Hoping to avenge November’s 16-2 defeat, York Floorball ventured to Manchester buoyed by a decent performance against Warwick a week and a half earlier. The early start and snowy conditions did not deter the team as they travelled to a new away destination, which apparently is the other side of the Alps judging by the beautiful snow-topped hills on the way south-west (on the M60). York arrived in good time for a much-needed warm-up, and felt ready to face a difficult opponent. Manchester are a club team, a step-up from university sides, but were friendly and welcoming from the start.
The match began in intense fashion, with York taking the lead in a game for the first time this season through debutant Shahroz Randhawa. Manchester swiftly equalised, but York’s high energy and their newfound confidence shone through. York had the better chances in the first period, hitting the crossbar and forcing a number of saves, and the fast pace led to Eetu Jyvala’s second goal in as many games this term. York worked hard and stayed composed, carrying the 2-1 lead into the first period break, a third of the way through the game.
York felt confident in the team talk, but mentioned that Manchester would likely press harder and attack faster to try to overwhelm the travelling team. The prophecy was fulfilled; within a couple of minutes, Manchester broke into a 3-2 lead. Chee Zheng Yang finished from close range, but Manchester pushed hard and led 5-3 about halfway through the game. The club side peppered Elijah Ssempa’s goal, but the York goalkeeper repelled fierce shots and produced a string of fine saves, keeping his side very much in the game. Jyvala’s intricate run up the wing set up James Clare to smash in his long-awaited first goal for the club, to the great enjoyment of the York team. York finished the second period 6-4 down, but with great hope for a powerful third period and the chance to win the game.
After a rousing team talk from captain on the day Alan Pedrassoli Chitayat, York put their battle faces on and came out fighting hard. The physicality increased as both teams worked hard to tip the balance of what had been an even game. Randhawa scored another for York amidst a couple of great goals for Manchester, before David Morrey and Piotrek Przyborowski dragged York closer to the desired result. With the score at 10-7 and courage in their hearts, York shifted the positions of some players around to maximise goalscoring potential with around ten minutes left. Francis Overton-Eccles scored York’s eighth from distance, and following Manchester’s eleventh goal, York went all out. Josh Westwood swept in his first goal for the club, roaring in celebration, before Przyborowski scored his second of the match and extended his dominant lead at the top of York’s all-time goalscoring chart. For the final thirty seconds while only one goal behind, York pulled their goalkeeper to play with six outfield players in an attempt to snatch a last-second equaliser. It wasn’t to be, Manchester clinging onto their lead under immense pressure. Although the match ended in an 11-10 defeat, this was York’s best result of the year and by far the best performance. The Manchester captain graciously praised York’s improvement from the previous encounter, and both teams felt the game was well-fought and great fun to play in. York headed home in high spirits, excited for their future fixtures.
As usual, the York team voted for their Player of the Match, which was deservedly awarded to Shahroz Randhawa.
Manchester Salibandits 11 – 10 York Floorball