YCS YCS

YORK CITY SOUTH


City History

2016/17 Review

Despite a Wembley win, 2016/7 was possibly the worst ever season in City's history as hopes of a quick return to The Football League quickly evaporated as Jackie McNamara's reign came to an end in circumstances where no one came out with any credit.

The Season - Take 1

What a season, more like 2 seasons in one. Ultimately, a mid season failing, too many drawn games came back to haunt us as draws in our last 2 games of the season consigned us to relegation, when a defeat and a win would have saved us.

With reputedly the 3rd biggest playing budget in the division, we started the season with a 1-1 backs to the wall draw at Maidstone with Scott Flinders in goal plus 10 debutants. It wasn’t pretty, Maidstone hurled long balls and long throws at City’s defence all game. We overcame the storm and finished the stronger in the blazing midday sun.

On paper, the side didn’t look too bad. A blend of experienced lower league signings and a handful of players in their early 20s who’d made their mark in Conference North & South, signings from Braintree, Worcester and Scotland suggested the net had been spread wide.

Midfield didn’t really inspire and Richard Brodie had a comedy moment when he came on as a late sub, his first action was jokingly knocking over the keeper when lining up for a corner.

A midweek win over Macclesfield followed and at 1-0 up entering injury time against Boreham Wood suggested a good end to the first week of the season. Boreham Wood equalised in stoppage time. 2 goals in 3 games didn’t say a lot for the creativity in the team.

A 6-1 defeat at Gateshead made it look like we were in for a long, hard season. The previous season’s failings of a lack of confidence flooded back. Convincing home wins against 2 of the league's lesser sides seemed got us back on track. A 2-1 defeat at Gary Mills’ Wrexham was sandwiched in between. Interestingly, on the back of an abysmal defeat 2 days earlier at Dagenham, Wrexham attracted a 4,000+ crowd, well in excess of City’s average for the season.

September saw the poor away form continue. A trip to bottom of the table Guiseley offered a chance for our first away win in over 12 months. An early goal put us on our way. Guiseley, with 2 new signings up front struck back, as the lights went out; they turned the game away around to win 6-1. Surely, one of the most embarrassing defeats in City’s history.

The cries for Jackie McNamara’s head reached a crescendo. A fudge was reached and McNamara had one game to save his future. A 1-1 a Braintree draw left the picture muddied. Even muddier when McNamara announced he was stepping down but would remain as caretaker until a new manager was in place. His last game in charge was a week later, a 1-1 draw with Curzon in The FA Cup. McNamara left with us 2 places and 3 points above the relegation.

Conveniently (for City at least), Gary Mills had been sacked by Wrexham 2 days earlier, on the Thursday. Straight after the Curzon game, Jason McGill and McNamara headed for a meeting with Mills, he was in place by the end of the evening. McNamara assuming the role of CEO.

Next day, at Mills’ first training session, I think he realised just how big the job was once. His bloated squad was shorn of all confidence. A day later, we lost our FA Cup replay at Curzon.

By the end of November, after 8 league games in charge, Mills had drawn 4 and lost 4 and we were in the bottom 4 after the home defeat against Dagenham. A good draw at high flying Eastleigh being offset by bad home defeats to Lincoln and Dagenham and a 3-0 defeat at Bromley where a paper thin defence was cut to ribbons by a non descript home side. It was a turning point for Mills as he embarked on another recruitment campaign. With 7 new players already signed, another 17 were to come in by the end of the season.

A week later City went to high flying Tranmere and more than held their own until conceding the only goal of the game in injury time. A week later, Mills recorded his first win since his return when we beat Worcester in The FA Trophy. Form held up through December, City getting much the better of a 0-0 draw with Torquay before finally winning an away game (for the first time in 15 months), 1-0 at North Ferriby on Boxing Day. We were on a roll, or so we thought until losing the return game to North Ferriby on New Year’s Day.

In January, Mills, citing away draws at the likes of Dover and Aldershot, teams challenging for promotion / play offs, that were a top 6 side.

That month, a 2-1 win against Barrow saw scenes of wild celebrations and jubilation as quick thinking Vadaine Oliver, recalled to the side, took a quick throw in which produced an injury time winner. Many doubted whether we’d see Oliver in a City shirt against considering how he’d finished the previous season. Richard Brodie, another striker who inspired differing views amongst supporter left the club earlier in the same month. He couldn't sustain an early season scoring spree and struggled to convince many he was match fit.

That win, sandwiched between 4 drawn league games was making it hard to climb out of the bottom 4. However, it was clear the team were playing like a team and safety was a reality rather than a pipedream.

February ended with a creditable 1-1 draw at Lincoln, a point won we all thought was a good point until other results filtered in. 3 of our relegation rivals had all picked up unexpected wins. A theme that was to continue for the rest of the season.

The Lincoln league game was quickly followed by a two legged FA Trophy semi final against Lincoln. A home win and away draw saw us reach Wembley. Gary Mills making early changes in the first leg to change the course of the tie.

March was generally positive. 3 wins and a draw from 5 games, ending with an impressive away win at Macclesfield, the first of 3 successive away wins as we played our way out of the bottom 4.

The next away win, at Chester, saw us out of the bottom four on goal difference. Despite winning our next game, a 2-1 win at Solihull Moors on Good Friday, we remained outside the bottom 4, still only on goal difference, as other relegation threatened teams upped their game.

Our world came crashing down on Easer Monday when an early Jon Parkin goal was cancelled out by 3 from Wrexham. Draws in our last 2 games sealed our fate. The goals of Jon Parkin, Amari Morgan-Smith and Vadaine Oliver gave hope. Extrapolated over a full season, they would all have scored 20+ goals, Jon Parkin, probably over 30. It remains to be seen whether they will be with us next season.

With 47 players appearing for the first team (plus 2 more who made the bench but not the pitch), the finances (even considering the FA Trophy run) will make grim reading when announced. Off the pitch, the Community Stadium passed another judicial review and build tenders / appointing a building contractor are the next steps as we are imminent. With a build of about 60 weeks, its touch and go whether we’ll be in it for the start of the 2018/9 season.

The Supporters Trust struggles on. Re-invigorated in the summer of 2016 when Jason McGill called for the Trust to plug the funding gap between the end of his previous 5 year plan and the move to the new stadium, its struggled on but with a new regime in place, hopes are high for it to be a positive influence around the club.

Almost as soon as the season ended, the club was embroiled in some turmoil as Gary Mills’ position was under scrutiny. Apparently, the club could terminate Mills’ contract without financial penalty in the case of relegation. The club gave Mills 2 days to decide whether he’d sign a new contract on reduced terms. Whilst transparency was shown, it might have been far less disruptive if negotiations had been concluded in private.

Below the first team, the reserves and intermediates had positive seasons from being packed with professional early in the season, the reserve side finished with a team of youth players. Along the way, performances held up and some reputations were enhanced. Sam Fielding for one, shone early season, and made a confident first team debut in McNamara’s last days. Given the need for success, youth struggled later in the season. The intermediates had a strong season, finishing 4th in their league, the best result for many a season. In goal, Ryan Whitley and upfront 16 year olds Ryan Edmondson and Gabby McGill hit the headlines, but its probably unfair to name just 3 players when across the team, there were players excelling. Given City’s non league status, it remains to be seen how long these sides can be maintained.

The season ended (or in Gary Mills’ words, the 2017/8 season started) with a 3-2 win over Macclesfield in The FA Trophy Final, netting £50,000 prize money on the day (The Macc Lads got £25,000 as runners up) to add to the £42,000 prize money from the earlier rounds, plus a share of the gate receipts and TV revenue from the cup run. It should make a dent in season’s losses, but even so, when they’re eventually published, it they’re very unlikely to make happy reading. Note, some reports quoted £57,000 as pre Wembley prize money but The FA web site suggests £42,000, being £5,000 in Round 1, (Worcester), increasing a £1,000 a round until £8,000 for beating Brackley in Round 4 and then £16,000 for beating Lincoln. Next season, National League North sides enter at the 3rd qualifying round so if we are to repeat our success, its one more round we’ll have to get through.

Second time around, there was evidence that Gary Mills was more adaptable with his tactics, making early changes when games weren’t going our way and being prepared to compromise on the stylish play we saw first time around. Non more so when Sam Muggleton joined in March and we used an aerial bombardment from his massive long throws and the aerial strength of Parkin and Oliver to good effect.

However, whilst acknowledging our dire position and lack of success with youngster under McNamara, once again Gary Mills took a cautious approach to playing the youngsters. Sam Fielding, who’d made his debut and looked a footballer in the last days of McNamara was soon back in the youth side whilst Callum Rzonca and Alex Bruton were 2 home grown youngsters who played under Mills but won’t be at the club next season.

The players who did play, universally praised the club and the team spirit, hopefully boding well for 2017/8.

The Season - Take 2

The following is taken from Dave Flett's article that appeared in The York Press on May 27, 2017.

York City's season might have ended in celebration under Wembley's world-famous arch but Gary Mills is unlikely to be satisfied until his work at Bootham Crescent has gone full circle. Shaping a brighter future for the Minstermen was Mills' intention when he returned in October to manage the club he had led back into the Football League four and a half years earlier. That will be his ultimate goal again but, having failed to stave off the threat of relegation on goal difference (Ed: We finished a point below Guiseley and safety.) following an agonising final day, the whole process will now need to begin in the regionalised realms of National League North. Mills, of course, believes it has already started, following the 3-2 FA Trophy final victory on the hallowed turf over Macclesfield after his revamped squad displayed top-ten form from the turn of the year.

