Men’s hockey seconds graciously defeated

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Lancaster University Men’s Hockey Club (LUMHC) seconds followed directly on from their female club mates on Saturday afternoon, though they were unable to seize a win against the visiting York side. Alex Harding, the home team’s captain, opted for an attacking 4-1-2-3 formation as he sought to seal a third consecutive Roses victory.

In a high intensity opening period, both sides shared possession equally, though it was the away team that created the first real opening. A rasping shot flashed across David Callaghan’s goal was the best chance of a frenetic first five minutes. Carlos Costa soon had a chance to add to his season total, though LUMHC seconds’ top goal scorer fired wide after a free hit broke to him inside the D.

The end-to-end nature of the match continued for much of the opening 20 minutes, with both teams attacking and defending in equal measure. It was the White Rose XI that took the lead though, with a low shot swept in at the back post after a cross from the right wing.

Approaching the 35 minute mark, the home side found it difficult to deal with York’s growing dominance and could not make the most of possession in advanced positions. A defensive slip almost let in the visitors to double their lead, but Callaghan’s awareness meant he was soon out to divert the ball away from goal.

A series of York short corners came to nothing on the brink of half time and despite being 1-0 down at the break, Harding will have rightly believed victory was well within his team’s grasp.

Moments after play resumed though, the Lancaster side found themselves 2-0 down as the visitors quickly found their rhythm once again. In similar fashion to their opener, York added a second, much to the delight of their supporters on the side line that had swelled in number as the day went on.

Both sides were temporarily reduced to 10 men early in the second half after an off the ball incident between Lancaster right back James Bushby and York’s left winger. The home side’s defensive vulnerability was hence increased and the away team pushed on, with a shot from a short corner narrowly missing Callaghan’s goal.

Lancaster gave themselves a lifeline late in the second half though, as wide player Alex Tam scrambled in after York failed to clear the ball in the aftermath of a short corner. A renewed optimism was apparent amongst the home team, although this was to be short lived as York restored their two goal advantage soon afterwards.

Making the most of the opportunity presented at a short corner, the visitors rounded off a well worked move with a goal and added a fourth from the next set piece, though it was disallowed after a foul on the Lancaster defender.

Seeming dispirited and on the brink of defeat, Lancaster stepped off and, but for the York forward’s loss of footing, could have found themselves facing a three goal deficit come full time. In the final moments, the visitors stood firm and secured the win, adding two points to the collective total.

Post-match Harding remarked, “I can’t fault the effort of the squad, we had a game plan in mind and we stuck to it to the best of our ability… I’m proud of the boys for the way we bounced back after their second goal, to show the desire and determination to get back into the fixture, at 2-1 it could have gone either way”, as well as congratulating York on their win.

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