Photos: Jack Western
UYAFC 1sts scored a late equalizer to salvage 2 precious Roses points as Josh Bew’s late strike sealed a 2-2 draw in the opening ceremony curtain-raiser.
After a diverse and energetic ceremony, involving pyrotechnics and a Mean Girls-themed dance performance, the match lived up to its billing, as York twice came from behind to thwart the hosts, despite dominating the second half.
Hosts Lancaster took the lead through a penalty after ‘keeper Bradley felled the Lancs striker in a first half dominated by injuries to Connor McCoy and Josh Spurling.
After McCoy was stretchered off, York’s nerves were obvious, with another injury to Spurling the nadir of a drab first half.
The hosts started brighter than the White Rose with plenty of joy down the left flank. The away side were struggling to find fluency in possession, and Lancaster sounded the first warning shots when they put the ball in the back of the net, only for the goal to be ruled out for offside.
York failed to heed the warning however, as a defensive lapse sent a Lancaster winger clean through one-on-one with ‘keeper Luke Bradley, who proceeded to clatter into him. Lancaster were deservedly awarded a penalty, which was dispatched straight down the middle for a 1-0 lead inside the first fifteen minutes.
The White Rose needed to settle quickly, but remained under the cosh for much of the opening period, as injuries to McCoy and Spurling followed. The former was stretchered off with a swollen knee, but the latter came back on later in the game.
The industry of Mirhile Overo-Tarimo and James Davies steadied the ship for the visitors, but they remained unable to carve an opening in the away side. Half-chances for Jamie Trant and Josh Bew went begging, and York went into the interval a goal down.
Captain Davies clearly said some strong words during the break, as the Black & Gold came out for the second half with marked improvement. Within the first minute, York had created a clear goalscoring opportunity as striker Bew couldn’t quite scramble the ball home following some inventive play from Davies.
The introduction of Joe Easter provided some attacking spark, as the substitute tested the home goalkeeper with a curled effort, which was easily snaffled in truth.
The hosts’ first half composure had seemingly deserted them, and Trant managed to spring the offside trap to go through on goal, but couldn’t quite find the angle to level the scores.
The White Rose, roared on by a raucous crowd which proved infinitely more vocal than that of Lancaster, had found a spring in their step. York were looking the likelier to score, but were hit by a sucker punch when a Lancaster counter-attack resulted in a goal, as a cool finish left Bradley no chance.
There was a hint of offside in the goal, but York were not to be disheartened. Time and again, they poured forward, pressing for their second equalizer of the match, but Lancaster were sitting deep in defence.
Trant was taken off for substitute Dalton Harris as the visitors tried everything to snatch victory from their Roses rivals.
The match’s decisive moment came in the final five minutes, as Davies was able to elude the attentions of the Lancaster defence to square for Bew, who confidently lashed the ball home for 2-2.
The goal prompted rapturous celebrations amongst the travelling fans, who engaged in their own version of the Poznan, with crowd control having to be summoned in order to prevent a celebratory pitch invasion.
It was no less than York deserved, and there was more drama as the White Rose could have had a penalty following a handball in the area.
In the end, the final whistle sounded on a 2-2 draw, with two points each going towards the overall Roses tally. The result leaves the overall Roses contest finely poised going into Saturday, and left both sets of fans satisfied.
After the match, captain James Davies told Vision: “We were very nervous in the first half, and I’m disappointed that we did not get the win I feel we deserved on this great occasion.
“We grew into the second half, and Josh Bew’s two vital goals mean he was my man of the match.”
YORK XI: Bradley; Bowden, Gill, Osbourne, Harrison; Spurling, Overo-Tarimo, Trant, Davies (C), McCoy; Bew.