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2017/8 Review

Who knew what 2017/8 would bring. A journey into the unknown. After 2 seasons of relegation and upheaval, what could top it?

The Season - Take 1

2017/8 turned out to be what no one imagined but what everyone expected.

Following the trend of recent seasons, we had a managerial casualty in early autumn and suffered the perennial malaise of struggling to break down and beat teams with much lesser resources than our own.

Record season ticket sales boded well. The support was there. 2 away wins in the first week seemed to set us on our way. Quickly, early season promise gave way to the realities of the season. Perhaps, in hindsight it had been a mistake to retain Gary Mills. His treatment in May didn't bode well. Given an ultimatum to stay with City, he signed and guided us to Wembley success in May 2017. Was the cast die following his shabby treatment in May? Did Mills really have the motivation for a long hard season?

Martin Gray replaced him and set about re-building the squad. A couple of decent signings were outweighed by other signings, proving that even with experience of this level, doesn’t always make you a good judge players.

Parkin held his form, but largely other members of the Wembley team struggled to reach the same heights again (and given we’d been relegated, the heights weren’t very high).

Pressure on Jason McGill and Jackie McNamara built up and ended with McGill putting the club up for sale.

The run up to the SGM and the no vote saw much acrimonious debate which continued post the vote and into the close season, pulling the club apart.

Whatever the rights and wrongs, the York City Supporters Trust has been a largely dormant body for many years. The presence of a strong benefactor has possibly negated its main purpose in life. However, since resurrected in 2016, it has said a lot but achieved very little to date.

McGill’s sale decision saw City’s form plummet, what looked like a top 7 play off place turned into an 11th place finish as City gained just 2 points from the last 7 games. This coincided with Parkin's injury (City tried to sign a young striker on loan before the transfer deadline but thr deal fell through as the club and player didn't fancy dropping down to the lowest rung of the professional game). Meanwhile Alex Kemptser and Alex Pattison both endured frustrating ends to the season as a series of niggling injuries took their toil, maybe as a consequence of running a smaller squad and the need to get players back onto the pitch as quickly as possible.

For 2018/9, with 11 players already contracted, including 9 many would consider to be senior members of the first team squad, contract extensions offered to 2 pros and first pro contracts offered to 3 scholars, one could imagine, that the 2018/9 squad is already largely assembled.

Given the end of the McGill era funding, it must be expected that we run with a much leaner squad next season. It remains to be seen whether Gray can move on some of the already contracted squad to freshen it up. However, given on pitch performance and assumed wages, it won’t be easy. We weren't exactly inundated with offers for Simon Heslop when he was placed on the transfer list after Martin Gray's arrival.

With potentially 5 teenagers on professional contracts, that might be the way forward. For that, you must discount recent experience. Godfrey, Fielding, McGill and Edmondson were 4 scholars who all moved in the Championship clubs before making a real impact on our first team. Last summer, Sam Fielding joined Barnsley rather than signing his first pro contract with York. What is to stop Flynn McNaughton signing for the likes of Doncaster? Again, harking back to history, after previous relegations, the quickest City have gained promotion is 4 years, so don’t hold your breathe.

The Season - Take 2

The following is taken from Dave Flett's article in the Yorkpress on May 4th 2018.

You don’t see many bookmakers wearing bicycle clips, or so goes the old saying, aimed at highlighting the odds-setting industry’s ability to take money off hopeful punters. As a consequence, when York City were relegated to the regionalised realms of English football’s sixth tier, the club’s status and resources led to them being swiftly installed as second-favourites just behind Salford who, in contrast to their historically superior rivals, were on an upward trajectory.

The short price seemed justified and the hope was that Gary Mills’ greater managerial experience at non-League level would tip the scales in City’s favour during any two-horse race for the title. Hindsight, of course, tends to distort such hazy recollections, but there was genuine reason to believe that the Minstermen, who would be plying their trade at the lowest level in the club’s history, could start their climb back to footballing respectability.

Despite ultimately falling short in the final run-in during 2016/17, Mills’ settled squad – the majority of whom had been retained - had shown top-ten form since the turn of the year in the division above and defeated Lincoln and Macclesfield on the way to lifting the FA Trophy at Wembley. Anybody know how those two clubs are getting on now?

Once the action started, it was then easy to dismiss the opening-day 1-0 home defeat to Telford as a blip, especially when, seven days later, eventual play-off qualifiers Bradford Park Avenue looked ridiculously bad during a 5-0 away victory.

Given what followed, that result now looks like the one example of City’s full-time status being made to count against an Avenue side who would improve once the disadvantage of not benefitting from a comprehensive pre-season lessened.

August optimism soon dissipated as largely the same group of players that had disposed of sixth-tier teams such as Worcester, Nuneaton and Brackley in the Trophy during the previous season were not playing with the same verve, confidence or desire.

Despite winning 2-1 at FA Cup hosts Salford a fortnight earlier, Mills was dismissed following a defeat in the same competition to north-east upstarts South Shields, having also lost the “El Crapico” bragging rights during the first-ever “Tea-Shop derby” against Harrogate Town in between.

Still, the haste with which Mills was sent packing by the end of September came in marked contrast to the patience shown his hapless predecessor Jackie McNamara who, despite all insurmountable evidence pointing to a much earlier removal from his position, was eventually left to decide his own fate before stepping down.

An apparent contract stand-off between Mills and the club at the end of the previous season had hinted at a strained relationship between manager and chairman, who had not parted amicably at the end of the ex-Tamworth chief’s first spell in charge of the club.

Mills could have been more diplomatic perhaps in his position when repeatedly referring to the “absolute mess” he inherited, given McNamara was still at the club and owner Jason McGill’s obvious unstinting loyalty to the ex-Scotland international.

But nobody could argue Mills’ claims were not justified and they only exposed the unworkable folly of retaining City’s worst-ever manager in employment at Bootham Crescent after he handed over the reins.

The criticism from Mills can only have led to resentment from McNamara and it was pretty unedifying, while by now familiarly surreal, when the former Celtic captain, who barely uttered a word in public both before and thereafter during his time as chief executive, oversaw the press conference to pass comment on Mills’ shortcomings as manager.

Amid this environment, Martin Gray was poached from Darlington and, given his success with the Durham outfit, the appointment seemed a sensible one, coupled with the arrival of former Doncaster Rovers’ two-time promotion winner Dave Penney as sporting director.

The ex-Sunderland chief was, though, inheriting a squad of players that, in several cases, had passed up the opportunity to stay in the division above and were not now living the dream of bouncing back in a blaze of glory at the first attempt that they had been sold by Mills and had probably believed in, given their close bond with the former European Cup winner.

Former captain Simon Heslop was the first to suggest he wanted out, although he would return to the fold after briefly being farmed out to Eastleigh. Alex Whittle also moved on to Forest Green, having been persuaded to commit to the Minstermen in the summer, after initially suggesting to Mills that he was also ready to jump ship.

What might have been in the minds of others reflecting on the impact on their careers of the unexpected struggles was kept to themselves.

Talismanic veteran Jon Parkin seemed typically undistracted, though, with his prolific exploits the one constant throughout the upheaval, as he ended 2017 by setting a new post-War club record of 36 goals in a calendar year.

The 36-year-old’s form kept the team in the play-off shake-up and spearheaded a run of six straight wins post-Christmas, starting when he hit the club’s first hat-trick for eight seasons against the admittedly woeful North Ferriby on Boxing Day.

The consistency of that sequence would be lost though when, first, Parkin was suspended after being sent off during a humiliating 4-1 defeat at Curzon Ashton and, then, missed all but the last of the final eight games of the campaign when he needed knee surgery.

Nobody could fill Parkin’s considerable boots and, although much was made of coinciding injuries to Alex Kempster and Louis Almond, as very different players it is doubtful whether either would have filled the void caused by his absence and the timing of their problems only deflected slightly from the inadequacy as striking cover of recruited pair James Gray and Raul Correia.

Unthinkably, a club record was equalled as a Parkin-less City recorded four straight home defeats without scoring, going down to Harrogate (0-2), Nuneaton (0-1), ten-man Gainsborough (0-1) and FC United of Manchester (0-1).

