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Friday afternoon saw one of the main events of the day being the men’s firsts indoor hockey match. The Sports Hall was packed and buzzing throughout, which to give York credit was an even split of support, actually making for a great atmosphere.
The first half saw seven goals scored between the teams, with the end to end action happening right from the first whistle. The crazy thing was that there should have been more, both teams having missed multiple opportunities during the course of the first period. Probably the most important missed chance was that of Lancaster’s Stephen McGrath, who had a penalty flick saved by the York keeper in the sixth minute. In fairness to McGrath with the action that followed, it would be difficult to predict how big of an impact a goal at that point would have had on the rest of the game.
The final two minutes of the first half saw an amazing turn of events for the game. After 18 minutes the match was tied at 2-2 and a coming together of players in the centre of the pitch saw, after some deliberation from the two umpires, a yellow card given to Lancaster player James Perry. This meant that for the final two minutes, Lancaster would be a man down on York. Almost straight after the sin-binning, York found the goal from a short corner, but Lancaster were not disheartened in the slightest, flying straight down the pitch and scoring from the restart. Rising again with fantastic momentum from the Lancaster home fans, the team stole the ball right from York when they hit off in response, and stormed down the pitch to take the lead in the game. So in the space of just 52 seconds we saw three goals and two lead changes making it 4-3 to Lancaster, it was breathless stuff. The York team were more than glad when the first half did come to an end, who knows how many Lancaster would have managed with any longer in the game.
Following the break saw York exert pressure on Lancaster straight from the outset, pushing Lancaster back relentlessly. To begin with Lancaster held on valiantly including a shot blocked on the line, but the pressure York were exerting was incessant. At times it felt like Lancaster were unable to get out of their own half, this problem was compounded when Stephen McGrath received a somewhat harsh yellow card, which meant Lancaster were again down a player in the game. With this, York were able to get numerous short corner opportunities and because of the amount of time the ball spent in Lancaster’s D, it was inevitably going to bring players together and fouls were likely to happen. Lancaster had some chances including a great dribbling run from Oliver Twist which deserved a better finish to it, and Stephen McGrath showed great control of the ball inside the D but the ball just missed the outside of the left post.
York managed to score five unanswered goals in the second half, meaning they won out 8-4 in the end and took home the two points. Despite the four goal difference in the final score, this was a close contest which was fought right until the end.