A focused York men's hockey firsts side made it through to the next round of the cup after a narrow win over Sheffield

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Northern Conference Cup

Image: James Hotsford

As a fierce drizzle soaked the JLD, a strongly focused men's firsts hockey side made it to the next stage of the Cup with a well-earned win over Sheffield's men's thirds.

From the very offset, York showed their dominance in possession as they encamped themselves in Sheffield's half of the field, however shots on goal were few and far between in the opening stages with only Phil Ratliff and Hugo Christie coming close for the Black and Gold.

Sheffield managed to hold off the home side for nineteen minutes when Ratliff finally broke the deadlock. After a lengthy spell of possession, he managed to wiggle away from two defenders and succinctly fire York into the lead.

The hosts could have doubled their lead five minutes later; a break down the left from Christie allowed him to set up Sam Richardson, but he could only ping his shot off the post.

It took the visitors a whole twenty-eight minutes to make their first attempt on goal, but it was expertly dealt with by the feet of York goalkeeper Callum Chaundy. After Richardson came close, Sheffield had one final shot on goal before the half came to a close.

However, in the second half, the away side came out of the blocks the quickest as they forced an equaliser after only three minutes of play. A shot from a short corner quickly turned into a goal-line scramble and eventually the ball was tucked under Chaundy to make it 1-1.

Unfazed by Sheffield's resurgence, York reacted valiantly by fiercly attacking the Sheffeild goal as they sought to retake the lead.

A superbly played one-two move between Nish Selvakumar and Phil Blackburn set up Selvakumar for a powerful shot at the near post that was well dealt with by the Sheffield 'keeper. Shortly after this on the forty minute mark, York, once again deservedly, retook the lead.

Christie showed his experience and vision when he picked out an unmarked Selvakumar in the D; Selvakumar forced a routine save from the goalkeeper but Ratliff was there to tuck home the rebound as he scored his second goal of the game.

York continued to pepper the Sheffield goal with Fred Isaacs coming close and Christie seeing a shot from a short corner tipped marginally over the bar.

However, Sheffield made the most of their chance to equalise once more when a goal was handed to them on a plate. Chaundy scuffed a clearance out of the D that fell short of the nearest defender, allowing the visitors' attacking players to close in, work the ball round and then across the D, and fire the ball home by the right-hand post.

Regardless, spurred on by the spirit of the cup tie, York dug deep and they eventually forced a winner on the sixty-third minute. After winning a short corner via the foot of a defender, Christie stepped up to the shot and rocketed the ball low into the backboard of the goal.

From then on, York held on to the ball until the final whistle by camping themselves in the corner of the pitch, much to the frustration of the opposition.

After securing the win, team captain Phil Blackburn said: "It was a good result in the end, we closed out the game well... I'm happy with the result".

York: Chaundy, Watton, Selvakumar, Blackburn (C), Isaacs, Christie, Richardson, Ratliff, Butler, Waddington, Bond, Daniel, Aldridge, Farmery

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