Almost, equally as inconceivable, following a 2-2 home draw with Leamington, when the modest visitors earned a share of the spoils on 89 minutes, weirdly favourable results meant the Minstermen still harboured an outsiders’ hope of making the play-offs going into the final weekend at Brackley.

Seemingly symptomatic of the character of the side, that straw could not be clutched. Even when the three required results were going City’s way at half-time in Northamptonshire, which still meant victory could see the visitors gatecrash the play-offs via the back door, the game’s first goal was conceded just seven minutes into the second period.

The subsequent 2-0 loss was rendered irrelevant by eventual scores elsewhere, but the Brackley defeat appeared to confirm Gray’s belief that the squad did not possess the mental fortitude to take control of their own destiny, with just one point from a possible 18 taken during an awful April when as little as six would have secured a top-seven finish.

What toll off-pitch turmoil exacted during this period is uncertain, with McGill announcing his decision to step down as chairman in mid-March and to stop covering operating losses beyond the summer after Supporters Trust members voted against the proposal to turn his 75 per cent majority stake in the club to a 100 per cent shareholding.

Given that the deadline for invited parties to declare an interest in McGill’s shares has now passed, surely now is the time that the Malton-based businessman and the Trust work together and formulate some manner of shared vision on what the future should hold.

For the greater good of the football club and to give Bootham Crescent a dignified send off in its final season, rifts must be healed or, at least, pushed aside and some form of unity found, with an end to the he said/she said bickering.

Building that bridge and regaining the trust of the club’s fans could be the most important task of City’s recently-named board of Steve Kilmartin, Penney, Ian McAndrew and Richard Adams if more anguish on and off the pitch is to be avoided in 2018/19.

The Players

  1. Louis Almond Plagued by injuries and could not deliver on the early promise that saw him create every goal in the 5-0 August triumph at Bradford Park Avenue. Undoubted ability but, even before his fitness problems, previous boss Gary Mills was calling for a greater work ethic. Nevertheless, would have been interesting to see what he could have contributed if available all season Appearances: 14 (7); Goals: 2; Rating: 5/10

  2. Adam Bartlett Signed three months into the season from Gray's old club Darlington. Made a string of excellent saves during the months of January and February when he was the team's stand-out player. Competent in most areas of goalkeeping Appearances: 27 (0); Goals: 0; Rating: 7/10

  3. Hamza Bencherif Every National League North outfit boasts a big, physical centre-back, but City’s struggled to punch his weight. Decent in the air, but tackle count was low and he is still to net in more than 60 appearances for the club. Played more games than anybody else in the squad which, rather than a sign of his consistency, could be regarded as evidence of his greater culpability for the side’s struggles Appearances: 44 (0); Goals: 0; Rating: 4/10

  4. Connor Brown Walked a tightrope at times disciplinary wise, but rightly pointed out that, despite a yellow card count of 16 this season, he has never been sent off for two bookable offences. An energetic defender that most attackers don’t enjoy playing against, given his capacity to lay a reducer on the opposition. Sometimes, such rashness proved to be costly with the concession of free kicks in dangerous positions and, at Curzon Ashton, a penalty Appearances: 11 (0); Goals: 0; Rating: 5/10

  5. Jonny Burn Difficult to recall too many glaring errors at the back but might have imposed himself more on games. Offered a set-piece threat when deliveries were of the necessary quality. Generally reliable on the ball Appearances: 18 (3); Goals: 3; Rating: 5/10

  6. Aidan Connolly Match-winner on his day and the leading provider of assists but needed to stamp his authority on every game at sixth-tier level. Completely frozen out by Mills and, after earning a reprieve from Martin Gray, the ex-Sunderland midfielder also lost trust in the former Dundee United attacker during the final weeks of the campaign. At his best when linking up with Jon Parkin during the promising post-Christmas period, but could not forge a similar understanding with others when the former Championship campaigner was sidelined Appearances: 24 (8); Goals: 6; Rating: 5/10

  7. Raul Correia His bustling style looked useful early in his City spell following a loan move from Blackpool. A willingness to chase down lost causes got him his only goal when he charged down a goalkeeping clearance at Telford. But, he had little to fall back on when his work-rate levels dropped and could not make an impression against under-18 defences for the reserves during final weeks of the campaign Appearances: 6 (4); Goals: 1; Rating: 3/10

  8. Ryan Edmondson Looked completely lost when thrown on at the age of 16 during Gray’s first match in charge – the 1-0 victory over Brackley. Clearly advanced for his age physically. Moved on to Leeds, where reports suggest he has also prospered in the gentler environment of development football Appearances: 0 (1); Goals: 0; Rating: 5/10

  9. Kaine Felix Never stopped running but, quite often, the type of energy-sapping bursts that lacked the incision and intelligence to trouble teams. Rarely a physical match for uncompromising sixth-tier defences. Another attacker who was going to struggle to find the net too before being cut adrift to join Leamington, where he lasted until February. Appearances: 2 (9); Goals: 1. Rating: 4/10

  10. David Ferguson Showed promised during early outings following his October arrival from Darlington, looking the part as a potential goalscoring left-back, having netted four times for the Quakers in the first two months of the campaign. Seemed to lose a little of that attacking verve, though, as the weeks passed by. Defensive awareness could have been better too on occasions Appearances: 29 (2); Goals: 2; Rating: 5/10

  11. James Gray Toiled to little effect following his October arrival from Torquay. Subsequently loaned out to Tamworth but returned to finally end an interminable goal drought with a late winner against Southport. It offered little redemption, though, with his namesake manager admitting he was prevented from bringing him on as a substitute at Gainsborough due to the abuse he was receiving while warming-up from City supporters unhappy with the quality of his performances Appearances: 7 (13); Goals: 1; Rating: 3/10

  12. Simon Heslop Earned praise from Gray for his attitude during the miserable run-in to the end of the campaign. Other Bootham Crescent observers remain unconvinced and he is tarnished somewhat by his unavoidable association with the failures of the last two seasons. The quality of corners improved after he was forgiven and recalled to the team following his transfer request but must lift his performance level above average and forcefully demonstrate his past Football League credentials if he is to win over sceptical sections of the City fan base Appearances: 30 (0); Goals: 4; Rating: 4/10

  13. Clovis Kamdjo Total write-off of a season as he completed his comeback from cruciate and anterior ligament damage. Adrenalin saw him put himself about when given a brief substitute outing at Harrogate and was given a start on the final day at Brackley, where he won several defensive headers but looked off the pace. Impossible to tell on that slim evidence the toll such a serious injury will have taken Appearances: 1 (1); Goals: 0; Rating: 5/10

  14. Alex Kempster Burst on to the scene with an impressive goal-scoring substitute cameo during an otherwise dismal afternoon at Curzon Ashton. Given a buffeting by National League North defences thereafter. Progress was also hampered by a hamstring injury Appearances: 6 (2); Goals: 2; Rating: 5/10

  15. Josh Law A little surprising that only three players made more starts than the former Oldham utility man, given greater things were expected from somebody newly arrived from League One and his contributions over the campaign were not too memorable. Clearly comfortable on the ball, he didn’t always make his presence felt on the pitch for somebody with his experience. Given problems defensively sometimes when used at right back Appearances: 34 (3); Goals: 1; Rating: 5/10

  16. Gary Martin Had a little about him, providing the team with a goal and three assists during his brief stint, while filling time during the off-season in his European career. Then, acted like a berk by playing Sunday morning football and taunting manager Gray on social media. Swiftly shown the door Appearances: 4 (0); Goals: 1; Rating: 4/10

  17. Sean McAllister Arrived on loan from Grimsby, where he had been out of favour following a long-term injury. Consequently, never looked comfortable with the pace of the game at National League North level. Left after a month without making too many memorable contributions Appearances: 4 (0); Goals: 0; Rating: 4/10

  18. Flynn McNaughton Highlighted the deficiencies of senior professionals Gray and Correia when, as a second-year scholar, he displayed greater attacking movement and intelligence. Kept things relatively simple and always contributed during his three outings off the bench. Still raw but looks to have potential Appearances: 0 (3); Goals: 0; Rating: 6/10

