York extended their unbeaten start to the season in a hard fought encounter at South Hunsley School against East Riding.
The visitors started well, enjoying good possession in the opposition half as they demonstrated their intent to attack. Dominic Weston looked energetic out on the left, making a number of runs and testing the full back. Cameron Wakerley, playing on the right, showed his good touch and close control and looked lively for York. York’s first effort at goal, a free kick from Seb Holowkiewicz, beat the wall but not the goalkeeper. East Riding seemed to adapt to the 3G surface a little quicker than their opponents. They enjoyed good passages of play, showed quality on the ball and played some neat football in and around the midfield areas. At the back, the blossoming partnership of Ben Garbutt-Smith and Jack Cottam kept things tight and, alongside Billy Hobson, were a very strong and cohesive unit for York. Alex Gilbey, making his return at right back following a calf injury which had kept him out for three weeks, looked sharp and confident, passing the ball neatly and quickly and supporting the play along the flank.
Enzo Nunnari struck from the outside of the area, forcing the East Riding keeper into a save as he pushed the ball onto the post. The game was open, with both sides keen to battle it out and attack freely. York almost took the lead when Harry Fort clipped a nice ball over the top for Weston to run onto. The winger crossed to the far post, picking out Holowkiewicz, who shot first time but just wide. Ben Armitage went close with a vicious strike from distance. York failed to break the deadlock and nearly paid the price when a mix up allowed East Riding in for a good opportunity. The ever alert and brave Jacob Bryant rushed out to close the angle and block well to keep his team on level pegging.
Goalless at half-time with both sides probably feeling that they could be ahead.
Second half and keeper Bryant was called upon almost immediately to make an important block once again. Weston went on another of his forceful, mazy runs and shot wide. Wakerley, pushed up top to partner Nunnari, came into the game a little more and helped York maintain possession further up the pitch. This pressure paid off when Fort intercepted a ball in the midfield area and brought it under control before playing in Wakerley. Wakerley’s run allowed him to escape his marker and he finished with composure to open the scoring. 1-0 to York. East Riding raised their efforts and hit back. Picking up possession on the half way line, they broke quickly and played a ball across goal and grabbed an equaliser. 1-1 and anyone’s game at this stage. Leo Littlewood, in the midfield berth, showed the desire and work needed by York if they were to take anything from the game. He won tackles, filled in the spaces for his team-mates and put in a selfless performance. Nunnari put a chance narrowly wide of the post as York continued to look to retake the lead. A piece of quality play brought their second goal when Holowkiewicz fizzed in a cross for Weston to head home accurately into the corner of the net. 2-1 to York and they went looking for another. Jack Cottam took off from the back on a fantastic dribble through the centre of East Riding’s team. Showing good control and neat footwork, he beat a number of players before being outnumbered and finally dispossessed on the edge of the area. This helped York maintain their momentum and stay on the front foot. Billy Dickinson, who had worked tirelessly with his robust tackling, closing down and smart play, then made a determined run towards the East Riding defence. His clever pass through the back line released Wakerley, who once again finished expertly to score and extend his side’s lead with a right footed clip. 3-1 to York and well-deserved. East Riding continued to fight to get back into the game but cool heads at the back maintained York’s lead. With the clock ticking down to the final whistle, there was time and an opportunity for Garbutt-Smith to bring the ball out of defence for one last attack. Beating a number of players, he made his way up the pitch before his pace, tenacity, skill and aggression took him into the penalty area where he forced an opening which was, unfortunately, blocked by the keeper.
Full time whistle and a 3-1 victory for York.
Scorers: Wakerley (2), Weston
Man of the Match: Billy Dickinson. Strength, aggression, determination and skill. Played a vital role in York’s success – both in and out of possession.