Given that the men’s third football team is drawn up of the best college players you wouldn’t expect a particularly cohesive performance. However that is exactly what Lancaster men’s third team produced with a performance that belied the way in which this team was stitched together.
The game began, like many others at Roses this weekend, with a frantic pace as for both teams the excitement and tension surrounding the tournament came to the fore. However any nerves of Lancaster’s were quickly eased in the fifth minute when Louie Jones rose to meet a curled corner with his head to powerfully put Lancaster 1-0 up. After Jones’ header the pace of the game was reduced as both Lancaster and York vied for possession. York’s striker George Wearing, named ‘Crouchie’ by the York crowd because of his indisputable likeness for Stoke’s lanky forward had a couple of chances. He missed a good opportunity when York had a promising break in the 15th minute, shanking his shot wide and following another counter-attack he came into a one-on-one situation with Lancaster’s keeper Dan Rudnick before left back Jack Warbie made a crucial slide tackle.
Lancaster then fought back with Cyle Hunter supplying two fine crosses in two minutes to striker James Carolan as York narrowly avoided conceding a second. Carolan then nearly created a beautiful goal all by himself. Isolated in the corner flag the Lancaster number 9 went past one defender chipped the ball over another but missed from a tight angle with his subsequent volley. Following the continued pressure Lancaster earned a corner in the 35th minute. The cross however was cleared deep into Lancaster’s half, George Wearing found himself on the end of it, with a clear sight on goal, and as Dan Rudnick came out to pressure the forward the gangly striker lobbed the keeper and wheeled away celebrating the equaliser as the York crowd went delirious.
Any despondency from the Lancaster players was briefly felt however. Under five minutes later a quick move down the left wing saw the ball crossed into the box and as it looped over all the defenders James Carolan, smashing it low and hard, was on hand to score a deserved fist goal of the match and put Lancaster ahead once again and the team departed shortly after for half time. After half time York attempted to put the pressure on with numerous shots from outside the box but keeper Dan Rudnick proved equal to every one. The game turned further in Lancaster’s favour when Cyle Hunter, who became an annoyance for the York defence in the second half was victim to a late slide tackle in the box giving Lancaster a penalty. Sean Mooney stepped up to take the penalty and coolly chipped it down the middle while the helpless keeper dived low and to the right. The goal and the audacity of it appeared to suck the life out of the York team and from then on Lancaster appeared destined to win the match.
They used their substitutes well giving the team more energy on the pitch as Tom Charles used his fresh legs to harry the York midfield effectively, while Christian Sanderson was a dogged runner on the left wing. Cyle Hunter was making himself more a nuisance switching his position and creating a number of chances. The lead further increased when a free kick on the half way line from Captain Stephen Lyddon sailed over everyone in the box as striker Zenda Stamp found himself on the end of it, giving him an easy chance which he took with aplomb.
York’s single most cheer-worthy moment in the second half came in the 70th minute. Substitute Sam Weighall dribbled past two Lancaster players and ran forward stopping to unleash a shot low and hard on the edge of the box which helped reduce York’s deficit to two. The impressive solo goal did little to buoy the York team though. They had a one-on-one opportunity which was saved well by Dan Rudnick however for the rest of the match they, and in particular their captain Ollie Bull, appeared tetchy and appeared to take their frustration out on the energetic Cyle Hunter with numerous fouls.
Hunter however got the last laugh as he scored the last goal of the match with a powerful low drive from the edge of the box, giving him the goal that his performance richly deserved and confirming a result that the Lancaster team earned with an impressive display.