York & District Schoolboys Football

U15s York & District 2-2 Leeds (AET), 10-9 Penalties (Champions Cup Plate Rnd 32)

U15s Champions Cup Plate – Round of 32
York & District v Leeds
Date: 13th January 2024
Venue: York

Team lineup: Ben Alder, Luca Long, Oliver Waygood, Harley Waddington, Matteo James, Sam Parris, Charlie Anderson, Dara Sanusi, Harry Waines, Bodhi Justice, Isaac Arif, Finn Davis, Ewan Daly, Olaf Gorczyczweski

An exciting start to the new year at York as the first of the knockout stages of the Champions Cup Plate competition produced a nail-biting encounter between 2 teams that just couldn’t be separated until penalties. Spectators certainly got their money’s worth today as the game was decided on the finest of margins that was cruel for Leeds but elation for York. Over the course of the game York will feel like they deserved the win, but as is the way with football the only thing that matters is goals, and if you don’t score enough of them you don’t win. The chances were certainly there, but the inability to convert those chances almost cost York, and Leeds deserve great credit for not giving up and taking the game all the way to penalties.

With clear skies and frosty conditions the first half got off to a cagey start with both teams sounding each other out. Leeds had the first real chance of the game when a deflection off Harley Waddington required Ben Alder to make a superb save. Slowly York started to take control with some slick passing football from defence to attack and some lovely triangle combinations however that clinical edge in the final third was missing. Olaf Gorczyczweski and Ewan Daly were creating the most chances with shots from distance and Daly couldn’t quite get hold of a closer attempt with his left that the keeper dealt with. Gorczyczweski was using his physical presence to really put pressure on the Leeds defence, but similarly rarely troubling the Leeds keeper. This was the general trend for the first half, York dominating possession and Leeds looking dangerous on the counter.

Waddington was first into the referee’s book with a rash tackle near the sideline midway through the first half and along with the other York defence of Luca Long, Oliver Waygood and Charlie Anderson was holding a strong backline that Leeds only occasionally troubled. In midfield Bodhi Justice, Harry Waines and Isaac Arif were constantly winning tackles, recycling the ball and building attacks. Daly and Finn Davis on the flanks were supporting Gorczyczweski in attack. With a strong squad York could introduce Dara Sanusi in midfield, Matteo James into defence and Sam Parris onto the wings without disrupting the flow and rhythm of the team. However despite the control York had in the first half they couldn’t find a way through Leeds and had to settle for 0-0 at half time.

The second half was a different story and York were now dominant, with Leeds rarely making it out of their half. Chance after chance went a begging especially through corner kicks, expertly delivered by Daly and Davis. On multiple occasions the ball was either cleared off the line, headed over or at one stage even blocked from crossing the line by a York player. It seemed like York would never score! Then brilliant work from Parris, who was giving his defender a torrid time with some great turns and skill, was fouled in the box for a penalty. Gorczyczweski stepped up and slotted the spot kick for a deserved lead. Shortly afterwards Leeds were down to 10 for 8 mins due to a sin bin and presented a real opportunity for York to cement their lead and secure the game. But in similar to before chances came and went with Daly heading over, Sanusi shooting wide, Gorczyczweski dribbling past 3 players and shooting straight at the keeper with the goal at his mercy.

Leeds rarely got out of their half, but as the game wore on it seemed inevitable they would get a chance. As the game entered the last 5 minutes Leeds began to assert some pressure and attacks came in waves as York began to sit deeper and deeper, abandoning all the good work they had done in the previous 75mins, but they were managing to defend well and hold out. But they finally cracked at the death as a cross from the wing caught the York defence out for the Leeds player to smash home the equaliser with the last kick of the game. The game was now headed for 20mins of extra time. Time for everyone to reset and begin again.

Leeds tails were up and threatened right from the off. It didn’t take them long to find a second goal with another cross and back post header to give them a lead that hardly seemed possible 10 minutes earlier. York had to raise themselves to get back in the game. A change of shape was needed as well as moving Waddington into midfield and Sanusi upfront as legs and muscles started to get tired. York were pushing hard for the equaliser that eventually arrived from an unlikely source with around 4 minutes of extra time left. With a free kick about 25 yards outside the Leeds box, Gorczyczweski opted to leave the ball for Daly who delivered the perfect ball for Charlie Anderson to head home the deserved equaliser. It was his first goal for the season and his pumped-up celebrations reflected this. Could York force a late winner? Almost…another corner resulted in a goalmouth scramble that Parris nearly converted, but the final whistle sounded upon Leeds clearing the ball. Now we headed for penalties, and it was all about who could handle the pressure?

A superb exhibition of penalty takers followed as both teams scored all 5 of their initial kicks. Gorczyczweski, Davis, Daly, Justice and goalkeeper Alder all delivered from the spot as we moved into sudden death. Both keepers got close to saving shots, but all penalties were going in. Waddington, Parris, Waygood and James kept the scoring going for York. Then Alder produced a superb save to deny Leeds of their 10th spot kick handing Anderson the opportunity to win the game. Still pumped from his extra time equaliser he slotted home the winning penalty to spark off jubilant celebrations from the York team.

An absolute rollercoaster of emotions and excitement that was played in a great spirit and unfortunately penalties is always a cruel way to lose. Disappointing for Leeds but celebrations for York as the progress to the next round away to East Riding in 2 weeks time.