  19. Adriano Moke Managed more starts than has been the case during most seasons in his career, but Gray is probably still none the wiser in terms of where best to position him on a football pitch. His goal and assist return should be better for a player of his technical ability. Off-pitch social media spat with supporters, which led to a fine, demonstrated surprising immaturity for a 28-year-old Appearances: 35 (5); Goals: 2; Rating: 5/10

  20. Amari Morgan-Smith Never found wanting for honest endeavour, which some players were following his January departure for Telford, the ex-Luton and Cheltenham forward, nevertheless, needed to offer more of a goal threat. The fellow attackers he left behind proved even less effective in that department though. As a consequence, probably a mistake to let him go, given the acquired alternatives Appearances: 23 (9); Goals: 5; Rating: 5/10

  21. Sam Muggleton Perhaps surprisingly, his monumental long throw did not prove as effective in National League North as it had done in the division above. With his chief “weapon” blunted, a lack of pace and fitness was exposed on the pitch. Loaned out to Scarborough, having failed to add to his one City start last season Appearances: 0 (8); Goals: 0; Rating: 4/10

  22. Sean Newton Weighed in with double figures in goals but nowhere near the same influence on the team that he had been during the second half of the previous campaign, when he looked to have the energy and desire to cover every blade of grass. Largely used in a central-midfield role by Gray, but probably still best suited to an attacking position on the left, where his crossing ability can hurt teams. Targeted for criticism by supporters at times, given their expectations of the captain Appearances: 43 (0); Goals: 10; Rating: 5/10

  23. Jon Parkin His one-touch finishing in the penalty box still belongs to a much higher level. Broke club records for most goals (36) in a calendar year (2017) and for scoring in consecutive games (eight). Team could not respond when he was lost to injury for all but last of final eight games, illustrating his importance as the team's talisman Appearances: 30 (2); Goals: 25; Rating: 8/10

  24. Dan Parslow Overlooked for selection for three months, before making an assured return to the team in March. Struggled a little to sustain that form through to the end of the campaign and, on occasions, given problems in the air against opposition target men. But, typically, of a man who has given City sterling service down the years, never looked to hide or shirk his responsibilities Appearances: 33 (7); Goals: 2; Rating: 5/10

  25. Alex Pattison Initially an exciting recruit when used as an attacking right-sided player in Gray’s 4-2-3-1 formation that impressed post-Christmas. Seemed to lose momentum, though, after returning to parent club Middlesbrough in the transfer window, hoping to secure a loan move in the Football League. Used more as an orthodox central midfielder in his second spell at Bootham Crescent and did not look as comfortable with that responsibility, before injury curtailed his progress Appearances: 13 (0); Goals: 0; Rating: 6/10

  26. Bailey Peacock-Farrell Powerful on-loan Leeds keeper who had a big kick. Didn’t look comfortable organising his back-line and perhaps a little intimidated coming into such an environment as a relatively untried youngster. Really struggled during the 3-2 defeat at Salford, where his decision-making was questionable, but has since made the breakthrough to the first team at Elland Road Appearances: 4 (0); Goals: 0; Rating: 5/10

  27. Michael Rankine Nearest City possessed to a like-for-like physical alternative to Parkin and, briefly, proved effective in that role, spearheading the attack during an unbeaten run of eight points from a possible 12 when the main man was sidelined early in the season. Didn’t look fully fit following a spell in part-time football but remained a presence on the pitch and unsettled opposition defences. Health issues, however, meant he would play no part from early-September onwards Appearances: 5 (3); Goals: 2; Rating: 5/10

  28. Daniel Rowe Grabbed a goal on his debut against Tamworth, but his City career rapidly went backwards. Employed in a midfield anchoring role and, then at right back, but struggled to lay a tackle on opponents. Given a particularly torrid time by Blyth’s Robbie Dale before Christmas and played no part at all from January onwards despite being contracted until the end of next season Appearances: 8 (4); Goals: 1; Rating: 3/10

  29. Luke Simpson Given his one chance in 2-1 victory over Brackley but has been overlooked now by three consecutive managers. Didn’t enhances his prospects with mistakes for the reserves. Up-and-coming youngster Ryan Whitley was preferred during later second-string fixtures Appearances: 1 (0); Goals: 0; Rating: 4/10

  30. Connor Smith illing performer who never let the team down for effort. As honestly identified by himself, though, his goal return remains low for an attacking player. Nearest City had to an out-and-out winger in the squad and possibly suffered from both Mills and Gray’s decision not to field a 4-4-2 formation Appearances: 6 (16); Goals: 1; Rating: 5/10

  31. Vinnie Steels Given his chance at the tender age of 16 in the most difficult of circumstances but coped in such an environment and offered moments of excitement, with his ability to beat players and deliver crosses. Another throw-back to the era of old-fashioned wingers and it is to be hoped that the defensive responsibilities expected in the modern game of such players don’t negate his threat in the final third. Refreshingly uncomplicated and direct in his approach and looks like one for the future Appearances: 1 (3); Goals: 0; Rating: 6/10

  32. Jassem Sukar Overpowered by the opposition when given his chance in team. His defensive frailties were most brutally exposed at Leamington when he was tentative at two set-pieces after coming on as a substitute and the hosts grabbed the a highly unlikely point. Didn’t make another appearance and off-loaded by Gray Appearances: 3 (5); Goals: 0; Rating: 3/10

  33. Theo Wharton Quickly lauded by some City fans who regarded him as a better alternative to the much-maligned Heslop. While comfortable in possession, though, he looked ill-equipped for the rough-and-tumble nature of National League North football. Unlikely to win too many tackles and marginalised by Gray Appearances: 6 (3); Goals: 0; Rating: 4/10

  34. Jon Worsnop Had been solid prior to making errors during the final two matches of Mills’ reign which were, no doubt, untimely given those would have been the performances most closely analysed by new chief Gray. Vocal and passionate, he was a good organiser of the back-line. Since done well following move to Southport Appearances: 14 (0); Goals: 0; Rating: 5/10

  35. Alex Whittle One of the few players who could be relied upon for a consistent level of performance. Not many wingers got the better of him. Might have done better going forward but missed following his mid-season move to Football League outfit Forest Green Appearances: 20 (0); Goals: 0; Rating: 6/10

  36. Marcus Williams Last and, possibly, least. Given a torrid time during sluggish outing as an early substitute at left-back against Curzon Ashton. Returned to parent club Guiseley without making another appearance Appearances: 0 (1); Goals: 0; Rating: 3/10

Goals: Parkin 25, Newton 10, Connolly 6, Morgan-Smith 5, Heslop 4, Burn 3, Almond 2, Ferguson 2, Kempster 2, Moke 2, Parslow 2, Rankine 2, Correia 1, Felix 1, Ferguson 1, Gray 1, Law 1, Martin 1, Rowe 1, Smith 1, Own Goal 1. Note: Some reports show "Ferguson 1, Own Goal 2", by giving City's goal against Boston (10/03/18) as an own goal.

Assists: Connolly 10, Almond 8 (including all 5 assists in the 5-0 win at Bradford PA), Newton 8, Heslop 5, Parslow 5, Ferguson 4, Gray 4, Law 4, Moke 4, Morgan-Smith 4, Parkin 4, Martin 3, Whittle 3, Bencherif 1, Correia 1, Felix 1, Kempster 1, Pattison 1, Peacock-Farrell 1, Worsnop 1.

Cards: Heslop two red, five yellow; Brown, Rowe both five yellow; Bencherif one red, three yellow; Burn four yellow; Ferguson one red, two yellow; Newton three yellow; Connolly, Wharton, Worsnop all two yellow; Parkin one red; Gray, Law, Moke, Parslow, Smith, Whittle all one yellow.

NB Some reports state Connolly as 25 (7 sub) appearances and Rowe as 9 (3) appearances. These are believed to be incorrect.

