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Lancaster University Men’s Hockey Club (LUMHC) firsts overcame their York counterparts in a nine goal, hard fought thriller to round off the weekend’s hockey fixtures and an excellent season overall. Despite going in to the break 2-1 down, Adam Carr’s side pulled off a stirring comeback to secure the maximum four points on offer.
In an opening period in which the home side dominated possession, it was the visitors that took an unexpected lead. After an excellent Matt Davies save, the Red Rose team failed to clear outside of the D, and York capitalised as the ball was fired in to the abandoned goal. In spite of the setback, Lancaster remained confident on the ball and continued to string together a series of passing moves.
The equaliser came in the 20th minute after a cross was fired in from the left wing. After Carr limped out of the contest injured, York piled the pressure on to the home side and went ahead once again five minutes later. A lofted through ball was chased by the visitor’s forward and whilst Davies was first to it, it was followed up by a midfielder who stroked the ball home with consummate ease.
Approaching the break, Lancaster increasingly imposed themselves on the match and would have been level but for a fine save from the visitors’ goalkeeper following a well-executed short corner routine. The home side also saw a goal disallowed from a similar set piece as they looked increasingly dangerous.
After the warnings that the pre-half time short corners had signalled, Lancaster converted one five minutes in to the second period. Captain’s Player of the Year Stephen McGrath was on hand to find the back of the net from the right side of the D as the home team levelled the score at 2-2. Despite York’s attempts to put themselves in front once again, Lancaster never looked like losing the game once Aaron Marchant struck to give the home side the lead and the York deficit became two moments later.
Oliver Koopman smashed in the sixth goal of the match as his team orchestrated another successful short corner scenario. With the atmosphere on the verge of fever pitch, York grabbed what looked set to be a consolation goal from a short corner. However, the two Roses teams were level once again within minutes as the visitors scored from their next set piece. With both sides looking for what would surely be the winner, the match became one of desperation and each team had opportunities to score. A York shot was fired in to the side netting whilst Marchant missed a huge chance to securer himself a brace.
As the full time whistle approached, it looked as though the points were set to be shared, but there was one more twist in the tale to come. In the dying embers of the game, the home side were awarded a penalty flick after a scramble in the box saw the ball cleared illicitly by a York defender. Northern Irishman McGrath stepped up in front of the 200 strong crowd and deftly chipped the ball in to the middle of the goal after the York goalkeeper dived to his right.
Despite the slightly fortuitous nature of the winner, the strike capped a rousing comeback that Carr will undoubtedly have been proud of. In the wake of the victory, McGrath said, “It caps off a great season for the team and a club as a whole. I would just like to thank everyone for coming down to support not just our game but the entire day.”