York visited Hartlepool in round 3 of the ESFA trophy and were sent crashing out of the competition following a 7-1 defeat.
In a game heavily affected by high winds and extremely blustery conditions, York began steadily, putting together a couple of good moves without really troubling the Hartlepool goal. Both sides fought hard for possession in what became a bit of a midfield battle. Hartlepool seemed to get to grips with the conditions a little better than their visitors, passing the ball tidily but York worked hard to ensure that a lot of the play took part in their opponents half of the pitch. The first twenty minutes were fairly even – Joe Thompson had a long range effort saved by the keeper, Ben Garbutt-Smith got into good positions out wide, Joe Meek showed his skill and balance on the dribble, Ben Armitage started to get forward to support the front players, but York were unable to take advantage. Hartlepool looked dangerous on the break, but the York back four coped well with the challenge. One such break, however, led to the opening goal. A good ball from midfield set the Hartlepool striker through on goal. Keeper Jacob Bryant rushed out to block bravely but the rebound was slid in to give the hosts a 1-0 lead. This shocked York a little, but they regained their composure, raised their work rate and got much tighter to their opponents in the key midfield areas. Billy Dickinson led by example with his strong tackling, interceptions and neat passing in the central areas. A free kick, awarded for a foul on Dickinson, brought about York’s equaliser on the 30 minute mark. Seb Holowkiewicz continued his run of good form from dead ball situations when he hit an unstoppable right-footed strike from 35 yards out which flew into the top corner. York were level and stepped up the tempo, pushing forward and looking to take the lead. Unfortunately, they were hit on the break again. With only seconds remaining in the first half, Hartlepool attacked down the left, the ball was squared and a bottom corner finish gave them a 2-1 half time advantage.
With nothing much between the teams, York went out for the second half believing they were still in the game. However, they were caught cold by a rampant Hartlepool team who scored three quick-fire goals in the first 5 minutes of the half to pretty much put the game out of reach. To their credit, York, clearly stunned, managed to lift their heads and keep going. Adi Bajaziti went close when his shot was deflected wide, but despite their best efforts, York were unable to add to their tally. Hartlepool scored two further goals to record a 7-1 victory.
York will look back on what was very much a game of two halves and, despite their heaviest defeat of the season, know that things could very well have turned out differently. With little between the teams in the first half, the game was still up for grabs at half time. Unfortunately, a devastating five minute, second half spell from Hartlepool cost York dearly, leaving them with too much to do to get back into the game. York will hopefully learn from the experience and be stronger for it going into the rest of the season.
Scorer : Holowkiewicz