Incredibly, only two players that kicked off the season on a sweltering afternoon in Maidstone last August – Simon Heslop and Yan Klukowski – would end the campaign in City's starting XI at the home of English football, with the latter also making way at half-time.

That statistic is a sad indictment of the "awful" recruitment, in the words of chairman Jason McGill, that had been overseen by former manager Jackie McNamara during the summer months.

Given the National League's third-biggest budget, McNamara displayed reckless naivety in assembling a group of ill-equipped players who were tasked with winning promotion but were quickly drawn into a relegation dogfight.

Convincing early victories over Woking (4-1) and Solihull (4-0) did offer some hope but perhaps, in hindsight, City met both teams at an opportune time and both certainly grew stronger during the season.

McNamara's team were also heavily reliant on diminutive youngster Aidan Connolly's creative spark and returning striker Richard Brodie's propensity to come up with something out of the ordinary. If either of those two were injured, off-form or unfit, with Brodie far from his peak physical condition, the squad's dependence on too many unproven youngsters and poorly-scouted, part-time players was then sorely exposed.

Away from home, meanwhile, the club's supporters travelled more in forlorn hope, than optimistic anticipation, as a drop in division could herald no improvement in McNamara's dismal form on the road, which would see him end an 11-month reign with no wins outside of North Yorkshire, five draws and 23 defeats.

Such a sorry sequence cast aspersions on the team's organisation and shape and, after a 6-1 defeat at Gateshead provided a contender for lowest point in the club's history, it was superseded by the undeniable 95-year nadir when, in October, a Guiseley team who were still searching for their first victory of the season triumphed by the same scoreline at their modest Nethermoor Park home. Some of the West Yorkshire club's part-time players had rocked up for the match with their boots in carrier bags and, at 4-1, the night game was even delayed for an hour due to floodlight failure. Surprisingly, the lights did not go out on McNamara's time as manager, though, after that debacle.

In between the two thrashings, the former Celtic skipper had suggested that he would consider his future following another disappointing 2-0 defeat at Barrow. After reports that he had not taken training the following Monday were then confirmed by a social media picture of him collecting his new Audi car in Scotland, speculation grew further about his intentions. The Twitter photograph was swiftly deleted by the motor dealership and McNamara returned to work, although the reasons for his absence attracted criticism from some supporters. In the same week, he then appeared in court and was found guilty of the non-payment of a train fare.

With his side's season seemingly careering off the rails following the Guiseley horror show, McNamara announced – to the bewilderment and bemusement of the wider football world – that he would decide whether he remained as manager depending on whether the team picked up a "positive" result in their next game at Braintree.

After Lee Barnard's 88th-minute penalty earned the hosts a 1-1 draw, there then followed a two-day period when fascinated observers waited to see whether such an outcome met the ambiguous requirement. It didn't, it was subsequently decided, but in another twist to the unconventional saga, McNamara would stay on as caretaker manager until a replacement was found.

Following a poor 1-1 FA Cup fourth-qualifying round home draw with Curzon Ashton, that search was swiftly concluded, with McGill and McNamara pictured that Saturday night speaking to Mills in a York hotel and The Press exclusively revealing that the former double-Wembley winner would be returning as manager. In one final abnormal act, though, McNamara would be staying on as chief executive.

Following such turmoil, Mills was refreshingly straightforward in his work, but it would take almost two months – possibly up to the unlucky 1-0 defeat at title hopefuls Tranmere on December 3 – for him to unravel the "absolutely diabolical mess" he had inherited, in his own words.

Initial mistakes in the transfer market, such as Robbie McDaid, Jake Charles and Luke Woodland, all made in haste, were soon followed by a much-welcomed, more credible approach to recruitment.

The likes of Hamza Bencherif, Simon Lappin, Scott Loach, Adriano Moke, Amari Morgan-Smith, Rhys Murphy, Sean Newton, Jon Parkin, Dan Parslow and Aarran Racine would all prove excellent additions to the squad and help the club restore much of its lost pride and respectability.

Even Vadaine Oliver, vilified in all quarters for his lacklustre performances as the team tumbled out of the Football League, returned from a loan spell at Notts County in January to become an integral figure in that recovery.

By then, a 1-0 win at North Ferriby on Boxing Day had heralded the end of a club record-equalling run of 35 games without an away triumph and, from their last 15 matches on the road, City would win six, draw seven and suffer defeat in only two.

Mills had worked hard to rid the club of its losing mentality but that seven-week transition period from one squad to the next, coupled with an improvement in standards at the bottom of the table since City's last non-League stint, meant clawing their way out of trouble proved more problematic.

In the meantime, Mills was plotting another trip to Wembley, as the team spirit he had engendered saw his players negotiate FA Trophy ties against part-timers Worcester, Harlow, Nuneaton and Brackley – before prevailing against eventual league champions and FA Cup quarter-finalists Lincoln by completing an aggregate victory in front of a partisan 8,409 Sincil Bank crowd when sub Scott Fenwick converted his team's only on-target effort of the second leg from the penalty spot in extra time. Rather than a distraction, that triumph seemed to inspire the team, with five of the subsequent seven league fixtures ending in victory to briefly lift the club into a position of safety with three fixtures remaining.

A 3-1 blip at home to Mills' former team Wrexham was capitalised upon by City's relegation rivals, though, which heaped enormous pressure on the final away trip of the season – against a Woking team also fighting the drop.

More unfavourable results meant a 1-1 draw in Surrey – the first points City had let slip in four away matches – left their fate in the hands of others going into a fraught final-day home contest with play-off qualifiers Forest Green.

The television cameras turned up to see attacking talisman Parkin, who would end the season with 13 goals in his last 17 games, twice cancel out goals from his old club and, as long as Guiseley continued to trail a Solihull team that had seen a penalty saved and hit the bar on 87 minutes, then the Minstermen would be safe.

But a stoppage-time own goal by Solihull's Kristian Green sealed City's fate.

Mills' men would go on to reaffirm the progress made during the current calendar year, though, by defeating ninth-placed Macclesfield for a third time on this country's biggest stage. Having navigated the Road to Wembley for a fifth time in eight years, there is genuine hope that the victory will offer a positive stride on the Road to Redemption.

The Players

  1. BEN BARBER Made one appearance following summer move from Stoke during the 6-1 Guiseley debacle. Not the worst player on show that evening but did not look a better option at left back than Alex Whittle. Gary Mills made swift decision to transfer list him following arrival as manager. Appearances: 1 (0); Goals: 0; Rating: 4/10

  2. HAMZA BENCHERIF Dependable and strong addition to the team following January arrival from Wrexham. Given the odd problem by pace but largely slotted in well as the central figure of the back three following injury to Yan Klukowski. Could have perhaps contributed more at attacking set-pieces given his height. Appearances: 21 (0); Goals: 0; Rating: 7/10

  3. RICHARD BRODIE Clearly unfit on rejoining the club, the much-travelled marksman nevertheless ensured the team avoided an even poorer start than might have been the case had he not been leading the line. Linking up well with Aidan Connolly to mask other deficiencies in the squad, he scored some truly spectacular goals, netting in five consecutive matches. But discipline remained a problem as referees were forever reaching inside their pocket and the writing was on the wall when Mills returned as manager and quickly looked to offload the then top scorer. Appearances: 15 (6); Goals: 7; Rating: 6/10

  4. ALEX BRUTON Teenage youth-team graduate who was given his debut as a substitute during a difficult afternoon at Bromley. Most agreed the 3-0 home win was a classic case of men against boys, with the likes of lightweight quartet Bruton, Robbie McDaid, Callum Rzonca and Jake Charles offering little attacking presence. Not risked again in the unforgiving environment of National League football. Appearances: 0 (1); Goals: 0; Rating: 5/10

  5. JAKE CHARLES The grandson of former Leeds United, Juventus and Wales great John was more gentle than giant following his brief loan spell from Barnsley. Could not impose himself on games. Looked overwhelmed by step up from development football. Appearances: 2 (0); Goals: 0; Rating: 2/10

  6. BEN CLAPPISON Adequate with the ball at his feet but struggled when put under defensive pressure, as evidenced most painfully during 6-1 horror show against Guiseley. Looked lost when given the responsibility of a midfield anchorman role that night. Pace of step up from reserve team outings at Hull proved too much and he was loaned out to Boston. Appearances: 9 (1); Goals: 0; Rating: 3/10

  7. FRANKLYN CLARKE Must have been as surprised as everybody else when a trial from the football backwaters of Dorchester Town saw him swiftly offered a contract at Bootham Crescent. Found wanting on his two subsequent first team appearances in midfield. Gone, almost as quickly as he had arrived, when Mills decided it was time for him to return to the south and part-time football with Salisbury. Appearances: 1 (1); Goals: 0; Rating: 2/10

  8. AIDAN CONNOLLY Worked well in tandem with Brodie during first month of campaign when Premier League hopefuls Reading were monitoring his progress. Racked up assists during those early games and terrorised the defences of Woking and Solihull, as they were finding their feet in the opening weeks. Found it hard to find a place in Mills' 3-4-3 formation, though, when team play was prioritised over a strong dependency on one individual, whose absence was keenly felt when he picked up an October injury. Appearances: 16 (8); Goals: 5; Rating: 6/10

