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Lancaster edge York men's hockey firsts in thriller

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[flickr-slideshow tags="hockeymens1sroses2014" caption="Images: James Hostford"]

This was a game for the neutrals. An agonising last minute winner from a penalty flick saw Lancaster triumph over the York men's hockey firsts in a thrilling game which entertained all. It was a disappointing result for the black and gold, especially considering the manner in which they started the match.

York started out the brighter of the two sides, despite a couple of scares from Lancaster who managed to put a couple of balls into the York D, both of which turned out to be harmless as no Lancaster player managed to get on the end of either of them.

York opened the scoring through Phil Ratliff. Leo Watton put through an excellent ball into Ratliff's path. Ratliff managed to fire a low powerful strike past the opposition keeper to send York 1-0 up, much to the displeasure of the home crowd.

York could have so easily doubled their lead moments later after some great one touch, pass and move hockey between Ratliff, Watton and Hugo Christie in the opposition's 22. Christie eventually managed to get a shot away from the right wing, but it was at a tight angle and went narrowly wide of the far post.

Lancaster soon clawed their way back into the game with an equaliser. After finding space in the York D, the Lancaster striker managed to slot a finish past York keeper Callum Chaundy to level the scores at 1-1.

York responded perfectly to this setback though. Tiarnan Cotter found space in the middle of the park and went through one on one with the keeper. The keeper initially saved Cotter's shot, but as a result of the save, the ball fell into the path of Ratliff who was following in. Ratliff hit a lofted shot into the top left corner of the net to get his, and York's second goal of the game.

York then had the opportunity to go 3-1 up from a short corner. The ball came to Christie at the top of the D but his resulting drag flick went just over the bar. Had it been on target, York would have doubled their lead as the Lancaster keeper was nowhere near saving Christie's effort on goal.

Controversy then struck on the brink of half time. Lancaster appeared to have scored from a short corner, the ball was hit from the top of the D and after a goal line scramble in the York goalmouth, it was slotted in by the injector at the far post. However, the ball was deemed to have hit the injectors foot just before he scored, so the goal was disallowed and York went into half time with a well-deserved 2-1 lead.

However, shortly after half time, Lancaster equalised. Lancaster were awarded a short corner which was subsequently slipped right and finished past Chaundy, levelling the scores at 2-2. Lancaster could have easily had a third from another short corner minutes later. The receiver took the injected ball to the left and hit a fierce shot on the reverse which was well saved by Chaundy and eventually cleared by York.

The run of play seemed to be against York in the early stages of the first half, regardless, Christie's diving reverse stick tackle drew a large cheer from the York contingent on the side line. However, these cheers were short-lived as Lancaster added a third. York were caught in possession on the top of their D and were punished by the Lancaster striker who took the ball into the D, firing past Chaundy to give Lancaster the lead for the first time in the game.

York could be accused of failing to mark tight enough and were not nearly as aggressive as their opponents on the ball. Furthermore, as the second half wore on York's attacking players were failing to drop in and offer options to their midfielders, which limited York's overall attacking threat.

Lancaster then doubled their lead through yet another short corner. This time, the ball was flicked in from the top of the D, giving Lancaster a 4-2 lead. The game became incredibly tense in the closing stages with several players pulling up with cramp. Christie had a chance to pull one back for York as he went clean through on goal with only the keeper to beat. However, the keeper pulled off a diving save to deny Christie before he could even get his shot away.

York finally grabbed that elusive third goal they had been waiting for as Cotter earned York a short corner after an excellent run. The short corner came to Jono Butler at the top of the D who beat the advancing Lancaster defender with a neat spin before offloading to his left to Christie who fired past the keeper to reduce the deficit to just one goal.

York then found their equaliser. Christie was the man of the moment as he scored from a short corner. The ball came to Christie at the top of the D, his subsequent drag flick left the Lancaster keeper with no chance of pulling off a save as it rocketed into the back of the net, levelling the scores at 4-4.

Unfortunately for the black and gold, Lancaster had the last say. Lancaster were awarded a penalty flick in the dying seconds of the match. As the York crowd chanted Chaundy's name, the Lancaster striker stepped up to the spot and dispatched his flick past Chaundy to send the Lancaster crowd into a frenzy.

The match finished 5-4 to Lancaster, with the home support invading the pitch. The final score was harsh on the York side who gave it absolutely everything and had some wonderful passages of play throughout the afternoon.

After the match, York player Leo Watton offered his thoughts to Nouse: "We had a passage of play where we were miles behind them because they were knocking it around us. We didn't recognise that, they scored two goals. We then chilled out, started to knock the ball about and our passages of play for the next five minutes were absolutely sick, we were all over them. We got three short corners, converting two of them.

"That's when we started to get on top, we then got a little bit complacent, if we had got another short corner and taken it to 5-4 [to York] then things could have been quite different. We pushed on quite a lot, we only had two or three at the back because we were going for the win. Their counter attacking was pretty good, their fitness was quite a lot better than ours. We just had a little chat at the end there and we're happy with the performance because we did play well, certainly in passages, so it was a bit of a bitter taste at the end."

York: Chaundy, Butler, Bond, Waddington, Johnson, Cotter, Isaac, Blackburn (C), Watton, Christie, Ratliff. Subs: Selvakumar, Richardson, Daniel, Aldridge, Farmery.

Man of the Match: Hugo Christie

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1 Comment

jono butler Posted on Saturday 13 Sep 2014

Didn't realise butler was our short corner specialist?