National League North Attendances 2017/8

Despite the fare on offer as the club operated at their lowest-ever level, City’s long-suffering supporters steadfastly continued to come through the Bootham Crescent turnstiles. City’s home average gate was 2,754 for the club’s first campaign of regionalised football since 1958, up by 196, from 2,558, than last season’s National League figure.

The 2017/8 number also beats 13 other campaigns, including during the Football League eras of the late 1970s / early 1980s and late 1980s / early 1990s.

Across the division, City's average was bettered only by Stockport whose average was 3,578. In comparision, Dartford topped national league south's average attendances with just 1,022. Above City, just 4 National League teams (Tranmere, Wrexham, Leyton Orient and Hartlepool) topped City's average.

For all the details see Football Web Pages, a wonderful web site.

Agents' Fees

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Intermediates

The York City Under-18s compete in the Football League Youth Alliance League North East. Home matches kick off at 11.00am at the Wigginton Road Training Ground unless otherwise stated.

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FA Youth Cup

City won 3 ties before losing 1-0 at home to Salford City in Qualifying Round 3, the round before Round 1 when Division 1 and 2 clubs enter the competition.

  1. Tadcaster Albion (H) (06/Sep/17) (FA Youth Cup - Preliminary Round) W 4-0
    YORK City's youngsters breezed into the first qualifying round of the FA Youth Cup tonight thanks to a 4-0 victory over neighbours Tadcaster Albion. Striker Aaron Haswell, who has been on the first team bench for the last two games against Chorley and Spennymoor, scored twice before the break to set the side on course for victory. Albion defender Owen Marshall diverted a cross past his own goalkeeper for an own goal early in the second half and Josh Berry wrapped things up with 25 minutes to play. Haswell, who played in attack alongside Ryan Edmondson, had the first opportunity to break the deadlock but Albion goalkeeper Tom Cammish produced a good low save. Cammish was called upon again in the 12th minute when tipping over a 25 yard freekick from City fullback Zac Lawrence. City's pressure evenutally paid off in the 19th minute as Haswell showed his quality to open the scoring. Intercepting a pass from Albion fullback David Barber, Haswell advanced into the box virtually unchallenged before shooting low past Cammish. Referee Conor Ledgeway booked City winger Noah Jackson in the 28th minute for kicking the ball following a foul. Only moments earlier, City captain Josh Rogerson had been spoken to following a heavy challenge on Joe Allerton. Midfielder Harry Thompson neary doubled City's lead in the 33rd minute but his far post header fizzed inches wide of the net. Albion struggled to make chances against a well-organised City defence but winger Donald Chimalilo was always keen to take the ball forward. Chimalilo tested goalkeeper Ryan Whitley from the edge of the box after 39 minutes - ignoring the option to pass to an unmarked Max Tweddle. City increased their advantage three minutes before halftime courtesy of a deflected shot from the edge of the box by Haswell. Albion had only half cleared a corner and Haswell's low drive appeared to strike Joe Allerton on its way past Cammish. Defender Marshall diverted a low cross from Thompson past his own goalkeeper in the 54th minute as City moved into a comfortable 3-0 lead. Berry wrapped things up for City in the 65th minute when scoring from eight yards after Edmondson's header had been blocked by the legs of goalkeeper Cammish.
    City: Whitley; Kemp, Rogerson, Watson, Lawrence; Berry (McNaughton 80), Ward (Overton 80), Thompson, Jackson (Harrison 84); Edmondson, Haswell. Unused substitutes: Wilton, Jackson.
    Tadcaster Albion: Cammish; Sheppeard, Scrowston, Marshall, Barber; Anderson (Kilvington 73), Savage; Chimailo, Allerton (Vass 65), Tweddle (Davison 82); Hunter. Unused substitutes: Birley, Turbine.
    Bookings: Jackson (York City) 28mins (Dissent)
    Referee: Conor Ledgeway
    Attendance: 364
  2. Harrogate Town (H) (19/Sep/17) (FA Youth Cup - 1st Qualifying Round) W 5-0
    Ryan Edmondson and Aaron Haswell were both on the scoresheet as York City's Under-18s comprehensively defeated Harrogate Town 5-0 in their FA Youth Cup first qualifying round tie at Bootham Crescent. The Minstermites were in front on eleven minutes when Joe Kemp's searching ball allowed Haswell to cross for sixteen-year-old Edmondson to convert at close-range. Goalkeeper Ryan Whitley was though forced into routine action from distance by Sam Phoenix, who also headed over. Connor Weal similarly threatened for the visitors at the far post after goalscorer Edmondson had already been thwarted by keeper Jordan Myers. But City still advanced the scoreline around the half-hour mark as Haswell chased onto a through pass and slotted in from twelve-yards. Weal replied wide of the target following a misplaced pass, although it was left-back Zac Lawrence adding a third goal during first-half stoppage-time. Harry Thompson's deflected shot then found its way into the net after an early second-half corner, while Noah Jackson's angled strike was soon kept out by Myers. Skipper Josh Rogerson next headed Lawrence's free-kick onto the crossbar, with keeper Myers in the process suffering an injury and being replaced by Harry Stanley. But his error allowed fellow substitute Flynn McNaughton a simple fifth goal with just under twenty minutes remaining, thus surpassing the total scored against Tadcaster Albion in the previous round.
    City: Whitley, Kemp, Lawrence, Ward, Rogerson, Watson, Berry (Harrison 69), Thompson, Edmondson (McNaughton 62), Haswell, Jackson (Overton 75). Subs (unused): Wilton, Dyer.
    Harrogate Town: Myers (Stanley 63), Steele, Palmer, Barker, Gibson, Heselgrave, Richardson, Robinson, Phoenix, Verity, Weal (McNeil 46). Subs (unused): Nugent, Dolby, Clark
    Scorers: Goals: Edmondson (11), Haswell (32), Lawrence (45), Thompson (51), McNaughton (71)
    Referee: A. Luff
    Attendance: 184
  3. Harrogate Railway Athletic (H) (03/Oct/17) (FA Youth Cup - 2nd Qualifying Round) W 3-1
    Substitute Ryan McNaughton scored twice and made a third as York City's Under-18s overcame Harrogate Railway 3-1 in the FA Youth Cup second qualifying round at Bootham Crescent. The Minstermites had already scored a combined nine goals without reply while progressing through the opening couple of rounds of the competition. Home forward Aston Harrison had an early low attempt saved by Dan Dekanski while both Joe Kemp and Ryan Edmondson headed wide before Noah Jackson lifted over. Aaron Haswell also tried his luck from distance - but the ball was to once again clear the target, with fellow recent first-team squad member Edmondson subsequently dragging another opportunity wide of the far post. For their part Railway also struck a 25-yard effort narrowly beyond the top corner, while Jackson went down inside their area without reward and right-back Kemp saw a further header gathered by Dekanski. With the scoreline still remaining unchanged early in the second-half, the hosts introduced substitute McNaughton and his low strike soon again called the visiting keeper into action. And McNaughton was to supply the cross back-heeled into the net by striker Edmondson to make the breakthrough with the hour-mark of the contest approaching. However, Rail were suddenly back level just sixty seconds later as Lewis Barnard chased forward and his low shot beat Ryan Whitley. Both McNaughton and Zac Lawrence were then off-target with replies, although it was the former restoring the lead from the edge of the area with around fifteen minutes remaining. And McNaughton - who also scored off the bench in the previous round - was to make the tie safe inside the final five minutes courtesy of an angled finish.
    City: Whitley, Kemp, Lawrence, Ward, Rogerson, Watson, Berry (McNaughton 55), Haswell, Edmondson, Harrison, N. Jackson. Subs (unused): Dyer, Wilton, Overton, W. Jackson
    Scorers: Edmondson (58), McNaughton (75, 86)
    Harrogate Railway: Dekanski, Kirk, Barnard, Foley (Speight 78), Wright, Smithies, Whiteley, Bhogal, Firth, Baravelli, Merchant (Green 51). Subs (unused): Ickringill
    Scorers: Barnard (59)
    Attendance: 158
  4. Salford City (H) (17/Oct/17) (FA Youth Cup - 3rd Qualifying Round) L 0-1
    YORK City waved farewell to the FA Youth Cup tonight after a 1-0 defeat in the third qualifying round against Salford City at Bootham Crescent. A goal by Mani Ogunrinde five minutes before the interval settled the contest although both Ryan Edmondson and Zac Lawrence hit the woodwork for the Minstermen. City had progressed to this stage of the competition thanks to victories over a trio of Yorkshire neighbours – Tadcaster Albion, Harrogate Town, and Harrogate Railway Athletic. But Salford - who have also beaten Mossley, Daisy Hill, and Warrington Town - now go into the hat for the first round draw and await the possibility of a tie against League One or League Two opposition. City’s youth team manager Steve Torpey had expected a ‘positive reaction’ from his players after a disappointing weekend defeat in the league against Notts County. And his side nearly took the lead after just five minutes when Flynn McNaughton dragged a shot narrowly wide of the Salford far post. Striker Edmondson was desperately unlucky in the 16th minute when his close-range shot squeezed between the legs of Salford goalkeeper Marcel Wusciewicz and bounced to safety off the post. Despite controlling the game for long periods of the first half, City fell behind to a goal by Ogunrinde five minutes before the interval. The Salford winger seized on a slip by centreback Jake Watson and took the ball around goalkeeper Ryan Whitley before sliding home. City were unlucky not to equalise in the 62nd minute when Lawrence’s long range effort was scrambled against the post by goalkeeper Wusiewicz. The ball spun into the air and was just inches beyond the reach of the incoming Edmondson. With first team manager Martin Gray and sporting director Dave Penney both looking on from the stands, City worked hard in search of an equaliser. Edmondson’s header brought a finger-tip save from the Salford goalkeeper and, deep into stoppage time, McNaughton turned a corner over the crossbar. But it was not to be City's night and Salford duly gained some form of 'revenge' for their first team's defeat to the Minstermen in this season's FA Cup.
    Youth team manager Steve Torpey described his side's 1-0 defeat against Salford City in the FA Youth Cup as 'hard to take'. The Minstermen lost to a solitary goal by Salford winger Mani Ogunrinde after dominating Tuesday night's third qualifying round tie at Bootham Crescent. Ogunrinde had capitalized on a rare defensive slip-up just before halftime by the Minstermen who twice hit the woodwork and created far more goalscoring opportunities. "We didn't deserve to lose that game and the way we lost it was a little bit disappointing and a little hard to take," said Torpey. "We dominated the first half. I think they had a spell for 10-15 minutes in the second half where they had a bit of possession without really penetrating or hurting us. "I thought the goal was going to come. We kept on pressing and, in the second half, I don't think they got out of their half." Reflecting on his team's overall performance in the FA Youth Cup, Torpey said: "They have done brilliant all throughout the competition - but to lose the way we lost is hard to take."
    York City: Whitley, Kemp, Lawrence, Ward, Rogerson, Watson, Harrison, Haswell, Edmondson, McNaughton, N.Jackson. Unused substitutes: Dyer, Wilton, Berry, Overton, W.Jackson.