  9. CHARLIE COOPER Tidy feet, without really hurting opposition teams. Perhaps lacked the battling qualities needed in a dogfight. Following brief loan spell from Birmingham, went on to team up with his father Mark at Forest Green and impressed during the play-off final Wembley win over Tranmere. Appearances: 5 (0); Goals: 0; Rating: 5/10

  10. MATT DIXON Good attitude but too many games passed him by when given his chance in midfield. Did well during a 2-1 defeat at Forest Green but his forward surges in that match were conspicuous by their absence in other games. Next to anonymous in many of his other 13 appearances and allowed to leave for North Ferriby by Mills. Appearances: 10 (4); Goals: 0; Rating: 3/10

  11. KAINE FELIX Could not always combine his devastating pace with a reliable final product. Decision-making was that of a semi-professional player too, rather than a full-time footballer. Farmed out by Mills within a month of his return as manager. Appearances: 6 (8); Goals: 0; Rating: 4/10

  12. SCOTT FENWICK Showed ice-cool nerve to convert the match-winning penalty at Lincoln that sent his team to Wembley in the FA Trophy final. But that contribution, along with an unlikely comeback-inspiring header at Sutton, were the only highlights of an otherwise underwhelming campaign. Brought in last summer with the hope that he would be the team's biggest goal threat but managed to net just twice in open play during 29 outings. Appearances: 11 (18); Goals: 3; Rating: 4/10

  13. SAM FIELDING Coped well when thrown in during the most difficult of circumstances during Jackie McNamara's final game in charge at Braintree and subsequent one-match caretaker reign for the FA Cup home tie with Curzon Ashton. Not intimidated by the robust challenge of senior football despite his skinny frame and strong enough mentally to assume set-piece responsibility. Delivered well from dead balls too and, hopefully, one for the future. Appearances: 2 (0); Goals: 0; Rating: 6/10

  14. SCOTT FLINDERS Started the season in goal, before incurring a five-game ban after being found guilty of racial abuse. Subsequently lost his place to Kyle Letheren and was loaned out to Macclesfield. Recalled by Mills and did well for a spell but allowed to leave again for Moss Rose after struggling in a 4-1 home defeat to Lincoln. Appearances: 8 (1); Goals: 0; Rating: 5/10

  15. MATT FRY Failed to fulfil expectations after arrival from a Braintree team that had reached the previous season's play-offs with the division's best goals-against record. Intelligent, affable and professional but looked vulnerable defensively, conceding too many penalties and spending too much time on his backside for a centre back. Also had his problems with injuries. Appearances: 22 (1); Goals: 0; Rating: 3/10

  16. DANNY GALBRAITH As during the previous season, promise suggested by the odd flash of talent could not be converted into a consistent run of performances. A spectacular goal against Chester proved his only telling moment of the campaign. Struggled with injury throughout and soon told he had no future at the club under Mills. Appearances: 7 (2); Goals: 1; Rating: 3/10

  17. ASA HALL Offered more height in the team following his loan move from Cheltenham. Sometimes looked a little off speed in midfield. Long-range shooting was unreliable and wayward. Appearances: 16 (0); Goals: 1; Rating: 5/10

  18. SIMON HESLOP Status as skipper was questioned, even by manager Mills, but gave captain's performances in high-stakes matches such as the final-day clash against Forest Green and FA Trophy semi-final second leg at Lincoln. Weighed in with a handful of goals. Also worked hard for the team when switched to a less-preferred right-wing back role. Appearances: 52 (0); Goals: 5; Rating: 6/10

  19. JACK HIGGINS Wore his heart on his sleeve and could be dominant in the air at his best. At other times lacked defensive discipline at set-pieces and struggled when asked to play out from the back. Step up from a leaky Stalybridge defence proved too much and went on to spend last six months of the season at fellow-relegated outfit Southport. Appearances: 17 (0); Goals: 0; Rating: 5/10

  20. DANNY HOLMES Willing performer in a number of different roles, including in a surprise left-wing back role that saw him have hand in both the Minstermen's opening FA Trophy final goals. Often played second fiddle to others in the pecking order for positions in defence, out wide and midfield. But showed his worth in the 2-0 win at Chester with a brilliant goal-saving tackle and spectacular goal. Appearances: 19 (8); Goals: 1; Rating: 6/10

  21. JUSTIN JOHNSON Signed to get bums off seats by former boss McNamara but spent most of his time on his own backside in the stand. Looked naive and raw during his limited outings. Unwanted by Mills, who didn't name him in a single match-day squad. Appearances: 2 (3); Goals: 0; Rating: 3/10

  22. CLOVIS KAMDJO Showed erratic midfield form during early weeks of season, when he was often found wanting in possession. Needed to move ball around quicker. Exposed terribly when moved into defence during the 6-1 thrashing at Guiseley, before season ended prematurely after suffering cruciate ligament damage in November. Appearances: 14 (2); Goals: 1; Rating: 3/10

  23. YAN KLUKOWSKI Transformed when moved into the middle of defence by Mills three months into the season. Had never played at the back but his intelligent reading of the game and technical qualities made him an inspired choice as the ball-playing sweeper in City's back three. Prior to Mills' arrival, he had been ineffective in too many matches as a midfielder. Appearances: 29 (3); Goals: 3; Rating: 6/10

  24. SIMON LAPPIN Former Premier League midfielder added a touch of class to City's play with his reliable range of passing following his November arrival. Dangerous from dead balls, he also never shirked a challenge, while holding his shape effortlessly in an anchoring role. Forged a good understanding with Sean Newton in the middle of the park that was sorely missed when his campaign was curtailed in February by a ruptured Achilles. Appearances: 9 (0); Goals: 0; Rating: 7/10

  25. KYLE LETHEREN Made a string of saves during the season that won his team several points at crucial moments in games. Often over-worked until the team's mid-season improvement under Mills. Nevertheless, responded well and, although his errors seemed to come during a brief uncertain period, he made fewer mistakes than most and was unlucky not to feature in the final nine league games after the club were able to recruit experienced former Championship campaigner Scott Loach. Appearances: 36 (0); Goals: 0; Rating: 7/10

  26. SCOTT LOACH Ex-England under-21 international who showed excellent commitment to the cause after being drafted in for the dogfight during the final five weeks of the campaign. Displayed sharp reflexes when he came under pressure during the nervy 2-1 Good Friday win at Solihull. Also a capable kicker and reliable organiser. Appearances: 9 (0); Goals: 0; Rating: 7/10

  27. ROBBIE McDAID Came in disappointed that he had never been given a chance in the Championship with previous club Leeds but was soon given a reality check when he found the going tough at National League level. Lacked sharpness and incision in attack. Could not fulfil Mills' initial expectations and loaned out to Chorley. Appearances: 5 (1); Goals: 0; Rating: 2/10

  28. ADRIANO MOKE At 27, there still seems uncertainty surrounding the former Glenn Hoddle Academy graduate's most natural game. Proved himself as an accomplished retainer of possession when used in a central-midfield role, although sometimes had a propensity to play safe rather than hurt the opposition. Also demonstrated in his FA Trophy semi-final cameos against Lincoln that he can still hurt teams with explosive forward bursts but could not hold down a starting place during the crucial run-in. Appearances: 16 (8); Goals: 0; Rating: 6/10

  29. AMARI MORGAN-SMITH Worked prodigiously hard and showed admirable unselfishness to sacrifice his own desire to score goals by providing much of the leg work that allowed Jon Parkin to concentrate on putting the ball in the back of the net. At times, his industry perhaps affected his ability to make more incisive runs beyond defences. But closed down and harried as well as anybody in the side. Appearances: 24 (0); Goals: 6; Rating: 7/10

  30. SAM MUGGLETON His prodigious long throw was met by gasps from every set of unsuspecting opposition supporters on first viewing. When hailed from the bench, he was an immediate provider of assists, with the likes of Parkin and Vadaine Oliver grateful targets for his abnormal touchline talent. Also proved he could play a bit when given his first start on the season's final day against Forest Green. Appearances: 1 (7); Goals: 0; Rating: 6/10

  31. FRASER MURDOCH Woefully short of match fitness on his September arrival after a long spell on the sidelines following serious injury. Unable to overcome that handicap during two substitute outings. Among first to be offloaded after Mills' reappointment. Appearances: 0 (2); Goals: 0; Rating: 2/10

  32. RHYS MURPHY Linked up well with Parkin during their first couple of outings together. Suffered a little, though, following a couple of important, glaring misses. Returned to parent club Forest Green after a month, before moving on to Football League outfit Crawley. Appearances: 6 (0); Goals: 1; Rating: 6/10

  33. SEAN NEWTON Mills would have cloned his former Wrexham utility man if possible. Performing just as well when selected in defence, out wide or in midfield, he even threatened when employed as an emergency striker. Never gave less than 100 per cent and his stoppage-time winner at home to Barrow proved a season highlight. Appearances: 35 (0); Goals: 3; Rating: 7/10

  34. DANIEL NTI One goal and no assists from 19 first-team appearances tells the story of the former Worcester winger's struggles at National League level. Never featured again after a torrid afternoon deputising at centre forward when Parkin was not risked on Harlow's 3G pitch. Looked cowed by the club's expectations, with his first touch and final pass never convincing. Appearances: 7 (12); Goals: 1; Rating: 3/10

  35. VADAINE OLIVER Came back to City a little sheepishly, having made it clear at the end of the previous season that he wanted to move on after a poor second half of the campaign. A subsequent six-month loan spell at Notts County followed but he was sent back to Bootham Crescent and given a second chance by Mills. Then showed admirable character to win back the support of uncertain fans and earned redemption with a series of whole-hearted displays and well-taken goals. Appearances: 22 (1); Goals: 10; Rating: 7/10

