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York Reserve Report
The ground began filling up at 6:00 p.m. and by the time the game kicked off, there were around seventy or eighty spectators. Surprisingly, about twenty of these people were Mariners fans. Shock.
Town line-up: Croudson, Ward, Raven, Handyside, Chapman, A. Smith, Pouton, Bolder, Black, Buckley, Rowan. Bench: Doherty, Butterwood, Mansaram, White, Thorne.
York line-up: Howarth, Hocking, Hall, L. Wood, Bower, Haddrell, Salvati, Cosgrove, Clegg, Emmerson, Darlow. Bench: Gowen, Collinson, Ibbetson, Skinner, M. Reed.
Town lost the toss and so York kicked off. The first couple of minutes were composed of York passing to a Grimsby midfielder (normally Bolder) and Town keeping possession. Even at this stage of the game, Town were obviously the better side, putting together some attractive passing movements, with York only getting the odd touch of the ball. In the first five minutes, the Town second string had a good chance, with Rowan putting a cross into the area. Pouton headed, controlled, but couldn't get round the defence, so he passed neatly to Bolder. The midfielder attempted to hit one low into the bottom corner, but put the shot wide of the right hand post.
Just a minute later, Town had another chance through Black, who did well to keep possession, but the defence charged down his shot. York then kicked the ball up the pitch, hoping to get one on the break. Salvati received, and tried a long shot from about thirty-five yards out. Croudsen back-pedalled to get there, but tripped. Fortunately the shot went wide, but not by much.
The response was immediate. Town got the ball from the goal kick, and after a bit of passing, ROWAN was found in acres of space. He duly took it upon himself to run up to the area and score past the keeper. The York defence was nowhere to be seen. Ten minutes gone, 1-0. Town had looked like scoring, and Buckley was given acres of space to play with. He put it to good use.
Town did not then fall back and defend, but instead kept up the pressure. York did get to the Town area a couple of times, but their shots were blocked by Handyside, Pouton and Smith. Croudson looked like he wouldn't need to be called on. The only time he touched the ball was in a goal kick, free kick or when a long punt from the York defence found it's way into the Town area.
Another York danger-moment was seen half an hour into the game, with Salvati passing on to Clegg on the edge of the area. Clegg passed back, and Salvati attempted to lob Croudson. He put the ball about two meters over the bar.
Just a minute later York had their first real chance of the game. Salvati ran down the left side, and passed to the waiting Darlow. He fired in a shot, but Croudson made a good save to his left and pushed the ball away. It fell onto the head of Emmerson, who tried to direct the ball into the net, but the header went inches wide. Phew. The ball then went up the other end, and Buckley passed the ball into the area, but Black just couldn't connect.
Towards the end of the half, Town's reserve side scored a second to put them deservedly 2-0 up. Rowan played well and passed on to Buckley (who had been given little space to move in since his goal). He put a ground pass into the area, and this time BLACK did connect (I believe it was Black), duly putting the ball past the keeper finishing off a good piece of play.
If Town thought they were going into the changing rooms happy, they had another thing coming. York did not look like scoring, but a 50-50 ball went up into the air and Pouton made a very nasty challenge on Wayne Hall. Hall went down, and Pouton was shown the yellow card. Even then, all the spectators were criticising the harsh and badly timed challenge on Hall, a couple even demanding a sending off. Hall was stretchered off and subbed with number twelve, Chris Gowen. The free kick was taken, and it went over to one of their midfielders. Pouton finished off what he'd started ten seconds earliest by bringing him down and getting his second yellow, thus being sent off. There was a bitter taste in the mouth. A minute later, the ref blew his whistle, and the teams went in.
Apart from those final rash moves by Pouton, the first half had been a gem. The passing was excellent, with every player looking confident. The ref, too, had a very good first half, hardly getting anything wrong (which unfortunately includes the sending off). His name was P. Canadine.
There were no half time substitutions for either side, which pleased us just fine. But in a reshuffle, with the dismissal of Pouton in the first half, Andy Smith dropped back into defence, while Rowan went back into midfield. In my opinion, every player had justified their place on the pitch, and we would have to see if Smith would be effective as a defender.
From the kick off, the game started much like the first half did, but with Town's movements being shorter and York trying to play a long ball to anyone near the Town area. York seemed to come out with a new purpose - that being to injure as many players as they could and get away with it. In truth, they didn't seem too dirty, but throughout the half, many a town player would fall to the ground clutching their face, and would need treatment for a couple of minutes. The first of these was Handyside, when he hit his leg against the upraised foot of a York defender in a 50-50 ball, and went down. He was up again in a minute or two, though, and seemed okay. Thank goodness.
Town seemed to have quietened down, which was understandable being reduced to ten men. Raven did have a good run up the pitch, dribbling effectively and getting to the other area. . .before giving up. He sort of poked the ball three metres in front of himself and faded away. A shame, too, because Buckley was nearby, and might have done something with the ball (even though he was marked).
Nothing really interesting happened for the next fifteen minutes or so. One of their players (Haddrell, I think) got booked for a late challenge, and York missed a half chance with Emmerson putting the ball over from far out. Oh, and Raven made an absolutely wonderful sliding challenge - you had to see it to believe it. He sprinted about twenty metres when the ball was passed between the York midfield, and hit the ball forward just before it got to it's designated target. Beautiful play.
Town took off Andy Smith around the sixty-minute mark, and put on Doherty. The effect was immediate - the Minstermen reserves ran up the pitch, and someone fired a powerful shot towards the top corner of the goal. Croudson pulled off a remarkable save, but the Town defence did not pick it up and another striker - possibly Emmerson - put the ball into the back of the net before Croudson had hit the ground from that first save. However, the second striker was clearly offside, and the goal was disallowed.
From then on, the game became a bit more hazardous for Town. First, Handyside went down on the far side, and walked off with the medic. He began to walk around the pitch back to the dressing room, and so was substituted for Thorne. As Handyside walked behind York's goal, Buckley ran towards it chasing a long ball but seemed to fall with the York defender. Falling in front of the medic's feet, he stopped to look at him while Pouton walked back on his own. Buckley went back on the pitch after a minute, and suddenly at the other end Raven was tackled and fell over too. The medic ran over, led Raven off, and the left back was substituted for Mansaram. Mansaram went into midfield, while Black slotted into left back. A minute later, Buckley was down again, but he came back onto the pitch almost immediately.
York kept up the pressure, and for the last twenty minutes Town were on the back foot. Croudson was called upon again to make another fantastic save and the rebound shot from Emmerson went just wide, hitting the side netting. Very late on, York had another chance which was dealt with in style by Croudsen, and there was just time for Rowan to have one last chance before the ref blew his whistle. Unfortunately, Howarth was equal to it.
2-0 to Town, and the York supporters were grumbling. But a good game from the Mariners reserve string.
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