Scorer : Kiam Browne
York visited Sheffield B, determined to put the disappointment of the previous week’s semi-final cup defeat behind them and get back to winning ways.
York started the game a little cagey, weighing up their opponents as they became accustomed to the 3G surface and tight pitch. As a result, Sheffield enjoyed good possession and put the away side under some initial pressure. York’s defence of Harry Shane, Billy Hobson and Ben Armitage had to stay alert, strong and organised to win back the ball and get their team on the attack. Once settled, York began to string a few moves together and create chances. Alex Widdup had an effort saved by the keeper, the ball rebounding to Arthur Jefferson-Hallett who also saw his shot blocked. York were gaining in confidence and sensed that they could get the better of their opponents. In the midfield engine room, Seb Holowkiewicz and Jack Redman worked hard to get on the ball and put York on the front foot. James Rennocks twice found himself in goal scoring situations, the keeper saving well on both occasions. At the other end, York goalie Jacob Bryant kept his cool, making important interventions to sweep up behind his defenders. The teams went into the break with the score at 0-0.
The second period began as the first had ended; York playing some confident football and working hard as a team to regain possession. Harry Fort won the ball in midfield, played a nice ball out to Rennocks who again saw his shot saved. Moments later, Kiam Browne burst forward from the halfway line, leaving several Sheffield players in his wake as he made his way through on goal. Unfortunately for York, having beaten the keeper, he saw his effort drift narrowly wide of the post. The same player then crashed a York free kick into the defensive wall, the ball spinning free to safety. At this stage, although Sheffield still had a fair share of the ball, York looked favourites to take all three points. Joseph Meek went in bravely to challenge the keeper. Meek won the ball with a strong tackle and was through – only for play to be brought back by the referee, who awarded Sheffield a contentious free kick. When Sheffield did mount their attacks, the York back line looked solid, with Jack Yates, sharing goalkeeper duties with Bryant, looking safe, confident and assured with his kicking and handling. The score remained 0-0 as the whistle blew to signal the end of the second period.
Into the third period and York sensed that the game was theirs for the taking. Bryant collected the ball smartly and bravely as Sheffield closed in on goal. His long kick set up Jefferson-Hallet, his strike just going over the bar. And then York got the breakthrough their play and work-rate deserved. Fort played a pass into Jefferson-Hallet who was tackled quickly inside the area. The ball broke, was only half cleared and reached Browne. Controlling the ball, he cut in from the left and let fly with a delicious right-footed shot that curled into the corner of the net. 0-1! Shortly afterwards, Rennocks was denied by a tight offside decision and Holowkiewicz put a left footer over the bar as York looked to get a second goal to kill the game off. Just under 10 minutes to go and Sheffield pulled level. A bouncing ball was picked up by Sheffield on the right. Jack Yates in the York goal pulled off a good save but the ball ran free across the York goal. The defence couldn’t get a block on it and Sheffield took their chance. 1-1. There was still time for both sides to create chances for a winner. Hobson and Shayne were called on more than once to keep out Sheffield, Armitage, Widdup, Browne and Meek pushed forward to make things happen for York but there were no further goals.
York will probably count themselves a little unlucky not to come away with all three points as a very entertaining and keenly-contested game ended with honours even and a 1-1 draw.
MOM : Billy Hobson. Good positional sense, played well as part of a strong defensive unit.