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For many, Roses will have been the first time they have watched a live lacrosse match. For me, this was indeed the case. I knew vaguely what to expect, having heard stories from last year’s duel, which saw four sendings off. It’d be difficult to describe this men’s match as timid, but compared to last year this was a friendly.
The rainy conditions may have made it difficult to start with for both teams, but Lancaster came out of the blocks, soaking up York’s pressure and countering to open the scoring. After last year’s impressive draw, it seemed possible that the team in red could do one better in 2016. But the early York pressure before Lancaster’s counter didn’t hold up. Three quick goals by York put them in control, with Lancaster being resorted to slim chances. Simon Benyon took one of these though, making the score 3-2 to York.
Lancaster were defending well, but failing to press in the middle of the pitch and gain territory. This resulted in York hitting another three goals without reply during the second and third quarters. Mike Siddall was impressive on the break, but failed, for the time being, to make this an event contest. Kosta Paxinos was doing his best in the Lancaster goal to keep the score at 6-2.
A time-out was required for Lancaster to mentally regroup and recompose themselves, and this certainly worked, scoring three goals in succession, including finishes by Siddall and Scott Dearnaley to gee up the crowd. With just one quarter remaining, a repeat of last year’s 6-6 tie seemed likely.
York failed to penetrate the Lancaster goal, partly thanks to Paxinos’ repeated saves, and also the net’s metal frame. This is where the game got fierce, and saw several sin bins for Lancaster players as they lacrossed their York counterparts in the face. Since Lancaster needed a goal, and York were desperately searching to put the game to bed, it seems that in hindsight, York were just complacent during Lancaster’s third quarter comeback.
Consistent pressure resulted in two quick goals, and another red team-talk was held with just two minutes on the clock. It certainly helped, as Siddall’s two goals meant there was only one goal between the two foes again. Despite desperate attacking by Lancaster, it was York who had the last say, scoring a goal with the last action to firmly put the game to bed and end up 9-7 winners.
Lancaster’s comeback must be admired, having twice come from a large deficit to be within one point of a positive result. As the York players and fans streamed onto the pitch to celebrate though, one player comically slipped in the mud and slightly injured himself, and limped in solitude to the other side of the pitch to join in the festivities. The moral of the story? Don’t beat Lancaster.