York versus Sheffield is fast becoming the place to be for drama and excitement after another thrilling encounter between the two sides at Don Valley Stadium yesterday.

Anyone who attended the reverse fixture at Huntington Stadium in January will never forget Andy Precious' last minute drop goal which snatched a 16-15 victory for the Wasps.

Yesterday it was Sheffield who left it late to muster a result, and it came from the boot of former York player Rich Goddard.

With just four minutes to go and York leading 12-10, Sheffield were awarded a penalty after York were adjudged to have stolen the ball in the tackle. Up stepped replacement kicker Goddard with his first attempt of the game and he coolly slotted over the straight kick from 40 metres out.

Even more galling was that until then Goddard had been having a nightmare. Three times he knocked on, twice in potential try-scoring positions, and was taken off at half-time to the cheers of the home supporters.

But he was thrust back into the action in place of stand-off and regular kicker Brown with 15 minutes to go and turned from villain to hero with his equaliser.

In the dying seconds he put Sheffield in a match-winning position with a superb 40-20 kick which gave the Eagles possession 20 metres from the York line.

But as they looked for the match-winning drop goal the Wasps defence moved up quickly to prevent any attempt.

To their credit York moved play up to the other end to get in position for their own one pointer but that never materialised as the ball ended up in the hands of Alan Pallister and he could only manage a harmless chip.

It was heartbreaking for York who had given everything in one of their most committed displays of the season.

They probably just about deserved victory, especially as they scored two tries to Sheffield's one. But in the end they were made to pay for conceding penalties in crucial areas.

It was 6-6 at half-time but the Wasps gave away two penalties in front of their own sticks in the first 20 minutes of the second half to trail 10-6.

The first was a howler from Dean Thomas, who failed to play the ball correctly on his own 20 metre line to give Gavin Brown the simplest of chances.

The second came just 10 metres from the York line for pulling the ball out of the tackle.

Sandwiched between those two kicks was a glorious opportunity for the Wasps to take the lead. After a well worked run-around between substitute Kevin Gray and Mark Cain, Chris Judge ran at the angle and crossed the try-line but, under a tackle from Eagles full-back Steve Walker, knocked on while trying to ground the ball.

It was to prove crucial but it would be unfair to be too hard on Judge who put in a magnificent defensive effort.

And at least his mistake did not result in defeat, thanks to an Alan Pallister try ten minutes from time. York's decision to run the ball on the last tackle proved correct as Judge switched play with a short ball to Pallister five metres from the line and the Wasps skipper showed great strength to drive over the line with two tacklers on his back.

A point was no less than York deserved in a game which proved entertaining despite a catalogue of errors by both sides.

Referee Paul Lee is never backwards in using his whistle and must have been rubbing his hands at the number of penalty and scrum opportunities.

That was very much the pattern of the game, particularly in the first half, but it was still a terrific effort by all players in sweltering conditions.

York's defence was phenomenal for most of the game and on several occasions the sheer force of their tackling forced mistakes from the Eagles.

The Wasps dominated territorially for long spells at the start of the first half and were rewarded with a try by the rejuvenated Matt Woodcock after 16 minutes. He collected Mark Cain's long pass 10 metres out and stepped inside two half-hearted tackles for a try which Irving converted.

It was against the run of play that Sheffield hit back five minutes later. After Michael Jackson burst through the line from close range, Dave Larder drew full-back Andy Preston and Neil Kute was coming up on his left shoulder to score the simplest of tries.

Brown's conversion hit an upright, as did a later conversion, but he managed to tie the scores with an easy kick after Judge's high tackle on Kite.

The rest, as they say, is history, but will this battling display go down in history as the one which proved the turning point for York Wasps? We will wait with interest.

Northern Ford Premiership Sheffield 12, York Wasps 12

Sunday, May 14 at Don Valley Stadium

YORK WASPS: Andy Preston 7, Dean Thomas 7, Simon Irving 7, Andy Lambert 7, Matt Woodcock 8, Mark Cain 8, Craig Robinson 7, Craig Forsyth 8, Alan Pallister 8, Steve Hill 8, Mick Ramsden 8, Andy Hill 7, Chris Judge 8.

Subs: Kevin Gray (Robinson 46) 7, Max Ryce (Ramsden 53) 7, Mick Hagan (S Hill 60) 7. Re-subs: Ramsden for Thomas 67.

Not used: John McCracken.

Tries: Woodcock (16), Pallister (70)

Conversions: Irving 2.

Guildford Construction/ Evening Press Man of the Match

Alan Pallister: One of many York players who put in a superb defensive effort and popped up with what was almost the winning try

SHEFFIELD: Steve Walker, Simon Wray, Richard Goddard, Neil Kite, Ian Brown, Gavin Brown, Chris Robinson, Jeff Wittenberg, Marcus Vassilokopoulos, Alex Thompson, Wayne Freeman, Michael Jackson, Dave Larder.

Subs: Lee Bettinson (Vassilokopoulos 54), Michael Johnson (Goddard 40), Jon Bruce (Thompson 25), Mark Kear (Jackson 50).

Re-subs: Goddard for G Brown 65, Thompson for Wittenberg 70.

Tries: Kite (21mins)

Penalties: G Brown 3, Goddard 1

Referee: Paul Lee (Leigh)

Attendance: 1036

Match rating: 7/10

York's next match: versus Hunslet Hawks at Huntington Stadium on Sunday, May 21, kick-off 3pm