U12s York 2-1 Sheffield A

Scorers – Widdup, Holowkiewicz

York hosted top of the table Sheffield A in their first league game of the New Year and put in their best performance of the season, so far.

Straight out of the blocks, York began brightly, putting Sheffield under early pressure which forced the away keeper and defence into action. The early possession led to Arthur Jefferson-Hallett hitting a superb shot from outside the area which struck the crossbar, with the rebound gratefully collected by Sheffield’s keeper. He played the ball out quickly and a long ball over the top caught out the York defence, leaving Sheffield through on goal. York goalie Jack Yates pulled off a good save, only for the ball to run loose and be tapped into the empty net. York found themselves 0-1 down, despite their positive, confident start.

York did not let their heads drop. Kiam Browne created a chance for Jefferson-Hallet, which the keeper did well to save. James Rennocks then had an effort which just cleared the bar. Sheffield, playing some tidy, composed football, had a good percentage of possession and mounted a number of attacks. York maintained a solid shape, though – the back-four of Seb Holowkiewicz, Billy Hobson, Harry Shane and Ben Armitage stayed strong to limit the number of shooting opportunities conceded, with Yates sweeping up well when required and Jack Redman, in the holding role, working hard to close down the space in midfield and cut out the supply to the front men.

Into the second period and Sheffield’s centre forward turned smartly in the box but Jacob Bryant, on for Yates in goal, pulled off an important save to keep his side in the game. Striker Alex Widdup then showed good awareness to tee up Rennocks, who shot just wide. The game at this stage was very much end-to-end with both side trading blows – Sheffield pushing for a goal to secure the win, York giving it everything to grab an equaliser. Harry Fort tried a long range shot which was well-saved before York’s hard work and determination was rewarded with a well-deserved goal. Joseph Meek, collecting the ball out in the right, dribbled past the full back before firing in a cross which was steered home by Widdup. 1-1.

This stung Sheffield into action. They put York under a lot of pressure and good chances went begging. Holowkiewicz, Shane, Hobson and Armitage at the back, Browne, Fort, Redman in midfield, had to work hard and stay focused to keep the score level – strong tackles and well-timed interceptions being the order of the day. Despite this Sheffield pressure, York were able to put together a number of counter-attacks to show that they wanted the win, too. With only minutes remaining, a long-range Sheffield strike was heading for the top corner of the net, only for Bryant to pull off a blinding save. York were riding their luck as Sheffield kept up the pressure, one shot squirming wide of the goal and another hitting the foot of the post. The rebound was cleared and found Browne on the half-way line. He showed pace, power and skill to burst through the Sheffield back line and then coolly slotted the ball under the keeper – only to see it roll agonisingly wide. With a couple of minutes remaining and the game still going from end-to-end, both sets of coaches would most likely have settled for a draw. However, York dug deep to put together one last chance. Meek broke down the right, beat his man and pulled the ball back to Holowkiewicz who struck the ball low into the net. 2-1. The final whistle blew within seconds of the restart and York had their hard-fought win.

A hugely entertaining game. End-to-end, lots of chances with York producing a determined, mature and energetic performance against a very good Sheffield side who can count themselves unlucky to lose.

MOM : Ben Armitage – strong in the tackle, good use of the ball, stood up to be counted.