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Last gasp draw for women's hockey 1s

Twice going behind to Sheffield 2s still doesn't manage to defeat resilient York

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Image Credit: Luke Snell

York’s women 1s twice came from behind to secure a late 2-2 home draw with Sheffield 2s in their Wednesday hockey fixture.

On a piercingly chilly evening, York pushed-back, playing in white, attacking Sheffield in yellow and black. Supported in fine voice throughout by members of the men’s teams, the home side missed an early chance to take the lead when they fired wide from a short corner.

It was York doing all the early pressing. Their players seemed more skilful… but their early dominance was short-lived. Sheffield’s Anisha Cullen was denied the opener by an impressive block on the line by York’s goalkeeper.

Sheffield ramped up the pressure; they were getting a foothold in these so far even contest. York’s response was perhaps a nervy one. They called a team talk. Regrouping was required, they needed to get back on the front-foot.

It was a sensible idea from York, but they never reaped the rewards. In fact, matters got worse. Natalie Innes was on hand to convert a short corner for Sheffield. The away side had taken the lead. York needed to pick themselves up now.

The halftime whistle blew with the game in danger of becoming a bitty, scrappy affair.

York seemed to start the second half an invigorated team, much to the enjoyment of their ever-eager support. And there was something to cheer in the opening couple of minutes, with Number 16, Sarah Turner, dribbling beautifully through all of the Sheffield backline, before coming face-to-face with their goalkeeper, Voirrey Baker.

Turner slid the ball wide, agonisingly wide from a York point of view. A sprawling Baker was sprawling and beaten, but so was the post. They remained behind in this BUCS Northern Tier 2 Division 2 encounter.

Some questionable Sheffield defending was on display just a matter of moments later. Baker was required to make an excellent last-ditch block in a one-on-one – all of her teammates having been dribbled past already.

In their pursuit of an equaliser, York were highlighting and exposing Sheffield’s defensive weaknesses. It finally told on 47 minutes. Some persistent play on the right wing earned the space for a driven cross. Sarah Turner and Louisa Richardson were on hand to bundle the ball home from close in, between them. Who got the final touch? York.

The visitors were on the ropes now; could York nick the lead? They came close when Charly Earwaker went through on goal but missed narrowly, beyond the goalkeeper’s dive.

It was looking like the tables of this match had turned, but they were placed back down with unerring class just moments later. Receiving the ball to feet, Chloe Reid swivelled, checked, and then slotted the ball precisely into the corner. Sheffield had reinstated their lead, thanks to their Number 71.

York needed to pick themselves up and push on straight away. Instead, they made a needless error in a dangerous area of the pitch. A defensive mix-up involving the goalkeeper and a defender led to an unnecessary foul from York’s goalkeeper. The ball was at the wrong end of the pitch. To have any chance of snatching an equaliser, the hosts needed to be rock solid at the back from now on.

Number 7, Charlotte Robertson, was the biggest threat throughout. Her mazy but somehow still direct runs had caused Sheffield numerous problems, but her shooting was a tad off, on the day.

She fired another shot wide and York started to wonder if it was going to be their day. With just minutes remaining though, persistent attacking intent paid off. Hannah Collier tapped home from a goal-line scramble. It looked as though the league leaders had stolen a draw. But there was still a chance for either side to snatch it…

With the last flick of the game, York stroked a short corner wide of the goal to the right. It bought to an end a truly tight, tense and testing game of hockey.

York retain their place at the top of the league. But for Sheffield, it’s a case of two points lost. They sit in fourth out of eight after the home side’s dramatic leveller.

Sheffield’s next tie is a home fixture with Durham 4s on the 27th, while York travel to Newcastle to take on their 3s. At a brisk and breezy JLD, it ended York 2-2 Sheffield.

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