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The one to watch this week was the Men's Lacrosse encounter between York 1s and Sheffield 1s. Prior to the game members of the team had let me know that they weren't expecting big things from the game, coming up against a side with two England touring players playing an integral part.
The match came to life swiftly, Sheffield taking the initiative from the off with a goal scored in under one minute. Not to be deterred though, York responded immediately with a goal from senior player Ross Macdonald, giving the onlooking crowd hope that this wouldn't be the walkover many had expected. That optimism was short-lived though, as Sheffield reclaimed their advantage just two minutes later, a lead which led to a dominant quarter for the visiting side, who for large swathes of the first quarter had the upper hand. A third goal was added to the Sheffield score book shortly before the end of the quarter, a counter attack effort after a rare York break. Oli Najid had an attempt saved by the Sheffield goalkeeper in a small period of York supremacy which Sheffield afforded the hosts before going into the quarter break 3-1 up.
Sheffield came out for the second flying, members of their side clearly listening to the instructions from their huddle to move the ball around more quickly and not give York a chance to regather themselves. Their plan didn't work entirely flawlessly, with York disrupting the Sheffield rhythm with good rolling substitutions mixing things up for the Sheffield defenders and creating offensive chances. Sheffield's goalkeeper was the star of this quarter, which took on an exciting end-to-end manner, as he kept out a range of attempts from York's top players keeping the hold of the South Yorkshire side strong on the lead strong which proved important right at the end of the half. Some confusion from York after a scooped pass backwards led to the Sheffield attack capitalising and adding a fourth, a very avoidable concession. That was the last action of the half, leaving York with a 4-1 lead to assail.
The third quarter began with some more York chances, the desire to claw back the lead clearly showing throughout the team, but yet again they were unable to convert, eventually resorting to longer range pot-shots once Sheffield had added a fifth goal to their scoreboard. That fifth lit a black and yellow touch paper, seeing York adopt a 'death or glory' attitude towards the match that on another day would have seen the beginning of a fightback. Will Pearson and Oli Najid had efforts go close, along with York striking the post and an immense double save from the Sheffield goalkeeper, who was putting in a titanic display. The swashbuckling attitude adopted by the home side eventually backfired, conceding two further goals due to space being left in their defence in pursuit of the comeback, which Sheffield dutifully exploited - displaying great tactical awareness to York's dismay. The third quarter ended 7-1, leaving the final quarter as somewhat of a formality.
The York heads had firmly gone at this point, Sheffield's foreshadowed extra quality clearly telling as the visitors added another four goals to their haul, again due to the increased space in defence as the home team went in chase of pride. A late consolation came through star man Mack Craighead which the home supporters applauded fervently as appreciation of the side's efforts.
On another day this would have been a much closer game, the difference being that York lacked the clinical edge that teams need when playing against sides of superior quality. The hosts left the field dejected but optimistic as it is clear that, with time, things will click into place.