  36. LANRE OYEBANJO An injury ravaged campaign restricted him to just five starts. Never looked comfortable during those outings. Played no part from the end of February. Appearances: 5 (2); Goals: 0; Rating: 4/10

  37. JON PARKIN Did all he could to try and keep the club up and avoid a first career relegation during the closing weeks of the campaign. Netted 12 times in his last 14 games and, despite only arriving in December, his final tally of 16 goals was the best return from any City player for five years. A marksman of the highest pedigree, who remains lethal in front of goal at 35. Appearances: 28 (0); Goals: 16; Rating: 7/10

  38. DAN PARSLOW City stalwart who slotted in as if he had never been away on his return to North Yorkshire in January. A model of consistency, the former Welsh under-21 international remains happy for others to hog the headlines while he goes quietly about his business. Unflustered when required to play on his less natural left side and any mistakes are difficult to recall. Appearances: 23 (0); Goals: 0; Rating: 7/10

  39. AARRAN RACINE Man mountain of a defender who came out on top in all his physical contests during a one-month loan spell. Excellent in the air with a no-thrills approach on the deck. Moved on to Torquay, where his season was cruelly ended by serious injury. Appearances: 5 (0); Goals: 1; Rating: 7/10

  40. JOSH ROBINSON Looked ill prepared for the pace and power of National League football following his arrival across the Irish Sea. Badly exposed during his handful of outings, most notably during his final game, a hapless substitute cameo at Barrow. Spent most of campaign on loan at Boston. Appearances: 2 (3); Goals: 0; Rating: 2/10

  41. SHAUN ROONEY Has all the physical attributes to excel as a right wing back but lacked the anticipation needed to become a dependable defender. Such lapses were regularly punished and needs to work on his game intelligence to progress in the game. Difficult to trust him in a game situation otherwise. Appearances: 33 (5); Goals: 1; Rating: 4/10

  42. CALLUM RZONCA Scored a spectacular goal after coming off bench against Guiseley. Couldn't make as big an impact during nine other outings and given just one start in a 2-2 draw with Chester. Told he had no future at club after North Riding Cup reserve defeat at Whitby. Appearances: 1 (9); Goals: 1; Rating: 4/10

  43. LUKE SIMPSON Let nobody down on his debut at Forest Green before Letheren was brought in as first choice. Also saved a penalty at Curzon Ashton when the latter was injured but looked a little unsure with high balls into his box. Overlooked again when Mills decided to draft Loach in to cover for another Letheren absence before the transfer deadline. Appearances: 1 (1); Goals: 0; Rating: 5/10

  44. REECE THOMPSON Restricted to one substitute outing against Woking before being moved on to North Ferriby. Would return to Bootham Crescent and score the winning goal for City's relegation rivals on New Year's Day. Then relished the opportunity to rub home fans' noses in it at the David Longhurst End. Appearances: 0 (1); Goals: 0; Rating: 4/10

  45. TYLER WALTON Given his debut as a teenage substitute at Torquay. Not afraid to get on the ball and wasn't intimidated by physical side of game. Might have distributed a little better. Appearances: 0 (1); Goals: 0; Rating: 5/10

  46. ALEX WHITTLE Full of energy up and down left flank. Very few wingers got the better of him. Might have caused more damage in final third but a reliable provider of crosses from wide positions. Appearances: 45 (3); Goals: 0; Rating: 7/10

  47. LUKE WOODLAND Out of his depth during sole City start in comprehensive 3-0 defeat at Bromley. Looked ill equipped for National League battle. Soon deemed surplus to requirements. Appearances: 1 (2); Goals: 0; Rating: 2/10

  48. JAKE WRIGHT Tenacious striker whose aggression sometimes overstepped the mark. Gave plenty of effort though and offered a goal threat. Went back to parent club Sheffield United, having acquitted himself adequately without pulling up too many trees. Appearances: 6 (1); Goals: 1; Rating: 5/10

Goals: Parkin 16, Oliver 10, Brodie 7, Morgan-Smith 6, Connolly 5, Heslop 5, Fenwick 3, Klukowski 3, Newton 3, Fry 2, Own Goals 2, Galbraith 1, Hall 1, Holmes 1, Kamdjo 1, Lappin 1, Murphy 1, Nti 1, Racine 1, Rooney 1, Rzonca 1, Wright 1.

Assists: Parkin 10, Connolly 7, Morgan-Smith 6, Newton 6, Oliver 5, Rooney 4, Heslop 3, Holmes 3, Klukowski 3, Bencherif 2, Felix 2, Galbraith 2, Hall 2, Moke 2, Muggleton 2, Parslow 2, Whittle 2, Wright 2, Cooper 1, Fenwick 1, Fry 1, Higgins 1, Murphy 1, Racine 1.

Cards: Rooney 11 yellow cards; Brodie nine yellow; Heslop one red, seven yellow; Newton seven yellow; Fenwick, Oliver both six yellow; Parkin one red, four yellow; Higgins, Morgan-Smith both five yellow; Fry, Whittle both four yellow; Holmes, Nti both one red, two yellow; Bencherif, Klukowski, Wright all three yellow; Connolly, Hall, Kamdjo, Muggleton all two yellow; Moke one red; Clappison, Dixon, Galbraith, Johnson, Lappin, Letheren, McDaid, Murphy, Parslow, Racine, Thompson all one yellow.

National League Attendances 2016/7

At 2,558, City had the 4th highest National League average home attendance for the season. Tranmere, with 5,173, topped that table, very narrowly beating Lincoln.

In National League North, the top 2 average attendances were Stockport County (3,477) and FC United of Manchester (2,667), both topping City’s average.

For all the details see European Football Statistics, a wonderful web site.

Agents' Fees

FA figures show 12 National League clubs paid a total of £271,065 to registered intermediaries during that one-year period between February 2, 2016 and January 31, 2017.

Top of the list are Forest Green Rovers who handed over £174,613, more than every club bar Portsmouth in League Two and more than most in League One.

The full list of agents' fees paid by National League clubs is:

  • Forest Green Rovers £174,613
  • Wrexham £26,032
  • Lincoln City £24,652
  • Tranmere Rovers £12,014
  • Barrow AFC £9,114
  • Gateshead £9,040
  • York City £8,660
  • Guiseley £2,000
  • Salford City (NLN) £1,950
  • FC Halifax Town (NLN) £1,569
  • Harrogate Town (NLN) £1,365
  • Aldershot Town £56

Intermediates

The intermediate side saw a slight upturn in form. By the end of August, they'd got more league points than they achieved in the whole of the previous season.

Former youth player, Callum Rconza was a first team squad member, a spectacular goal against Guiseley being his early season highlight. Current youth players, Sam Fielding and Alex Bruton, both played in the first team, a heartening improvement on many recent seasons, although given the fight against relegation, chances were confined to the first half of the season.

In The FA Youth Cup, after 2 easy preliminary round wins, City went out in Round 1 losing away to FC Halifax after penalties. The Under 18s beat Garforth 6-0 (October 5; Reece Breslin (2), Tyler Walton, Sam Fielding, Alex Brutton and Josh Berry) and Barton Town Old Boys 9 -0 (October 18; Flynn McNaughton (2), Alex Bruton (2), Noah Jackson (2), Aaron Haswell, Charlie Wardle and Zac Lawrence) in the 9-0 victory) to reach Round 1. City’s Under-18s were knocked out in Round 1 of the FA Youth Cup after losing 4-3 on penalties to FC Halifax Town (November 2). A superb solo goal from Alex Bruton, after a 50 yard run from inside his own half, and a powerful curling free-kick from left-back Zac Lawrence gave City a 2-0 lead against Town going into stoppage time. A dramatic fightback from the home side saw strikes from Jack Johnson and Josh Debenham take the tie to extra time. City should have put themselves ahead once more in the extra period, Bruton rattling the crossbar with a thunderous strike from distance. Substitute Ryan Edmondson was there for the rebound, but he couldn’t control his header as it went agonisingly wide. A strong save from Town goalkeeper Kyle Trenerry to deny Bruton from the spot was enough to see them through, 4-3 on penalties, to the next round.

FC Halifax Town Under-18s: Kyle Trenerry, Jack Knight (Alex Moloney, 86’), Reece Kendall, Jake Thompson, Jack Johnson (c), Brad Swain, Kelan Swales, Liam Healey (Jacob Heatley, 79’), Josh Debenham, Marko Basic, James Sunderland. Subs: Jack Atkinson, Alex Moloney, Liam Harker, Jacob Heatley, Eion Schofield.

York City Under-18s: Joe Wilton, Joe Kemp (Dan Hartley, 61’), Zac Lawrence, Tyler Walton (Charlie Wardle, 73’), Josh Rogerson, Aaron Brettell (c), Alex Bruton, Sam Fielding, Flynn McNaughton (Ryan Edmondson, 67’), Aaron Haswell, Noah Jackson. Subs: Josh Berry, Kyle Tranter, Charlie Wardle, Ryan Edmondson, Dan Hartley.

Reserves

City entered The Central League, competing in a 6 team league. The games, together with a few friendlies, gave invaluable competitive football to the fringe players, something they'd lacked in previous seasons. Jackie McNamara being impressed by Sam Fielding in a couple of early season reserve games before promoting him to the first team. On the down side, an impressive 2 goal performance against Chesterfield saw Fraser Murdoch earn a contract.

