BUCS Men’s Hockey: York 1sts 4-1 Leeds 2nds

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Photos: Jack Western

UYHC Men’s 1sts secured a vital league victory, as goals from Nish Selvakumar, Sam Richardson and Hugo Christie helped them come from behind to beat Leeds on the JLD.

In their final BUCS fixture of the calendar year, Phil Blackburn’s side turned in an impressive performance characterised by constantly enterprising runs and slick distribution from the back. The match carried little in the form of midfield possession play, as both sides consistently sought to catch the other out on the counter.

Nevertheless, it was the hosts who were to make the most of their counter-attacking style, as victory now sends them four points clear of bottom side Durham 4ths in the battle to avoid relegation.

If the White Rose play as they did yesterday, then they should have little fear of dropping down from this league. Starting brightly, Hugo Christie sounded a warning to the Leeds defence with a rapid burst into the D, only to see his shot turned behind for a short corner. Ellis Farmery, already looking a cornerstone of the side despite his inexperience, was assured on the ball and helped the hosts to retain possession as they sought to break down the Leeds defence.

Leeds were keeping the home side in check with a few short corners of their own however, and they duly took a surprise lead following some pinball-like passing in the D, much to the dismay of the watching crowd. Their 1-0 advantage did not last long however, as Christie scored with a superb lofted finish following Fred Isaac’s lay-off from a short corner.

The game opened up. An outstanding goal-line clearance from Farmery stopped a certain goal for Leeds after Bond’s rare misplaced pass from defence. Farmery soon had to go off injured after pulling up with an apparent hamstring problem as the game intensified. Pressure was mounting from both sides in an increasingly end-to-end match. Left-back Jono Butler found himself wide on the edge of the D, and picked up a rare assist after firing a dangerous ball into the area which Nish Selvakumar finished jubilantly.

The goal took the sting out of the travelling side, who were to be pinned back in their own territory for the rest of the period as the White Rose piled men forward. A precise shot from Selvakumar from the edge of the D increased York’s lead to 3-1 on the stroke of half-time.

After the interval, Leeds attempted to recapture their earlier rhythm, but struggled to conjure up meaningful opportunities as York’s attacking prowess continued to impress. At the other end, a neat flick from Christie almost sent Toby Waddington through on goal, but it was just over-hit. The lively Christie was turning on the style, as he surged into the D and thumped a powerful effort which cannoned off the crossbar with the away ‘keeper well-beaten.

Selvakumar thought he had completed his hat-trick after a goalmouth scramble involving team-mate Sam Richardson, only for the umpire to rule the effort out, after he allegedly used his foot in the build-up. Selvakumar understandably voiced his frustrations, and was given a stern talking to by the umpire.

The hosts did not let the incident mar their attacking endeavour, as Richardson added a superb fourth goal with a skilful reverse-stick finish, with Fred Isaac picking up his second assist of the evening.

The visitors tried in vain to salvage at least a consolation goal, thwarted by Callum Chaundy’s heroics in the York goal. The home side closed the game out comfortably in the end, with the final score a satisfying 4-1.

After the match, full-back Alex Bond told¬†Vision:¬†“We’re pleased to finish the term with a great win. It was a great team performance. We hope to carry on this form into the new year, and we have high hopes for the rest of the season.”

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