Back on the road for the York Schoolboys and back to winning ways following last week’s capitulation against Wakefield. Saturday’s game was a hard-fought contest on a difficult pitch against Doncaster, with very little to separate the teams on the field as well as the scoreboard.
Thankfully the weather was far more conducive to football than the previous week’s mini-monsoon, but in truth this was not a festival of soccer. Instead, the smaller pitch and goals meant it was very compact and congested making it difficult for either team to play with any free-flowing intent. Short of a number of players dues to late withdrawals the barebones York squad battled from the first to the last minute, with both Oliver Oaten and Miles Merer having the visible scars to show for it.
A tight scoreless first half saw chances at a premium and this is what York needed following last weeks drubbing. Ewan Waddington was deployed as the holding, defensive midfielder and was excellent throughout protecting his back four. With the solid and rarely troubled Oliver Wood in goals and a well marshalled defensive line of Harrison Clark, Joe Turbine, Oliver Oaten and Daniel Kennedy, York were keeping Doncaster’s tricky forwards at bay. This defensive cover allowed Harry Clarkson and Merer to offer a more creative midfield partnership but were finding it hard in the first half to build momentum. Finn Davis on the right and Ewan Daly on the left were working hard on both flanks and it was Daly who had the first chance for York poking a shot at the Doncaster keeper when cutting in from the left. Dylan Harvey upfront was finding it difficult to find the open spaces to exploit his pace but came close to getting on the end of a Daly freekick, just evading his head.
Micah Douglas came into midfield and added real thrust and drive, which was the foundation of a much improved second half for York, who now started creating more openings, but without really testing to Doncaster keeper. With Davis and Harvey swapping positions it now gave York more pace down the right with York now taking the game to Doncaster. At the back York needed to be vigilant and the back four continued to read the danger situations very well with great recovery tackles as well as timely interceptions.
The more the game went on the more it felt like one goal would decide it, and sure enough that moment came midway through the second half when Daly drew the foul in the box for a penalty to York. Despite the best efforts of the Doncaster goalkeeper Daly despatched the penalty for the game’s only goal. York still produced some moments to claim a second with Douglas having a number of shots go narrowly wide and a goal-bound effort from Daly blocked by the defender. Douglas, Clarkson and Harvey were now driving York forward with real intent. At the other end Wood was using all his experience to control the game and slow down the frantic nature of the closing minutes as Doncaster pushed for an equaliser with Oaten in particular on the end of a heavy challenge as he put his body on the line to protect York’s slender lead. At the final whistle it was great relief for York to get another 3 points on the board and show a great reaction from the previous week’s disappointment to grind out a hard-fought win.
Attention now turns to hosting Sheffield in 2 weeks’ time.
Scorer: Daly (pen)