In The North Riding Senior Cup, City were knocked out in their first game, a quarter final tie, losing 3-1 at Whitby. Fielding a strong side, it was a dissappointing performance, effectively ending the Ciy career's of several professionals. Vadaine Oliver being a notable exception on his return from his loan spell at Notts County.

Date

Opponents

Competition

Venue

Result

September 5

Hartlepool

League

A

L 2-1

September 20

Chesterfield

League

H

W 3-1

October 11

Grimsby

League

A

L 1-3

November 4

Leeds U23

Friendly

H

W 4-2

November 9

Mansfield

League

H

W 3-0

November 15

Rotherham

League

A

W 2-0

December 6

Rotherham

League

H

L 0-1

January 10

Whitby

NRSC QF

A

L 1-3

January 25

Mansfield

League

A

L 2-4

February 15

Grimsby

League

H

Postponed (Waterlogged pitch)

February 22

Chesterfield

League

A

L 0-1

March 7

Hartlepool

League

H

L 1-2

April 4

Grimsby

League

H

D 0-0

2016/7

?

League

H

?

2016/7

?

League

H

?

NB Home games played at Wiggington Road. Away games generally not played at the opponents' home ground. Fixtures subject to change, so check before travelling.

  1. HARTLEPOOL (League) (A (Billingham Town)) L 1-2
    A late Luke Simpson blunder consigned York City to a 2-1 defeat against Hartlepool on their return to organised reserve-team football after an absence of seven years. Keeper Simpson let a speculative shot from home midfielder Brad Walker slip through his fingers after youth-team forward Flynn McNaughton had earlier cancelled out Tom Heardman’s first-half opener for Pool, who fielded six players with professional appearances to their name. The Minstermen, meanwhile, included five players with first-team experience this season in Simpson, Josh Robinson, Kaine Felix, Callum Rzonca and Justin Johnson. Left-back Ben Barber, meanwhile, made his first appearance in City colours after being sidelined by injury since his summer move from Stoke, with first-year professionals Tyler Walton and Nick Kennedy also featuring in the Central League clash. The other starting XI places went to youth-team trio Josh Rogerson, Sam Fielding and Arron Brettel. Former City loan striker Bradley Fewster, playing for the hosts on the right side of a front three after joining Pool on the same basis, provided an early reminder of his threat when he seized on a second-minute Walker cross but narrowly cleared Simpson’s crossbar from seven yards. At the other end, skipper Robinson’s downward header struck the base of Ryan Catterick’s right-hand post following trickery by Johnson close to the byline. Robinson also went on to volley over after Johnson’s corner was cleared to the edge of the box. It was the home side that forged in front, though, on 26 minutes when Kieran Green met James Martin’s left-wing corner with his head and Heardman volleyed past a vulnerable Simpson from six yards. City responded with a Johnson free kick that was deflected wide and edge-of-the-box Rzonca and Felix attempts that drifted over before the break. The Minstermen were level, though, within 30 seconds of the restart when Johnson worked his way to the byline again before pulling the ball back from the left for McNaughton to tap in with his first touch after replacing Kennedy at half-time. Fielding, who along with fellow teenager Walton impressed in the visitors’ midfield, then went close with a 30-yard drive, although Robinson was relieved to see Fewster shoot wide after giving away possession to the Middlesbrough striker. On 67 minutes, Johnson flashed a chance across the face of goal, having exploded through the left channel after Fielding had won possession. Johnson went on to hit the near post with a fierce effort from a similar position after exchanging passes with Brettel, while Walton’s powerful follow-up effort was headed away. A Rzonca free kick was also safely gathered by Catterick, but it was Hartlepool who snatched victory against the run of play when Walker’s 20-yard angled, rising drive slipped out of Simpson’s grasp at his near post on 80 minutes. Felix had to be replaced soon afterwards after taking a hefty kick to the shins, but it was not serious enough to prevent him from being in contention for Saturday’s National League clash at Torquay.
    City: Luke Simpson, Josh Rogerson (Y), Josh Robinson, Arron Brettel (Y), Ben Barber, Kaine Felix (Wilkinson (Y), 85), Sam Fielding (Y), Tyler Walton, Justin Johnson, Nick Kennedy, (Flynn McNaughton, 46 (Y)), Callum Rzonca. Sub (Not Used) Joe Wilton, Aaron Haswell, AN Other
  2. Chesterfield (League) (H) W 3-1
    York City's reserves proved too strong for Chesterfield in their opening Central League home game of the season on Tuesday afternoon. The Spireites had come into the contest on the back of successive triumphs at Grimsby Town (2-0) and, in the League Cup, Mansfield Town (4-2). Meanwhile, City had narrowly lost their first league game 2-1 at Hartlepool United in what was their first competitive second-string fixture in seven years. And it was in-form Chesterfield who went in front at the Wiggington Road training complex thanks to defender Laurence Maguire. However, York fought back through young striker Nick Kennedy and a brace from an unnamed trialist (Fraser Murdoch) to record an impressive victory.
    York City: Simpson, Clappison, Barber, Kamdjo, Robinson, Walton, Clarke, Johnson, Nti, Fenwick, Trialist (Fraser Murdoch). Subs: Wilton, Fielding, Kennedy, Rzonca, Wardle.
    Chesterfield: Hill, Ofoegbu, Daly, Maguire, Graham, Humphreys, Morrison, Marshall, Beesley, Taylor-Fletcher, Mitchell. Subs: Jones, Simons, Brownell. Rowley, Hand.
    Gordon Gildener (York) writes I was one of the ten (yes, only ten) supporters who attended last week's reserve team game against Chesterfield, hoping to see players who might be worthy of a first team shirt. Jackie McNamara was there with Jason McGill but took no part in the management of the players nor staff. The positives were that Ben Barber appeared and looked quite solid at left back. Scott Fenwick, having played the first half up front with Fraser Murdoch, but contributed nothing as he has done all season, played behind the front two in the second half and was a totally different player. Also Clovis Kamdjo was very commanding, leading the back four.
  3. Grimsby (League) (A) L 1-3
    York City defenders Josh Robinson and Ben Barber both picked up injuries during a 3-1 reserve defeat at Grimsby. Centre-half Robinson limped gingerly out of the action on 20 minutes with a foot/ankle problem, while left-back Barber was substituted early in the second half holding his hamstring. Callum Rzonca had earlier fired the Minstermen in front, but his strike was cancelled out by Kayden Jackson, Josh Venney and Cameron Hough efforts. The visitors’ side was managed by youth-team chief Steve Torpey, with departing manager Jackie McNamara and chairman Jason McGill bith watching on from the stands and included nine players with first-team experience this term. Summer singing Franklyn Clarke, who has not featured in the National League yet due to suspension and a bout of laryngitis, also featured. Six of Grimsby’s starting XI, meanwhile, had turned out for the League Two’s senior side this season, with ex-City defenders Chris Doig and Andy McMillan in charge of their team. It was Rzonca, though, who opened the scoring on 14 minutes following a sweeping move by the visitors. Winger Kaine Felix sprinted down the left flank after exchanging passes with Scott Fenwick and his low cross to the far post was steered into the roof of the net by Rzonca from a tight angle. The Minstermen lost Robinson moments later, but Rzonca and Fenwick both went on to call Mariners keeper Oakley Heath-Drury into action before Jombo Larinwa missed the target with the hosts’ first chance on 24 minutes. Craig Disley could also only find Luke Simpson’s midriff after being sent clear on goal whilst, at the other end, Felix forced a near-post save, Clarke’s long-range attempt was deflected over and Ben Clappison went close with a rising half-volley. The North Lincolnshire outfit drew level, though, on 40 minutes when former Wrexham striker Jackson cut in from the left and fired firmly past Simpson from 15 yards. Sean McAllister then somehow contrived to clear the crossbar from four yards in front of an open goal following Scott Vernon’s square pass. After the break, Barber pulled up with City reshuffling and switching Clarke from midfield into the centre of defence. Jackson continued to look a threat and drove just off target from the edge of the box before Vernon played Venney in and he found Simpson’s bottom-right corner from ten yards on 62 minutes. Grimsby should have then had a third but Jackson rattled the bar with only Simpson to beat from eight yards. Vernon also shot past an advancing Simpson, but saw the ball trickle inches wide, while Jackson’s inventive lob brushed the top of the netting. For City, Fenwick fired on to the roof of the stand from the edge of the penalty area and Felix did the same after bursting through the right channel. But the Mariners made it 3-1 on 77 minutes when Hough’s downward header from Venney’s corner bounced past Simpson, who also denied Declan Slater late on with a fine save, while Aaron Brettel made two excellent late blocks to thwart the opposition.
    City: Simpson, Kemp, Robinson (Brettel, 20), Clappison, Barber (Haswell, 52), Clarke, Walton, Rzonca, Johnson (Kennedy, 65), Felix, Fenwick.
    NB: The Minstermen included five Academy players within their sixteen as Joe Kemp and Tyler Walton both started, with Joe Wilton, Aaron Brettell and Aaron Haswell named on the bench.
  4. Leeds Under 23 (Friendly) (H) W 4-2
    York City came from behind to defeat an experienced-looking Leeds United Under-23 side 4-2 on Friday afternoon. Former Crewe Alexandra midfielder Luke Murphy earned the visitors an early fourth-minute lead that was cancelled out by Clovis Kamdjo with just over half-an-hour of the contest played. Two minutes later Daniel Nti was on the end of a low cross to fire the Minstermen into the lead, although Scott Flinders soon kept out Romario Vieira before opposite number Ross Turnbull denied ex-Leeds striker Robbie McDaid. The visitors responded with Michael Taylor, Eoghan Stokes and Mallik Wilks going close following the interval, but it was their opponents extending their advantage when Scott Fenwick headed in Callum Rzonca's 71st minute free-kick. With four minutes remaining substitute Billy Whitehouse delivered for Jack McKay to reduce the deficit before York's Shaun Rooney crossed for Rzonca to ensure them a victory.
    As reported by the Leeds United website. York City 4 (Kamdjo 33, Nti 35, Fenwick 71 Rzonca 88) Leeds United 2 (Murphy 4, J. Mckay 86) Jason Blunt’s Under 23s suffered defeat at York City in a friendly, coming up against the majority of the National League’s first team. United who defeated Nottingham Forest and recorded a comprehensive friendly win on Tuesday against Wigan Athletic got off to a fine start when Mallik Wilks showed great strength to tee up Luke Murphy on the edge of the box and his curling effort found the back of the net. The hosts nearly got back into the match soon after, Charlie Cooper tested United stopper Ross Turnbull from range, forcing him into a good save. Yan Klukowski was next to go close for City, his header at a corner went just inches wide of the right post. York’s pressure eventually told and Clovis Kamdjo equalised in the 33rd minute. The defender charged his way into the penalty area before slotting the ball home into the bottom right corner. Two minutes later the home side were in front, striker Daniel Nti finished off Alex Whittle’s low cross superbly. Romario Vieira tried his luck from range to get United a leveller before the break, but he couldn’t get the better of York goalkeeper Scott Flinders.
    Half Time: York City 2-1 Leeds United
