U15s York 5-1 Leeds

York hosted Leeds, having convincingly defeated the same opponents in the first game of the season. As expected, Leeds started quickly, looking to catch York cold as they sought their revenge. In the first minute, their centre forward forced his way past the York defensive unit and found himself through on goal. His powerful shot was blocked and beaten away at point blank range by the alert York goalkeeper, Jacob Bryant. An early wake up call for the home team, who quickly went on the attack and saw Dom Weston fire narrowly wide. The scene was set for an open, exciting, very competitive match.

Leeds were aggressive and quick and York had to be at their best to match them. Ben Garbutt Smith went on a forceful right wing run before hitting the ball dangerously across the Leeds area. Weston then put in a similar cross from the left. On both occasions, the opportunities came to nothing but they demonstrated York’s intent to take the game to their opponents. York’s pressure paid off and they took the lead when a lovely free kick from the excellent Billy Hobson caught out the Leeds defence and was tapped in at the far post by Weston. 1-0. This stung Leeds into action. They gained a free kick just outside their opponents’ penalty area. The ball in wasn’t dealt with and, as it bounced free, Leeds got in a shot which was deflected away by Bryant but hooked in from close range to level the score at 1-1. This was disappointing for York, who had enjoyed a good deal of possession but hadn’t been able to make it count. The game became a lot more even as Leeds found their rhythm. Their quick, aggressive and mobile front line made a number of good runs. Jack Cottam, captain for the day, and Alex Gilbey were made to work hard and make a number of headed clearances, covering runs and blocks. It was the sort of tough game in which they both thrive, and both players showed their quality as they dealt confidently with a good number of attacks. As half time approached, York retook the lead. Striker Enzo Nunnari spun and played the ball into the feet of Garbutt Smith, who set off at pace to beat his man and make his way into the area. The wide man’s low cross was met on the run by Nunnari, who crashed the ball into the net to make the score 2-1.

Half time – 2-1 to York.

Second half and York were out of the traps with purpose, intent and aggression. Rory Thornton found himself in a great position out on the left flank. His measured, clipped ball into the area caused confusion in the Leeds ranks, leading to a handball and the award of a penalty. Nunnari stepped up to convert the kick, striking the ball confidently to the keeper’s left hand side and giving him no chance. 3-1. York were playing some good stuff, passing the ball around with assurance, putting together a number of good moves and really enjoying themselves. Nunnari flicked the ball into Cam Wakerley, he beat two men but saw his chipped effort go just wide. Thornton then skipped a tackle and put a tempting ball across the face of the Leeds goal. Garbutt Smith timed his run to perfection, meeting the ball at just right moment to flick it skilfully past the goalie and into the side of the net. 4-1 and York had seemingly taken the game away from Leeds. Leeds weren’t finished, though, and they forced Bryant to make a number of top-class saves to keep them out. Throughout the game, Billy Dickinson, in the midfield for York, showed his physical strength and excellent positional play to win his battles and help lead his side to victory. Alongside him, Leo Littlewood was tenacious and worked hard to close down the spaces, using the ball well when in possession; Harry Fort showed his improved self-assurance with his tidy passing with both feet and ability to keep the play moving and Ben Armitage, who is enjoying a great run of form, was excellent in the central areas and when filling in at the back – as ever, putting the needs of the team before his own – to put in a very solid, valuable performance. Nunnari scored York’s fifth, latching onto a bouncing clearance from Bryant and beating the keeper to the ball and running it into the empty net to grab his hat-trick.

Final Score – York 5-1 Leeds

Overall, a very pleasing performance and result for York. They stood up to a very firm test from Leeds, showing that they can match the larger regions for determination, skill and teamwork.

Notable performances from the defensive unit of Cottam, Gilbey and Hobson, whose mature performances bely their teenage years, Armitage, whose aggression and clever play are developing with each game, and goalkeeper Bryant, who pulled off a number of very good saves to thwart Leeds at vital stages of the game.

Scorers: Weston, Nunnari (3), Garbutt-Smith

Man of the Match – Enzo Nunnari: worked hard, gaining in confidence, cool in front of goal, scored a lovely hat-trick.