Disappointing defeat for women’s hockey seconds at the hands of York

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Lancaster University Women’s Hockey Club (LUWHC) seconds slumped to a disappointing 3-0 defeat on Saturday afternoon, repeating last year’s Roses result. Despite dominating the opening minutes, making early territorial gains and keeping York penned in, the home side failed to create any chances of note.

The visitors soon took the lead following powerful play down the right wing by their attack-minded full back, who crossed and found an unmarked teammate to duly slot home the opener after seven minutes. The White Rose side looked content to absorb Lancaster pressure before breaking themselves and it was their right back who perennially tested the host’s defensive resilience.

Another driving run from the York number five resulted in a short corner being awarded to the visitors, though the ensuing shot was struck high and wide, to the relief of Lancaster goalkeeper Cat Nichol. York’s confidence and fluidity grew as the opening half went on and it was not long before they had another opportunity to extend their lead.

A well worked short corner routine saw a shot unleashed which was set to find home but for the intervention of Lancaster’s Captain Jenna Wilks. Her block on the line was cleared, although the warning signs were there for all to see.

The Red Rose outfit had a chance to draw level moments later when a long ball forward rebounded back off the post after the York goalkeeper believed it was set to run harmlessly out of play. However, the visiting custodian atoned for her error and crowded out the onrushing Lancaster forwards who saw a big chance go begging.

In a short spell of positive Lancaster play, Ruth Holdsworth saw a well-struck effort fly wide of the goalkeeper’s left hand post, whilst a Naomi Rittey cross ended up in the side netting after enterprising work on the right side of the pitch. In spite of the promise that the two opportunities presented though, the home side went into the break 1-0 down.

York made the more impressive start to the second half, retaining possession and forcing the home side to defend on the edge of their D, though Wilks’ team proved resolutely that they were up to the task.

The defensive onus was soon shifted on to the visitors though and Holdsworth again went close, with York having their goalkeeper to thank for maintaining the slender lead they held. Her Lancaster counterpart in turn played her part in keeping her team in the tie, parrying a venomous drive before saving with her feet from a short corner.

Nichol eventually conceded again after 49 minutes though, when York added a second goal to their tally.  Holly Wilson rushed to close down the visitor’s attacker, but a well-placed shot found the back of the net with ease.

At 2-0, York were comfortable in allowing Lancaster to dominate the possession and the side that finished third in BUCS Northern Division 5B never looked like losing the tie from that point on. A late Holdsworth strike clipped a post on its way out after she connected with a cross delivered by Rittey, but the White Rose sealed the win with three minutes to go with a goal reminiscent of their opener.

On the final whistle the visitors celebrated victory and the two points that went with it, whilst Wilks was left to reflect on what might have been. After the match the Lancaster captain stated, “It was disappointing but I’m pleased with the way everyone performed” and suggested that the effort and desire shown by her team made up for the final outcome of the game.

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