    York rung the changes at the break and Leeds almost took advantage of their slow start with Michael Taylor firing just over. Wilks then did really well holding the ball up again, this time he teed up Eoghan Stokes, but the midfielder couldn’t find the target. United striker Wilks was proving to be a real handful and went close to equalising in the 64th minute, he powered into the penalty area but could only find the side netting. The chances Leeds missed were punished in the 71st minute at another set piece, Callum Rzonca delivered a fine free-kick and Scott Fenwick headed home. Tom Pearce went close at a Leeds set piece, his free-kick from the edge of the area was just off target. Jack McKay pulled a goal back with four minutes remaining to give Leeds hope, Billy Whitehouse made a great run down the wing before entering the penalty area, he slid the ball to the United striker who provided an exquisite finish. However United’s hopes of a dream finish were dashed two minutes later when Rzonca finished a low cross from Shaun Rooney.
    Full Time: York City 4-2 Leeds United
    Leeds United XI: Turnbull, M. Taylor, Downing, Diagouraga, P. McKay, Vann, Murphy, Romario Vieira, J. McKay, Stokes, Wilks. Subs all used: Haidara, Whitehouse, Pearce, Purver.
  5. Mansfield (League) (H) W 3-0
    YORK City’s second string recorded a comfortable 3-0 victory over their Mansfield Town counterparts.
    A Scott Fenwick brace either side of the break and late Alex Bruton effort was enough to claim all three points from the Central League clash. The final score was a fair reflection following a powerful display from the experienced hosts who limited the visitors to very few chances. On a cold afternoon at the Wigginton Road Training Ground it was in fact the Stags who made the brighter start and created the first opportunity of the contest as Joe Fitzpatrick curled a 25-year free-kick wide of goal. City soon found their rhythm and after Matty Dixon struck the far post in the 13th minute following Noah Jackson’s left wing cross, they took the lead 10 minutes later. Callum Rzonca’s blocked shot ricocheted into the path of an unmarked Fenwick who coolly fired in from 12 yards in the 23rd minute. Despite the deadlock being broken midway through the first period, it proved to be the last meaningful effort at goal as the ball remained congested in midfield with little creative nous to unlock either defence. The second half was in stark contrast to the first with a hatful of chances created, primarily by the hosts as they looked to drive home their superior experience and fitness levels. The lively Rzonca went close inside four minutes of the restart as he surged down the left before cutting in on his right foot and curling just wide of the far post, before Dixon saw a deflected effort from 18 yards fly narrowly off target. Pressure on the visiting goal paid off in the 53rd minute when that man Rzonca powered down the left and crossed to Fenwick who latched onto the ball and drilled into the net off the underside of the crossbar. The Minstermen retained control of proceedings throughout and after striker Richard Brodie volleyed over from Sean Newton’s cross, the 29-year-old went agonisingly close to making it three, as he just failed to apply a finishing touch to Fenwick’s delivery from the right. Despite a flurry of substitutions from the hosts as the game entered the final quarter, it didn’t impact on their play as Shaun Rooney and Newton both fired efforts just off target from distance, before Rzonca’s effort on the edge-of-the-area was easily gathered by the visiting ‘keeper Adam Masson. With 11 minutes left to play, second-year scholar Bruton made an immediate impact from the bench when his weaving run and shot from the left squirmed under Masson at his near post to extend City's lead to three. In the final exchanges substitute Kaine Felix drilled just wide after surging through on goal, before Adriel George forced the rather unused Kyle Letheren into a smart save in the final minute as the former Dundee ‘keeper got down low to his right to deny the attacker from distance.
    York City: Kyle Letheren, Shaun Rooney, Noah Jackson, Jack Higgins, Ben Clappison, Sean Newton, Matty Dixon (Tyler Walton 63), Trialist (Josh Rogerson), Richard Brodie (Kaine Felix 75), Scott Fenwick (Alex Bruton 75), Callum Rzonca. Unused: Luke Simpson
    Mansfield Town: Adam Massan, Lewis Collins, Henri Wilder, Joe Fitzpatrick, Mohamed Kamara, Kane Baldwin, Jason Law, Cameron Healey, Tyler Blake, Adriel George, Louis Danquah. Subs: Teddy Bloor, Drew Ricketts, Devante Reittie, Nyle Blake, Morgan Ratcliffe
    NB: Triallist was Luke Woodland
  6. Rotherham (League) (A (Roundwood Sports Complex)) W 2-0
    Headers from Kaine Felix and Scott Fenwick saw York City reserves comfortably beat an inexperienced Rotherham side 2-0 to claim a third win out of five games in this season’s Central League. The visitors, captained by Jack Higgins at the Millers’ training ground, included eight players with first-team experience and two unnamed trialist defenders, who manager Gary Mills will not be pursuing any interest in. City’s starting XI was completed by first-year scholar Noah Jackson at left-wing back as the team played the same 3-4-3 formation that Mills employed during Saturday’s 1-1 at Eastleigh with Felix operating as the central striker and Ben Clappison featuring in midfield. Felix had two early chances for the visitors, firing at Millers keeper Laurence Bilboe from 15 yards and then slicing wide from a similar distance after Matty Dixon’s through ball. At the other end, Ben Wiles, Lewis Murr and Mason Warren failed to trouble Luke Simpson with hopeful attempts before Felix found the target on the half-hour mark, stooping well to head in a firm Daniel Nti cross from the right. The City trialist, wearing number six, went on to lift a close-range effort over before his counterpart, with the number-five shirt, saw his afternoon end prematurely following a clash of heads with Rotherham striker Akeel Francis. Wiles went on to drag a long-range drive wide and headed narrowly over from Joshua Kayode’s right-wing cross. But the Minstermen doubled their advantage on the stroke of half-time when Nti raided down the flank again and, despite Felix fluffing his chance of a second goal, he kept his composure and stayed on his feet after a meaty challenge to drill in a cross that was headed in at the far post from a couple of yards by Fenwick. After the break, sub Tyler Walton saw a rising, edge-of-the-box drive gathered by Bilboe. Fellow replacement Alex Bruton and Dixon were also denied following a fine double save from Bilboe, although the latter should have snaffled up his chance. Rotherham rarely threatened in the second period on a quiet, although sub Prince Mamboti Mvumbi shot wide from 15 yards. Simpson was also tested late on after his miscued clearance, during a game in which his kicking had been impressive otherwise, saw Warren try his luck from the edge of the box.
    City: Simpson; Trialist (Rogerson, 37), Higgins, Trialist; Rooney (Walton, 52), Clappison, Dixon, Jackson; Nti (Bruton, 54), Felix, Fenwick.
    Rotherham United: Laurence Bilboe, Deegan Atherton, Akeem Hinds, Lewis Murr, Fabian Bailey, Tom Rose, Reece McGinley, Mason Warren, Akeel Francis, Ben Wiles, Joshua Kayode. Subs: George McMahon, Tom McGuire, Prince Mamboti-Mvumbi, Sam Martin, Suleman Naeem.
    York City: Luke Simpson, Shaun Rooney (Tyler Walton 55), Noah Jackson, Jack Higgins, Trialist A (Josh Rogerson 36), Trialist B, Ben Clappison, Matty Dixon, Daniel Nti (Alex Bruton 57), Scott Fenwick, Kaine Felix. Unused: Joe Wilton, Sam Fielding.
    Gary Mills did not pursue his interest in the 2 triallists.
  7. Rotherham (League) (H) L 0-1
    A York City reserve team, featuring ten players in the starting XI with first-team experience, went down 1-0 at home to Rotherham in the Central League. Youth-team defender Josh Rogerson was the only City player without a senior appearance to his name on duty at the club’s Wigginton Road training ground, with teenage sub Alex Bruton having also featured in the National League this season. Missed chances cost the hosts, though, as Rotherham defender Fabian Bailey grabbed the game’s only goal in the second half. City’s lined up in a 3-5-2 system that mirrored Bootham Crescent chief Gary Mills’ current favoured formation, although a number of players filled unfamiliar roles with midfielders Tyler Walton and Luke Woodland in the back three. Striker Scott Fenwick was also employed in midfield with attackers Daniel Nti and Callum Rzonca operating as wing-backs. The Championship visitors, meanwhile, included four players with senior experience. Ex-Rangers centre-back Kirk Broadfoot completed 45 minutes on his return from injury having been sidelined since August, whilst on-loan Brighton midfielder Jake Forster-Caskey – the son of City football consultant Darren – was given an hour, as was Tunisian defender Aimen Belaid Midfielder Mason Warren, with one Capital One Cup outing to his name, featured for the duration. City made the early running on a foggy afternoon with Jake Charles forcing a near-post save and Fenwick lofting a 15-yard shot over before sending in a left-wing cross that saw Aidan Connolly sidefoot wide from seven yards. At the other end, Jerry Yates raced on to a Reece McGinley through ball, but Luke Simpson was quick out of goal to deny him. Kuda Muskwe’s header, meanwhile, lacked the power to trouble Simpson. Striker Robbie McDaid then saw an edge-of-the-box effort comfortably gathered by Laurence Bilboe, before Yates shot wide from 15 yards after Rzonca had lost possession. On the stroke of half-time, McDaid latched on to a long ball out of defence and outstripped Broadfoot for pace but dragged his 20-yard attempt across the face of goal. After the break, Muskwe went close twice to breaking the deadlock – seeing a close-range attempt deflected wide before forcing Simpson into a flying save from ten yards. Connolly, meanwhile, drilled over from 20 yards before Charles had two great opportunities in quick succession to put the hosts in front. First, he curled high and wide after being played through on goal by Fenwick and, then, his downward header bounced off target from seven yards with the goal at his mercy following Rzonca’s left-wing cross. Moments later, Warren’s curling 74th-minute free kick hit the underside of City’s bar and Bailey pounced from a couple of yards to force in the rebound. Further City chances went begging, though, with Woodland heading over from Nti’s right-wing free kick and, after Rzonca fired wide from 25 yards, McDaid snatched at an 82nd-minute opportunity having been released through on goal by Bruton, following the latter’s positive forward burst. Rotherham might have extended their lead with Yates, McGinley and Muskwe going close late on, while the last shot of the afternoon saw Woodland call Bilboe into action from 20 yards.
    City: Simpson; Walton, Woodland, Rogerson; Nti, Dixon, Fenwick, Connolly (Bruton, 76), Rzonca; Charles, McDaid.
    Rotherham United: Bilboe, Bailey, Broadfoot (Saxton 46), Belaid (Naem 58), Murr, Wilson, Warren, Forster-Caskey (Wiles 58), McGinley (Kayode 89), Yates, Muskwe . Subs (unused): Hinds
  8. Whitby (NRSC QF) (A) L 1-3
