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After a disappointing result for the women’s indoor football 2nd, Lancaster were hoping to bounce back with their first team and put some more points on the board, particularly important considering this match was worth 4 points.
The crowd was still strong, with players for the universities’ hockey teams joining in with the spectators. It didn’t take long for the crowd to be rewarded with Lancaster immediately opening the scoring with a rifling shot into the bottom corner. A York equaliser soon followed, then another Lancaster goal within a minute. The crowd were enjoying this end-to-end action, and there was no sign of it letting up.
York’s second equaliser of the day came from Anty Cole, a name which may pop up again later. The powerful forward was too strong and held off Lancastrian defenders with ease. Cole soon bagged another from the penalty spot, with the referee adjudging that a Lancaster defender had touched the ball in the area. Having spoken to a few members of the second team, it was clear Lancaster had the confidence to turn this around.
The excitement died down for a little, the players growing tired after an intense opening few minutes. Futsal halves are only 20 minutes long but the time stops whenever the ball goes dead, effectively meaning players are on the pitch for 40 minutes come half-time. The scruffy nature continued with Lancaster’s equaliser, a cruel deflection leaving York goalkeeper Anna Cook flat-footed and making it 3-3.
In a game that showed no clear team having the upper hand, it was left to moments of individual brilliance to separates the two rivals. One like Hovland firing in from close range into the top corner, leaving Cook stranded. But Anty Cole turned up again, completing her hat trick with more route one football. Lancaster failed to cope with Cook hurling the ball to Cole, who had a tremendous touch and skill to fire home.
Demi Rabette was by far the busier keeper, with Cole and Whittaker forcing her into good saves to keep Lancaster level. Cook, however, was restrained to simple saves from ambitious Lancaster attempts. But Rabette had no answer to Cole’s second penalty, and fourth goal of the afternoon. However, Lancaster levelled with not long left in the first half, with Williamson firing a freekick through the legs of Cook.
Lancaster could have been crucially ahead just before half-time, with a blockbuster of a shot crashing off the bar and bouncing off the line. Channelling Geoff Hurst it appears, but Lancaster were not rewarded with a goal. If only there were some sort of technology that worked on goal lines.
Cole made it 6-5 to York just before the whistle, ending an exhilarating half. Cole scored another penalty in the second half, but this time controversy reigned with Monica Crewe said to have touched the ball in her area, despite being under clear pressure from the York forward. Crewe also gained a yellow card for her troubles, and Lancaster never regained their composure. Another Cole goal followed, with Lancaster snapshots seldom troubling Anna Cook. Lancaster finally scored their first goal of the second half through a simple penalty.
But that would turn out to be Lancaster’s final flourish offensively, with Cole turning provider and laying off Megan Anderton to make in 9 for York. Lancaster’s breaking point was also seen with their manager receiving a stern telling off from the referee for protesting a supposed handball from York. When asked for words about the match, he replied “None that you’d be allowed to publish.” Frayed and ragged, Lancaster conceded another as Cole slotted away her eighth of the match to make it 10-6 to York at the final whistle.
Definite player of the match was York’s Cole. It would be unfair to say York relied on her, but eight goals is unbelievable. “It was great, Lancaster put up a really great fight, I’m looking forward to playing some of them again in the 11-a-side tomorrow” said the York forward. Lancaster did not disappoint themselves, although they will rue certain decisions. Demi Rabette played a blinder and was congratulated by spectators of both York and Lancaster, but alas, it was not to be.