    Salford City: Wusiewicz, Doyle, Foster, Woodcock (Voss 70), Moncrieffe, Ogunrinde (Morris 77), Adetiloye, Foulds, Chukwu, Thompson-Edwards, Eadie. Unused substitutes: Barlow, Hatton, Burrows.
    Referee: Will Cavanagh
    Attendance: 157

y

x

y
August 2017
Sat 05 - H BRADFORD CITY
Sat 12 - A Rotherham United
Sat 19 - H GRIMSBY TOWN
Sat 26 Cup Group Match 1
September
Sat 02 - H OLDHAM ATHLETIC (12pm)
Sat 09 - A Scunthorpe United
Sat 16 Cup Group Match 2
Sat 23 - H BURTON ALBION (12pm)
Sat 30 - A Lincoln City
October
Sat 07 Cup Group Match 3
Sat 14 - H NOTTS COUNTY (11.30am)
Sat 28 - A Mansfield Town
November
Sat 04 Cup Group Match 4
Sat 11 Free Week
Sat 18 - A Chesterfield
Sat 25 In Service
December
Sat 02 - H HARTLEPOOL UNITED
Sat 09 Cup Area Quarter-Final
Sat 16 - A Doncaster Rovers
January 2018
Sat 06 - H SCUNTHORPE UNITED
Sat 13 Cup Area Semi-Final
Sat 20 - A Oldham Athletic (12pm)
Sat 27 - H LINCOLN CITY
February
Sat 03 Cup Area Final
Fri 09 - A Burton Albion (2pm)
Sat 24 - H MANSFIELD TOWN
March
Sat 03 - A Notts County (11.30am)
Sat 17 - H CHESTERFIELD
Sat 24 Free Week
AprilSat 07 - H DONCASTER ROVERS
Sat 14 - A Hartlepool United
Sat 21 - A Bradford City
Sat 28 - H ROTHERHAM UNITED
May
Sat 05 - A Grimsby Town

In The FA Youth Cup, x

Reserves

Despite relegation, the reserve side was retained and played in a re-structured and expanded 10 team Central League North, part of reforms to the structure of the EFL's reserve leagues. As a member of Group A, City play the other 4 Group A teams home and away and play each of the 5 Group B teams just once giving a 13 game league season and play off final for the group winners.

Date

Opponents

Group

Competition

Venue

Result

Tue 31 October (13:00)

PORT VALE

B

League

H

L 1-3

Tue 07 November (13:00)

MANSFIELD TOWN

A

League

H

L 0-5

Wed 22 November (14:00)

Walsall

B

League

A

L 1-7

Tue 28 November (13:00)

Rotherham United

A

League

A

L 1-3

Tue 12 December (13:00)

HARTLEPOOL UNITED (Postponed - Frozen Pitch)

A

League

H

-

Tue 09 January (14:00)

Grimsby Town

A

League

A

L 1-2

Tue 23 January (13:00)

Mansfield Town

A

League

A

L 1-3

Tue 30 January (19:30)

BORO RANGERS

-

NRSC QF

H

W 2-1

Tue 06 February (13:00)

Morecambe (Postponed - Snow)

B

League

A

-

Tue 13 February (13:00)

HARTLEPOOL UNITED

A

League

H

W 5-2

Tue 20 February (13:00)

ROTHERHAM UNITED

A

League

H

D 1-1

Tue 27 February (13:00)

DONCASTER ROVERS (Postponed - Frozen pitch)

B

League

H

-

Tue 6 March (13:00)

DONCASTER ROVERS (Postponed - Due to NRSC)

B

League

H

-

Tue 6 March (19:30)

MIDDLESBROUGH Res (U23)

-

NRSC SF

H

D 3-3 (Lost 3-0 on penalties)

Tue 13 March (13:00)

DONCASTER ROVERS (Postponed - 1st team match)

B

League

H

-

Tue 20 March (13:00)

BRADFORD CITY

B

League

A

L 1-2

Wed 28 March (15:00)

Hartlepool United

A

League

A

L 1-2

Wed 11 April (13:00)

GRIMSBY TOWN

A

League

H

D 1-1

Tue 24 April (13:00)

Morecambe

B

League

H

L 1-2

Tue 1 May (13:00)