    A STRONG York City side crashed out of the North Riding County FA Senior Cup with a woeful display, falling to a 3-1 defeat against Whitby Town last night, writes Paul Connolly. Steve Torpey took charge of the Minstermen for the trip to the coast, making 11 changes to the starting XI that drew at Dover, with Vadaine Oliver returning to the side. It was the hosts who started the game the brighter and led within five minutes. David Carson played Callum Martin into space on the right. The wing-back lofted a ball to the penalty spot where it was met by Steven Snaith, who lost his man to head home from close range. The goal stunned the visitors, who took their time mustering a response. Just before the 20 minute mark, Daniel Nti forced a corner. The resultant delivery was met by Luke Woodland, whose powerful header forced a reaction save from Shane Bland. Bland’s fine form continued soon after. Callum Rzonca picked up the ball 25 yards from goal and fired a rasping effort goalwards, but the stopper was equal to it, pushing it wide. City started the second half as poorly as they did the first, and were two goals down after five minutes. Martin sent an inswinging corner to the six-yard box, where the visitors’ defence looked all at sea, allowing centre-half Luke Bythway to tap home with ease. The Minstermen responded in a better fashion this time, and cut Whitby’s lead within a minute. Oliver forced a corner with some good footwork before meeting the resultant delivery, shaking off his man and sending a bullet header past Bland with ease. Whitby could have regained their two-goal cushion just two minutes later. Martin’s free-kick found David McTiernan in acres of space, but he couldn’t guide his header goalwards. Chris Hardy’s men, who sit fourth in the Evo-Stik northern premier division, showed their promotion credentials with a goal worthy of winning any game. Carson picked out Dale Hopson from deep in his own half, before continuing his run. Hopson beat his man, before sending the ball into the path of the onrushing Carson, who fired the ball into the top corner, one-on-one. City pushed Whitby late on, looking for a route back into the game but couldn’t beat gloveman Bland who first plucked Nti’s free-kick from the top corner before saving with his feet from Scott Fenwick’s low drive, to ensure Whitby’s progression into the semi-final.
    Whitby Town: Bland, Martin, McWilliams (Bythway ’39), Weledji, Bullock, Robinson, Gell, McTiernan, Hopson (Roberts ‘87), Snaith (C), Carson. Subs not used: Fryatt, Hume, Dixon (GK).
    York City: Simpson, Walton, Brettel, Galbraith (Rogerson ’70), Woodland, Dixon, Rzonca (Bruton ‘70), Fenwick (C), Oliver, McDaid (Jackson ‘80), Nti. Subs not used: Whitley (GK).
    Attendance: 328
    Referee: Matthew Dicicco (Middlesbrough)
  9. MANSFIELD (League) (A (Kirklington Road, Rainworth Miners Welfare)) L2-4
    LATE Aaron Haswell and Ryan Edmondson goals could not save a youthful York City reserves (3rd in the table) side losing 4-2 at Central League hosts Mansfield. A 12-minute, first-half hat-trick from Tyler Blake had earlier put the Stags in the ascendancy after Kieran Harrison had opened the scoring. But the visitors, who only fielded one senior professional in Matty Dixon, improved after the break with sub Haswell and 15-year-old schoolboy Edmondson hitting the target at Rainworth Miners Welfare’s ground. Both goals were set up by Sam Fielding who, along with fellow teenage midfielder Tyler Walton and Dixon, was one of just three City players on duty with first-team experience. Mansfield only had one player, though, in Zayn Hakeem with any professional exposure and that only amounted to a 14-minute substitute outing in the Capital One Cup against Rotherham earlier this season. Home winger Lewis Collins had the first two chances of the afternoon, dragging wide from 20 yards before drilling a free kick into the away wall. Harrison Biggins rattled the crossbar, meanwhile, following a sharp shot on the turn, before Cameron Healey’s close-range header forced a good reflex, finger-tip save from Ryan Whitley. There was brief respite for City when the ball sat up nicely for lone striker Edmondson and his firm angled volley 15 yards from goal was parried away by Stags keeper Xavier Sundby before Mansfield opened the scoring on the quarter-hour mark. An Adriel George corner from the left found its way to Harrison, whose header looped over Whitley and under his crossbar. George went on to volley out of the ground from close to the penalty spot, before Blake claimed his first goal on 27 minutes, pouncing from ten yards after Healey had headed against the bar. On the half-hour mark, he was on target again, bundling in despite Zak Lawrence’s attempts to clear after George had ridden a Whitley challenge when he came out of his goal to smother. Blake went on to complete his treble nine minutes later, taking one touch to collect Hakeem’s through ball without breaking his stride and then firing a low 12-yard drive past Whitley. City switched to a back three for the second period and played with more purpose from the restart. Brad Freer saw a 51st minute edge-of-the-box effort deflected off target, while Edmondson shot wide of the near post after breaking through the right channel on the counter attack. Defender Aaron Brettel also headed over from six yards. Edmondson then had the ball in the net just part the hour, but was flagged offside in a marginal decision after Josh Rogerson and Harry Thompson had both won 50-50 challenges, allowing Fielding to charge forward and release the City target man. On 72 minutes, Fielding’s powerful 20-yard drive was beaten away by Sundby, who kept out Edmondson’s follow-up effort, before Freer blazed over with a third attempt. At the other end, Whitley was equal to a low ten-yard Biggins drive and a late Tyler Johal shot. Haswell grabbed an 86th-minute reply when he raced on to Fielding’s perfectly-weighted through ball and produced a composed finish to find Sundby’s bottom-left corner. Three minutes later, Edmondson reduced the arrears further, when his downward header beat Sundby from Fielding’s well-delivered, left-wing free kick. The two late goals from the Minstermen made for an edge-of-the-seat final few moments, but the Stags hung on to their two-goal cushion to see out another fine victory.
    Mansfield Town Reserves: Sundby, Slone, Danquah, Healey, K. Harrison, Brewitt, Lewis Collins, Biggins, T. Blake (Johal 80), Hakeem (Law 68), George
    subs (unused): Wilson, Browne, Bilson
    Goals: Harrison (15), Blake (26, 29, 38)
    York City Reserves: Ryan Whitley, Joe Kemp, Zak Lawrence (Harry Thompson 46), Matty Dixon, Aaron Brettel, Josh Rogerson, Brad Freer (Aaron Haswell 77), Tyler Walton, Ryan Edmondson, Sam Fielding, Noah Jackson
    Subs (unused): Wilton, Berry, McNaughton
    Goals: Haswell (86), Edmondson (89).
  10. CHESTERFIELD (League) (A (Proact Stadium)) L0-2
    A YOUTHTHFUL York City reserves side went down 2-0 to Chesterfield at the Proact Stadium. Having scored on his youth-team debut at the weekend, Gabby McGill – the son of City chairman Jason – started the Central League match alongside fellow under-16 schoolboy Ryan Edmondson in attack, while Sam Fielding and Alex Bruton were the only visiting players with first-team experience in an all-teenage line-up. First-half goals from Joel Phillips and Joe Rowley secured victory for Chesterfield, whose right-back Iffy Ofoegbu, at 17, was the only member of the hosts’ side with senior appearances to his name, having played twice in the Checkatrade Trophy this term. The Spireites forged ahead after just 53 seconds when Ofoegbu’s excellent right-wing cross was headed past Ryan Whitley by Phillips. Whitley was then at full stretch to keep out Charlie Wakefield’s firm 15-yard drive and Owen Darwent curled wide from the edge of the box. At the other end, Josh Rogerson’s header from a Fielding corner was punched away by home keeper Dylan Parkin. But Rowley went on to head narrowly wide after a curling Jack Brownell free kick and Whitley was forced into a fine reflex save from Ofoegbu’s well-struck volley, before Chesterfield doubled their lead on 20 minutes. Phillips found Rowley unmarked in the box with his head and he beat an exposed Whitley from eight yards. For City, McGill’s 25-yard angled shot lacked the power to trouble Parkin and Aaron Brettell headed over from Fielding’s free kick. After a cross from the right by McGill was cleared to the edge of the box, Fielding also clipped the crossbar in first-half stoppage time. In the second half, Edmondson lifted a 15-yard half-volley over following a header by McGill, who went on to force Parkin into a smart save from the edge of the box. Just past the hour, Robbie Foster brushed the sidenetting with a deflected close-range attempt for Chesterfield, while Fielding drove wide with a highly-ambitious, 40-yard effort. Sub Brad Freer also shot straight at Parkin from the edge of the box and Harry Thompson sliced wide from the same range. Home midfielder Brownell, meanwhile, drove over from 20 yards at the end of a strong run as the game petered out.
    York City: Whitley, Kemp, Jackson, Fielding, Rogerson (Lawrence, 46), Brettell (Freer, 46), Bruton, Thompson, Edmondson (Berry, 77), McGill (McNaughton, 77), Haswell
    Subs (unused): Wilton
  11. HARTLEPOOL (League) (H (Bootham Crescent)) L1-2
    YORK City's Reserve side fell to a 2-1 defeat against their Hartlepool United counterparts at Bootham Crescent on Tuesday afternoon. The game is being held at Bootham Crescent due to the heavy condition of the Wiggington Road training ground - with free entry to all supporters. Hartlepool, currently joint top of the Central League East Division alongside Grimsby Town with third placed York six points behind. ALEX Bruton scored York City reserves’ consolation in a 2-1 home defeat to Hartlepool. After a first period of precious few chances, the teenage winger cancelled out Jake Orrell’s second-half opener for the visitors, but Connor Simpson went on to secure victory for the north east outfit. For their penultimate Central League fixture, City included seven players with first-team experience in their starting line-up – Luke Simpson, Shaun Rooney, Danny Holmes, Sam Fielding, Scott Fenwick, Daniel Nti and Aidan Connolly – whilst an eighth in Bruton was named on the bench and new signing Derwin Martina wore the club’s colours for the first time. City's strong second string also started with four Youth Team players in Josh Rogerson, Noah Jackson, Sam Fielding and Ryan Edmondson. The visitors also fielded six players in their first XI that have made senior outings for the Sky Bet League Two team this term. The Minstermen had the first chance of the game with Aidan Connolly laying off for Danny Holmes, but his shot from distance sailed over the bar. Neither side were able to assert any kind of dominance on proceedings to start with, a shot from Jake Orrell from the edge of the area was comfortably saved by City keeper Luke Simpson low to his left. A clever lofted ball from Scott Fenwick over the top of the Hartlepool defence was chased down by Daniel Nti, only for the Triallist goalkeeper to come out of his area and bravely head clear, taking a blow to his head in the process. The deadlock was broken just under 10 minutes into the second half, with a through-ball catching the City defence unawares with Jake Orrell running through on goal, slotting in from 12 yards, despite an attempted clearance by Fielding. Despite this setback, City continued pressing and were soon rewarded with the equaliser. Danny Holmes was played through on the right hand side, whipping a cross to the penalty spot and substitute Alex Bruton with a free header into the bottom corner. The Minstermen almost took the lead a couple of minutes afterwards as well, with Under-16 striker Gabriel McGill, who has just signed a two-year scholarship for next season with York City, heading from a corner to test the gloves of the Hartlepool goalkeeper. City were not on level terms for long, though, and the visitors re-took the lead after City's defence were split open by through-ball, leaving substitute Connor Simpson one-on-one with Luke Simpson in the City goal, and calmly finished from 18 yards with his first touches of the game to give the Pools the lead once more. The Minstermen showed resilience to keep applying pressure to the final whistle, however, with Sam Fielding seeing the ball bounce out to him from a corner, and he fizzed an effort just wide of the post in the closest City came to an equaliser.
    YORK CITY - 1 (Bruton, 68')
    HARTLEPOOL UNITED - 2 (J Orrell, 55'; Simpson, 74')
    York City: Simpson, Rooney, Jackson, Holmes, Fielding, Rogerson, Martina (Freer, 81'), Fenwick (c), Edmondson (McGill, 63'), Nti, Connolly (Bruton, 55').
    Substitutes: Haswell, Whitley, Freer, McGill, Bruton.
    Hartlepool United: Triallist, Nearney, Martin, Green (L Orrell, 68'), Pollock, Fielding, Smith (Simpson, 74'), Elliott, J Orrell (Blackford, 55'), Hawkes, Trialist (Rodney, 46').
    Substitutes: Blackford, Catterick, Simpson, L Orrell, Rodney.

