York v Harrogate
Champions Cup Gameday 4
Team Lineup: Ben Alder, Luca Long, Harley Waddington, Charlie Anderson, Oliver Waygood, Harry Waines, Bodhi Justice, Dara Sanusi, Ewan Daly, Sam Parris, Isaac Arif, Finn Davies, Matthew Orr, Olaf Gorczyczweski
Gameday 4 of the Champions Cup and a more local affair, with Harrogate visiting York on a soggy day at 22 Acres. Both teams were devoid of any points at this stage of the Champions Cup so it was a chance for the 2 teams to get off the mark. As expected it was a tight contest with York just edging it after a strong second half comeback.
Harrogate have been doing very well in the league and York knew that they would have to be on form to get anything from the game, but a slow, sluggish start from York saw them lose possession too easily in dangerous areas which gave Harrogate’s midfield a real attacking platform. The York defence was hesitant and stood off Harrogate which invited multiple shots against Ben Alder in goal. York though were not without some attacking threat as well and Finn Davis, Ewan Daly and Isaac Arif were always dangerous on the counter with the Harrogate keeper having to be quick off his line on many occasions.
The pressure from Harrogate eventually told when another shot from distance broke the deadlock. It was deserved but still didn’t awaken York from their slumber. York continued to lose possession by taking too many touches and taking too long to move the ball. A corner for Harrogate resulted in a headed second goal to give them a commanding lead. Now York had to wake up.
Bodhi Justice and Olaf Gorczyczweski were starting to influence the game. Justice in particular got hold of midfield and began to protect the ball better as well as moving it quicker along with Harry Waines and Harley Waddington. Gorczyczweski started to use his power to muscle his way into scoring positions. Matthew Orr was whipping in some great crosses from the left and through Gorczyczweski’s sheer persistence he managed to lift a shot over the keeper that rebounded off the crossbar and appeared to cross the line but no whistle from the ref to confirm it, luckily Daly was on hand to tap in the rebound and start the York revival.
2-1 to Harrogate at halftime but York were back in the game and their spirits lifted. Isaac Arif moved into midfield and brought much needed energy as well as the ability to disrupt Harrogate’s main playmaker. Dara Sanusi was starting to influence the game better, with more accurate passing and progressive runs. The defence was also performing better as Oliver Waygood and Luca Long were now on the front foot getting ahead of their opposing players. Full backs Charlie Anderson and Sam Parris were also more assured and getting higher up the pitch combining well with the midfield and wings.
With Harrogate’s high line Gorczyczweski broke through on a number of occasions and had 2 good claims for penalties, however he got his reward when he brilliantly converted a freekick he won at the edge of the box. A superb equaliser and now it was anyone’s game with 20 minutes remaining. It was an open game, and York had to be aware of the threat of Harrogate who had scored a lot of goals in the league. Harrogate were creating opportunities and York defended with bravery blocking shots and clearing headers. At the other end Davis’ skill and Orr’s running were carrying a threat and it was Daly’s cross into the box that wasn’t cleared and Sanusi pounced to give York the lead.
A nervy 7 minutes followed where York dropped deeper, inviting Harrogate to attack. Cooler heads were needed but they struggled to clear their lines with accuracy and find an out ball. Harrogate threatened but didn’t create that final clear cut chance as York held out to secure their first 3 points of their inaugural Champions Cup campaign. Gameday 5 will see the visit of Sunderland, but for next week it’s back to league action with a tough encounter with Wakefield.
Final Score: York 3 – 2 Harrogate
Goalscorers: Sanusi, Gorczyczweski, Daly or Gorczyczweski?