DONCASTER ROVERS

B

League

H

W 3-2

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

  1. PORT VALE (League, 31/10/17) (H (Bootham Crescent)) L 1-3
    STRIKER Amari Morgan-Smith was on target as York City's reserves opened their Central League North campaign with a 3-1 defeat against Port Vale at Bootham Crescent. Morgan-Smith was one of four players in the side who had also been involved in last weekend's Vanarama National League North game against Tamworth. Defender Daniel Rowe and striker James Gray played to improve their match fitness and David Ferguson was included ahead of his one game suspension. City's starting line-up also included two unnamed trialists, a left back and a right winger (believed to be Tyler Walton) and two members of the youth team, midfielder Aaron Haswell and centreback Josh Rogerson.
    City lined-up in a 4-4-2 formation with Theo Wharton alongside Haswell in the centre of midfield and Jassem Sukar, wearing the captain's armband, alongside Rogerson in the centre of defence. Morgan-Smith and Gray led the attack while goalkeeper Jon Worsnop returned to action for the first time since taking on coaching responsibilities at the club.
    Vale, who have now won their opening four games in Central League North, took the lead midway through the first half when winger Jack Stobbs beat Worsnop with a low shot from the edge of the box. Striker Anton Forrester had missed a hat-trick of opportunities for Vale before the goal - with Worsnop pushing his shot wide, the trialist blocking his header on the line at a corner, and a third effort going over the bar from close range. Morgan-Smith, who had been on the bench against Tamworth, scored City's equaliser in the 34th minute, tapping in from close range after Vale failed to clear attempted shots from both Gray and the trialist winger.
    For the final 10 minutes of the first half, City were in full command but were unable to find the net. The on-trial winger had two shots blocked at the near post.
    City made three substitutions in the 62nd minute with Morgan-Smith, Gray, and Rowe replaced by youngsters Ryan Edmondson, Flynn McNaughton, and Jake Watson. Vale regained the lead with 15 minutes to play as Dan Turner beat Worsnop to a cross from Stobbs and headed the ball home. Turner wrapped things up with his second goal of the game just five minutes later. Again it was a cross from the left by Stobbs but this time Turner found space between defenders in the six yard box to head home.
    Youth team manager Steve Torpey had directed operations from the touchline, accompanied by striker Jon Parkin. Manager Martin Gray and sporting director Dave Penney looked on from the stands. Afterwards, Torpey said: "It was not the result we wanted but, in terms of performance and effort, I thought it was good. We passed it around and kept possession and the attitude from the professionals was spot on. They have all put a shift in and worked hard. I am a little disappointed with their goals but, in general terms, we have played some good stuff against a club from League Two. The youth team lads, Aaron and Josh, played the whole game and did really well and showed great energy. Jake, Ryan, and Flynn came on in the second half and looked lively. Both the trialists have also done well."
    CITY: Worsnop, Rowe (Watson 62), Trialist A, Sukar (C), Rogerson, Wharton, Ferguson, Haswell, Gray (McNaughton 62), Morgan-Smith ( Edmondson 62), Trialist B. Sub (Unused): Simpson, Lawrence.
    PORT VALE: Evitmov, Yates (Beeston 67), Walford, Calveley, Reeves, Dennis, Stobbs, Middleton, Forrester, Turner, Defreitas. Sub (Unused): Blight, Wilson, Johnson, Wakefield.
    Attendance: 85
  2. MANSFIELD (League, 07/11/17) (H (Bootham Crescent)) L 0-5
    With Youth team manager Steve Torpey, who will be looking after the reserve team on a regular basis, away on a Football Association coaching course at St George's Park, Academy manager Mark Spencer and senior goalkeeper Jon Worsnop took charge of the City team. Striker Jon Parkin, who had been scheduled to work alongside Worsnop, was absent due to illness. With Manager Martin Gray and sporting director Dave Penney observing from the stands, a YOUTHFUL York City's reserves line-up suffered a heavy 5-0 defeat to their Mansfield Town counterparts on a wintry afternoon.
    Only three senior players were included in the City side but Mansfield's line-up was packed with first team players in need of competitive action.
    Mansfield started incredibly quickly and were ahead within a minute. Skipper for the day Rhys Bennett played a magnificent cross-field ball with his left foot and found marauding right-back Hayden White. The former Peterborough United man drove into the box before firing past York stopper Simpson and into the bottom corner. The game evened out slightly after the first goal with both sides appearing to be equally matched in intensity and physicality. It was a slightly cagey affair with both teams unable to get any momentum or control of the game in the first quarter of an hour.
    The Stags' next effort came from some nice play down the flank from winger Alfie Potter who teed up striker Omari Sterling-James. He hit a decent strike but straight down the middle of the York City goal, which was dealt with comfortably by York 'keeper Simpson. Stags started to look more meaningful in possession and striker Jimmy Spencer was at the far post to knock down a cross for Alfie Potter who swivelled, made some space for himself, and fired a low effort into the arms of the York 'keeper.
    Encouraging play from the Stags saw another effort from Spencer saved after a Sterling-James knock down on the edge of the box fell nicely for Spencer to drill a low shot across the surface, only for Simpson to save again.
    York's first effort on target came in the 30th minute after midfielder Harry Thompson picked the ball up just inside his own half and released winger Aaron Haswell who beat Rhys Bennett for pace and struck a high effort towards Stags' ex City 'keeper Bobby Olejniks's near post, but Olejnik saved accordingly.
    Stags were starting to dominate and the next opportunity came when Jimmy Spencer won the ball back in the Mansfield half and showed some nice footwork to beat two men, opening up space in the centre of the park to run into. Spencer released the ball onto the right wing for Sterling-James to run onto who played a low squared ball across the York City box, only for it to be cleared by the York defence. Sterling James then saw a solo effort from just inside the York City box whistle past the wrong side of the York City post after taking a slight deflection from York defender Theo Wharton. The resulting corner then saw Potter play a short pass into Spencer on the edge of the box who drilled a shot towards the far post only for the York City defence to block on the line.
    The Stags doubled their lead, after continuous pressure, in the 40th minute. Sterling-James received the ball on the edge of the York City box and held it up well, before he was clipped by a defender. The referee played a good advantage as the ball rolled out to an onrushing White down the left flank. White clipped in an inch-perfect cross onto the lively Spencer's head who finished comfortably with an excellent effort, directed back across goal and beyond the reach of Simpson (0-2).
    The Stags' first notable effort of the second half came when midfielder Will Atkinson picked up the ball on the edge of the York box and weaved past two York defenders. His attempted pass to Potter took a deflection and ran nicely into the path of Sterling-James who was through on goal and dinked over the onrushing 'keeper but saw teenager full back Zak Lawrence head the shot off the line. Stags continued to look lively after the restart and a lovely scooped pass from Butcher beat two York defenders to put Alfie Potter through on goal, but the York 'keeper saw the danger early and came out to smother the attack.
    On 58 minutes, City had a rare opportunity on goal which saw midfielder Tyler Walton hit a fierce effort from 25 yards fizz just wide of the 'keeper's right-hand post. Stags had the majority of second half possession but were falling short of the mark with the final ball at times. City broke away on the counter with Walton picking up the ball in his half and playing in Haswell, only for Bennett to make a superb sliding challenge to deny prevent Haswell from getting a shot away. The resulting corner saw Stags 'keeper Olejnik collect the ball unchallenged and send his side quickly onto the counter. He found midfielder Butcher and the former Millwall man played the ball down the line for Sterling-James, who beat his man and squared it to Spencer on the penalty spot and he made no mistake as he side-footed past a helpless Simpson to make it 3-0 in the 73rd minute.
    Stags made it 4-0 in the 80th minute. Sterling-James attempted to beat the York defender and although he was tackled, the tricky frontman pressed him into a mistake. A back pass which was too short for York 'keeper Simpson was pounced upon by Calum Butcher and he nipped it round Simpson before rolling it into an empty net.
