York Mitchell Sports League - Under-13s
The final game of the season for the league champions was played in atrocious conditions; bitter cold and driving rain made this fixture on the cusp of May feel more like January.
Pocklington dominated the opening ten minutes but took time to adapt to the conditions. The game played almost exclusively in the Haxby half lacked a cutting edge as Haxby soaked up the pressure. Pocklington had a couple of early corners and free kicks which they were unable to capitalise on. The stalemate was broken by Connor Marshall with a clinical finish. Matthew McGurk next came close as Pock defied the weather and passed the ball well. Marshall soon added a second and his third came after a solo run from Litherland followed a neat pass to Marshall. It seemed the floodgates would open, but the Haxby keeper played well and made a great save from Russell after another fine pass from Frasier. The keeper then denied Marshall after more great work from Frasier. The first of many substitutions, which probably had more to do with keeping everyone warm and active, saw McGurk, Litherland and Frasier replaced by Matthew Reaney, Alex Smith and Josh Craven. Another flurry of substitutions saw Litherland back on his favoured left wing, while McKay was rested, as was Snowball. McGurk returned and Russell was rested. Marshall came close just before half time and then managed to slot his fourth to close the half 4-0; a half in which Adam Falkingham had been virtually redundant, with not a shot to save. The defence had easily dealt with the Haxby forwards, Booth and Snowball having a good game, with Joey Cahill doing his best to reduce their workload, along with Matthew Pearson.
The second half saw a surprising change as Matthew Reaney popped up in goal with Adam Falkingham returning to the midfield. Pocklington soon got things rolling as a nice pass from Marshall allowed Litherland to score from a tight angle, clipping the inside of the right hand post and in. Marshall made it 6-0 with his fifth as he chased a personal target of 80 goals for the season, starting the day on 74. Marshall was not to be denied and soon made it 7-0 and his 80th, and was then replaced by Russell. Goal eight came from some nice work by Booth whose pass to Litherland was pure class; Litherland timed his run well, and skipped past the despairing keeper to side foot it in. George Booth opened his account to make it 9-0. Marshall now returned to the fray, but as a goal-stopper, replacing Matthew Reaney in goal. Dan Litherland scored his hat trick with a powerful shot which dipped over the keeper’s head to make it 10-0. A lapse of concentration saw Haxby score a consolation goal as Marshall was beaten. George Booth had the last word with a stunning header at the far post, after lovely work between Litherland and Russell, to make the final score 11-1. Pocklington were back to winning ways after the only loss of the season the previous week. Played 18, won 17, no draws and a +130 goal difference.