    NB Curacao international Derwin Martina was released by City immediately after the game after less than a week at the club. Martina played 82 minutes of the 2-1 Central League home defeat to Hartlepool. He was an unnamed substitute for Saturday’s 3-1 first-team victory over Eastleigh but has left North Yorkshire with boss Gary Mills declining to elaborate on the reasons behind his departure. Martina was at fault for Hartlepool’s winning goal in the second-string fixture at Bootham Crescent and, by his own admission, found the going tough, saying afterwards: “It was really hard for me. I had to take in a lot of information – too much new information. In Holland, we always play 4-3-3 and I am a right back, but we played 5-2-3 and it was a new position for me, so I had to do new things with and without the ball.”
  12. GRIMSBY (League) (H) D0-0
    A youthful York City Reserves held new Central League North East champions Grimsby Town Reserves, featuring five first-team professionals, to a scoreless draw at Wiggington Road on Tuesday afternoon. Transfer-listed winger Callum Rzonca was the only non-teenage player in City’s starting XI against a Mariners outfit, whose experienced quintet of Josh Gowling (399), James Berrett (351), Sean McAllister (229), Adi Yussuf (107) and Tom Bolarinwa (35) boasted a combined total of 1,121 appearances at senior level. In contrast, Rzonca has made a dozen outings for the Minstermen’s first team while, from his team-mates for the Wigginton Road fixture, Sam Fielding has managed two starts and Tyler Walton and Alex Bruton a substitute outing apiece. Flynn McNaughton had the best chances of the game for the hosts, being denied on a number of occasions by the visiting shot stopper, but it was Callum Rzonca at right wing-back who was causing the early threats down the wing. But, when a cross from the other flank worked its way into the box, the 20-year-old was unable to get his head to the ball. McNaughton then had an effort blocked before Alex Bruton was then denied by number one Oakley Heath-Drury at the near post with Grimsby forward Akeem Rose then heading over a golden opportunity to hand his side the lead. The City defence was doing well to contain a Grimsby team containing the likes of Adi Yussuf and Sean McAllister with Harry Thompson going close for Steve Torpey’s side on a couple of occasion from excellent set piece deliveries courtesy of Sam Fielding. In the last 10 minutes of the half, the game turned into a midfield battle with neither side capable of creating clear cut chances but that changed in the second 45 with McNaughton curling an effort just beyond Heath-Drury’s post and another smart Thompson header which fell into the arms of the goalkeeper. Grimsby then began turning the screw with Josh Rogerson denying the Lincolnshire side with a superb block on the goal line before a defensive mix up saw Grimsby shoot just wide of the goal. With 20 minutes remaining, McNaughton got everything right bar finding the back of the net once more as his close range effort went out for a corner which was headed over by Aaron Brettell. Grimsby continued to threaten on the counter attack and after winning a free kick close to goal, opted to go for it with Ryan Whitley on hand to knock the ball over the bar. A well worked corner sent low to the edge of the box was then unfortunate not to result in something more for the endeavour as City’s confidence showed under the increasingly rising temperatures. However, it was the linesman’s flag which denied Grimsby the three points as the ball went through a sea of players and into the back of the net, resulting in a stalemate which was the least the youthful City side deserved.
    York City: Whitley, Rzonca, Jackson, Fielding, Rogerson, Brettell, Thompson, Walton (C), McNaughton, Haswell, Bruton.
    Grimsby Town: Heath-Drury, McMillan, Davis, Gowling, Keeble, Bolavinwa, McAllister, Sawyer, Berrett (C), Yussuf, Rose.
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