U12s York 1-4 Leeds

Scorer : Jefferson-Hallett

York hosted Leeds in what proved to be their most difficult, challenging game of the season to date. A well organised, strong Leeds team shocked the home side by taking the lead in the first minute. Winning possession just inside their own half, Leeds moved the ball quickly though midfield to catch York out of position and opened the scoring with a good finish from just outside the area, the ball flashing in off the underside of the crossbar. Just two minutes later, Leeds doubled their lead. Jack Yates in the York goal pulled off a good save only for the ball to run free and be tapped home by the Leeds frontman. These two early goals knocked York out of their stride and, as a result, they found it difficult to get hold of the ball and pass with any sort of confidence. Leeds maintained their domination, putting a lot of pressure on York that forced the back line of Harry Shane, Billy Hobson, Jack Redman and Ben Armitage to work overtime to limit the chances created against their team. Yates demonstrated his bravery and safe handling on a number of occasions, diving at the feet of the Leeds strikers to help keep out the danger. As the half wore on, York began to piece things together a little better as Arthur Jefferson-Hallett and Alex Widdup both had half chances, but found the Leeds goalkeeper in good form and their defence solid and well organised. Unfortunately for York, Leeds went further in front after 25 minutes, a smart finish giving Yates no chance and the away team a 3-0 halftime lead.

Leeds came out for the second half and almost caught York out again, their striker putting a chance over the bar from close range. They weren’t to be denied, however and a cross from the right presented an opportunity to make it 4-0 soon after – keeper Jacob Bryant left with no chance from close range. Under a lot of pressure, York could have folded at this stage but showed their strength of character by battling back into the game to make the second half a slightly more even affair. Kiam Browne started to get on the ball a bit more, finding opportunities to make forward runs and push his team on. Widemen James Rennocks and Joseph Meek made a number of good runs and, despite the close attentions of the Leeds defence, Widdup showed his strength and close control up front to hold the ball up and link the play. As a result, York were able to put pressure on the Leeds defence, force a number of corners and create several half chances and openings. Harry Fort saw a right foot volley just clear the crossbar and then Browne sent in a wonderful, dipping free kick that the Leeds keeper did well to keep out with an acrobatic save. Bryant was kept busy, too, clearing away Leeds attacks, showing safe handling and, like Yates in the first half, being brave at the feet of the Leeds strikers in one-on-one situations.

York eventually got some reward for their hard work, Jefferson-Hallett finding space to strike a delicious right footed, curling shot from outside the area that found the top corner of the net and reduced the deficit to 1-4, which is how the game stayed to bring about a deserved win for Leeds and York’s first defeat of the season.

Although a disappointing result for York against an established, strong and well-organised team, the York players will be stronger for the experience and will take many positives from the game.

MOM : Goalkeepers Jack Yates and Jacob Bryant – brave, safe handling, good communication, worked hard to keep out a good team.