    The Stags made the scoreline even more comprehensive with three minutes left on the clock. Goalkeeper Olejnik bowled the ball out to striker Zayn Hakeem, on as a substitute for midfielder Jack Thomas, and the fleet-footed frontman raced down the right-hand side, beat his man and got a cross in from near the byline. The ball fell to the feet of Alfie Potter at the back post and after his effort was blocked, the ball fell to the feet of Butcher who side-footed it across the floor into the far corner, beating the York defenders on the line.
    CITY: Simpson (C), Kemp, Lawrence (Watson 70), Wharton, Rogerson, Sukar, Haswell, Walton, McNaughton, Thompson, Jackson (Harrison 77); Sub (Unused): Wilton, Berry, Overton
    MANSFIELD: Olejnik; Hunt, White, Digby, Bennett (C), Thomas (Hakeem 82), Atkinson, Butcher, Porter, Spencer, Sterling-James; Sub (Unused): Wilson, Wilder, Healey
    Refereee: Gareth Myers
    Attendance: TBC
  3. WALSALL (League, 22/11/17) (A (Ray Hall Lane)) L 1-7
    CANADIAN international and former Premier League striker Simeon Jackson hit a hat-trick as York City reserves crashed to a 7-1 Central League defeat at Walsall. Ex-Norwich forward Jackson was joined on the scoresheet by Will Shorrock (two), Jordon Sangha and Dan Vann, while City youth-team scholar Flynn McNaughton scored his side’s late consolation. The Minstermen included five players with first-team experience – Luke Simpson, Jassem Sukar, Theo Wharton, Tyler Walton and Sam Muggleton. Walsall featured nine in their starting line-up with senior appearances to their name this term for the League One side, including starts for Reece Flanagan, Daniel Agyei and Shaun Donnellan, all of whom made substitute appearances in the 4-2 League One win over Fleetwood Town less than 24 hours prior. The hosts, now operating three tiers above City, coached by former Bootham Crescent boss John Ward, made that gulf in class show. Walsall asserted themselves from the start with Simpson gathering a deflected Maz Kouyhar shot and centre-back Shaun Donnellan heading over from Shorrock’s left-wing cross. Former Rushden & Diamonds, Gillingham and Norwich City marksman Jackson, who has represented his country 49 times, also drove over from 25 yards before the Saddlers forged in front on 14 minutes. A Kouyhar pass picked out Shorrock’s charge into the penalty box and he gave Simpson no chance with his precise 15-yard low shot. Shorrock went on to double the lead just two minutes later with a simple finish after being teed up by Jackson following a poor clearance by Simpson. Moments later, powerful home striker Daniel Agyei curled narrowly wide from 20 yards, but it was 3-0 to the Midlanders before the half-hour mark. Impressive central-midfielder Reece Flanagan released Shorrock down the right. His cross was met by Jackson at the far post and, after his first attempt was blocked by City’s Josh Rogerson, the 30-year-old forward went on to beat Simpson from three yards. Wharton managed the Minstermen’s only goal attempt of the first half when he showed purpose to work his way to the edge of the box, but his low shot was safely gathered by Mark Gillespie.
    The hosts were then swiftly back on the front foot with Flanagan setting up Kouyhar for a curling 20-yard effort that he rattled against the bar. Kouhyar rattled the bar just past the half-hour mark before York keeper Luke Simpson made a string of important saves to keep the deficit down to three goals - twice denying Jackson first from a corner and then one-on-one as the forward was released in on goal by a stunning slide-rule pass from Flanagan. Jackson then released Agyei into the box, left-side, and the on-loan Burnley striker pulled an effort at goal but it ran wide of the far post. Walsall added two more goals within five minutes of the restart. First, Sangha swept home from 12 yards despite Zac Lawrence’s attempt to clear off the line after Donnellan had headed down a Flanagan corner. Then, from another Flanagan flag kick, Vann beat Simpson with a free header. At the other end, Gillespie was forced into his second save of the afternoon when Muggleton’s free kick caught the strong wind. Jackson would claim his hat-trick in the 66th minute, running across the ball and glancing a header from Shorrock’s neat centre into the bottom-left corner. For City, McNaughton shot well wide after cutting in from the left, before Jackson completed his hat-trick on 83 minutes, bursting through the right channel and holding off Sukar before firing across goal into the bottom corner. Young striker Flynn McNaughton did at least manage an emphatic reply two minutes later,he powered his way into the box before unleashing a fierce drive that beat Mark Gillespie and went in - but only after hitting both uprights.
    YORK City youth-team coach Steve Torpey promised to deliver his honest appraisal of a 7-1 reserve defeat at Walsall to Bootham Crescent chief Martin Gray. Torpey took charge of the Central League North away fixture that saw City’s second-string comprehensively beaten by the League One outfit. Youth-team forward Flynn McNaughton – one of three City players to come out of the game with credit according to Torpey – grabbed a late consolation for the visitors. Highlighting the sole positives on a one-sided afternoon, Torpey said: “Tyler (Walton) did well and kept going. It was tough for Flynn up there on his own against powerful defenders, but he probably scored the best goal of the game when he took on both centre halves and produced a sublime finish in the top corner. I also felt Josh Rogerson did very well in the second half, so those three youngsters can take positives from the game because they dug in, but that wasn’t really the case for the rest of the team and I’ll be feeding back to the manager giving him an honest appraisal of what happened in the game in terms of attitude, application and all those elements.” Whilst acknowledging that there was a difference in class between the two teams, with Walsall currently operating three divisions above the National League North Minstermen, Torpey was still irritated by the nature of the goals the visitors shipped, pointing out: “Nobody likes to get beaten 7-1 and, while they were very strong with a lot of first teamers, I was still disappointed with the goals we conceded. The first one came from a mistake when we were in possession, the second one from a miskick by Luke (Simpson) and three in the second half were from corners.” City’s opening three reserve matches have now all ended in defeat with a 3-1 reverse to Port Vale, followed by a 5-0 mauling against Mansfield and this latest heavy loss, but Torpey still regards the fixtures as worthwhile exercises as the squad’s fringe players pit their wits against sides that are, for the most part, stronger than those the first team encounter in the country’s sixth tier. “I think our lads are learning all the time in these games against players who are quicker, stronger and faster and also have the right work ethic,” Torpey reasoned. “That’s what they need to try and aim for as young professional footballers. “Walsall’s starting XI from the match would be very strong in the National League and we probably got more out of the game in a funny way than they did in terms of me looking at our players and seeing whether they are strong enough, fit enough and physical enough to make that step up to the next level.
    CITY: Simpson, Thompson, Rogerson, Sukar, Lawrence (Berry, 63), Jackson, Wharton, Walton, Muggleton, Haswell (Kemp, 84), McNaughton; Sub (Unused): Wilton, Watson
    Goals: McNaughton (86)
    Booked: Joe Kemp
    WALSALL: Gillespie, Tonks, Vann, Donnellan, Devlin (Oliver 75), Shorrock, Flanagan (Hayles-Docherty 63), Sangha (capt), Kouhyar (Peters 75), Agyei (Candlin 81), Jackson; Sub (Unused): Ganley
    Goals: Shorrock (13, 14), Jackson (26, 47, 66, 83), Vann (50)
    Refereee: TBC
    Attendance: TBC
  4. ROTHERHAM (League, 28/11/17) (A (Roundwood)) L 1-3
    York City's reserves were eventually on the wrong end of a 3-1 scoreline against their Rotherham United counterparts in Central League North at Roundwood. Jerry Yates, 21, was the only Rotherham player with first-team appearances in League One to his name this term, although five others in the home squad have figured in the Checkatrade Trophy. City, meanwhile, boasted seven players with professional experience, including Dawson who, along with his goal, displayed good ball control and skills in possession.
    Alex Whittle (playing in an unfamiliar central-midfield role) soon called goalkeeper Laurence Bilboe into action at his near post after remaining an unused substitute for the first-team at the weekend, although Mason Warren replied by curling an eighteenth-minute expertly taken curling 25 yard free-kick into the top corner. Young striker Flynn McNaughton immediately missed a glorious chance to equalise for the visitors when blazing over after being released by Aaron Haswell's clever pass, while City's latest trialist, ex-Tranmere Rovers winger Adam Dawson, broke inside the area and challenged Bilboe with a teasing lob. Youth-team skipper Josh Rogerson next covered the threat of Jerry Yates, until the same player doubled the home advantage when turning and finding the corner with nine minutes of the opening half remaining. There had looked to be little danger when Yates picked the ball up with his back to goal in the area, but a sharp turn and shot saw him find the bottom corner of Luke Simpson’s goal with his effort crossing the line via a deflection off the post.
    Kuda Muskwe almost made it three shortly after the interval as he rose highest in the box to meet a cross from the right, but failed to generate enough power on his header to beat Simpson, who got down to make a smart save. City pulled a goal back through their trialist (Adam Dawson) direct from a 53rd minute free-kick, his set piece effort from 20 yards out was precisely measured, beating the Millers wall before evading the outstretched arm of Bilboe. Bilboe later denied Aidan Connolly at the second attempt - that in between Ben Wiles twice sending efforts wide at the other end. The Minstermen suddenly went close to an equaliser with twenty minutes remaining as youngster Haswell raced away and struck against an upright, while goalscorer Yates responded by dragging beyond the target. However, Whittle's angled drive was once again kept out by Bilboe, who continued to be threatened as he next turned Connolly's effort from distance onto the crossbar - although the hosts were still to restore their two-goal advantage with just seven minutes remaining. Earlier marksman Warren despatched a free-kick initially saved by Luke Simpson before substitute Joshua Kayode headed the rebound onto a post - with the referee's assistant signalling the ball had subsequently crossed the line.
    City chief Martin Gray was at the game and youth-team manager Steve Torpey, who was in charge for the fixture, said: “We scored a sublime goal and I thought we were excellent. We played with a good tempo and played some good one and two-touch football. The few extra pros helped massively, but the attitude and application was also spot on. That couldn’t be questioned in this game and the players provided the manager with food for thought for this weekend and the future.” Left back Whittle, meanwhile, played in the centre of midfield at Gray’s request with Torpey adding: “The manager decided to play him in there and it was a different type of game for him because he had to play with his back to goal instead of having everything in front of him, but I thought he did well.” Smith has returned from his loan spell at Whitby and was employed at right back, while Theo Wharton played no part, having joined up with the Saint Kitts and Nevis squad on international duty, which will mean he is unavailable for City’s National League North clash at Boston this weekend. Centre-back Jassem Sukar did not feature either, with Torpey pointing out: “I don’t know what the situation is with Sukur. I was just told the team that would be playing.
    CITY: Simpson, Smith, Rogerson, Watson, Muggleton, Trialist, Walton (Thompson, 90), Whittle, Connolly, Haswell (Jackson, 84), McNaughton; Sub (Unused): Lawrence, Wilton. NB Trialist was Adam Dawson
    Goals: Trialist (53)
    ROTHERHAM: Bilboe, Atherton, Onariase, Trialist (McGinley 46), Hinds, (Murr 46), Maguire (Osborne 67), Warren, Wiles, Trialist (Kayode 75), Yates, Muskwe; Sub (Unused): McMahon
    Goals: Warren (18), Yates (36), Kayode (83)
    Refereee: TBC
    Attendance: 45
  5. GRIMSBY (League, 09/01/18) (A (Cheapside Waltham)) L 1-2
    YORK City reserves are still searching for their first Central League point of the season, but pushed an experienced Grimsby Town outfit close during a 2-1 away defeat at their Cheapside Waltham Training Ground. The Minstermen included wantaway former skipper Simon Heslop who played the first 45 minutes, suggesting that he might be back in the picture at Bootham Crescent, having previously told the management team he did not want to play for the club any more. Others with first team experience were Sam Muggleton, James Gray, Luke Simpson, Daniel Rowe, Connor Smith and Tyler Walton also lined up against the League Two side, who had seven players with senior experience in their first XI, including Sean McAllister, following the conclusion of his loan spell with City and Alex McMillan, the eighteen-year-old son of City's legendary Wembley-winning full-back Andy. Midfielder Clovis Kamdjo had been due to make his City comeback after more than a year on the sidelines following cruciate knee ligament surgery but picked up a minor calf strain in training. City opened the scoring on 12 minutes when youth team scholar NOAH JACKSON rose high to beat Grimsby keeper Ben Killip with a firm header after Muggleton had hurled the ball in with his usual power from the right. Two great chances went begging for the home team, though, with Jack Keeble sidefooting wide from a corner and Clements somehow missing the target with only Simpson to beat from eight yards. At the other end, another Muggleton long throw was headed over by Rowe, who played at centre back, but Grimsby equalised on 40 minutes when former Port Vale forward JJ Hooper sent in a cross from the right for Clements to tap in at the far post. City introduced Aaron Haswell for Heslop at the start of the second-half, although it was Harry Cardwell heading wide an early Clements cross. After the break, City’s Harry Thompson cleared a Keeble header off the line, while ex-Wimbledon defender Karleigh Osborne aimed wide from a similar chance and Brandon Buckley skied over following hesitant City defending. The visitors almost struck on the counter, though, when Gray smashed a 15-yard attempt against the frame of the goal. It was Grimsby who got the decisive next goal when a deep right-wing cross by Alex McMillan looped over Simpson and hit the bar, gifting Clifton a 66th-minute tap-in. Simpson went on to deny Harry Cardwell, while sub Aaron Haswell shot just off target from 25 yards for the Minstermen. A rushed Walton 30-yard effort, with Killip off his line, lacked the height to beat the home keeper, while Hooper shot straight at Simpson when played clear through the right channel. Jackson, meanwhile, saw another header from a Muggleton throw land on the top of the Grimsby net, while Smith drove over from 30 yards with City’s last opportunity to secure a point. YORK City coach Steve Torpey has told striker James Gray not to become despondent as he looks to end an 11-game wait for his first goal for the club. Gray, who joined the Minstermen from Torquay in October, missed a stoppage-time sitter to open his account during Saturday's 2-1 win at Darlington. The 25-year-old forward, who last netted for the Gulls during a 1-1 draw at Barrow in mid-September, also smashed a shot against the bar during a 2-1 defeat for Torpey's reserve side at Grimsby this afternoon when youth-team scholar Noah Jackson got the visitors' goal. But Torpey, who hit the target 176 times as a Football League professional for the likes of Swansea, Bristol City and Scunthorpe, spotted "promising signs" in Gray's second-string run-out and reasoned: "I went through a spell of about 12 games when I never scored and you do start to think when's it going to end. Stuff like hitting the bar with a really good shot also happens during runs like that. He made a great connection on the ball and, when you're on form and confident, that ends up in the back of the net, but he's just got to keep going and not get too despondent or disheartened, while sticking to his natural game. Then, the goals will come. He kept working hard and was really unlucky with the one that hit the bar, but there are promising signs, because he's getting in the areas to score. It would have been nice from him to smash one in from long range, but he probably needs one to go in off his backside and then he'll be off." Explaining the substitutions, Torpey added: "Hessie felt his hamstring, but it wasn't anything major and just precautionary. He was playing to keep on top of his fitness, so he's up to speed in case he's back in the first team or in the frame. James came off to keep him fresh if he's required for Saturday, I guess. I was just given instructions to make the subs." City sporting director Dave Penney was also in the visitors' dugout alongside Torpey, with a flood of reserve fixtures to fulfil during the second half of the campaign, Torpey pointed out that will provide the club's second-year scholars with a great chance to press their claims for pro terms. "We want to win, but the reserve games are about development and we had four players from the youth team starting, which was good experience for them against a strong Grimsby team. Dave (Penney) was here to watch them and, while the management team receive my feedback, it's important that they see the players in the flesh and make their own minds up. All the games coming up are a great opportunity for the guys and I was really pleased with all of them. Flynn (McNaughton) did well in the second half, Harry (Thompson) did well slotting in at right back when he's a midfielder, Noah scored a good goal and Josh Rogerson was calm and composed at the back again. The two goals we conceded were disappointing but, in general, our lot showed a good attitude." On Jackson's 12th-minute goal, meanwhile, Torpey said: "We used Sam's long throw, because we know it's a weapon and Noah timed his run well to send a powerful header back where it came from."
    CITY: Simpson; Thompson, Rogerson, Rowe, Muggleton; Smith, Heslop (Haswell HT), Walton, Jackson; Gray (Berry 69), McNaughton. Sub (Unused): Kemp, Wilton, Lawrence.
    Goals: Jackson (12)
    GRIMSBY: Killip, McMillan, K. Osborne (Powles 62), Keeble (Davies 80), Kelly, McAllister, Clements, Clifton, Hooper, Buckley (Goddard 74), Cardwell; Sub (Unused): TBC
    Goals: Clements (40), Clifton (61)
    Refereee: Kevin Saunby
    Attendance: TBC

  6. MANSFIELD (League, 23/01/18) (A (Rainworth Miners Welfare (NG21 0JY)) L 1-3
    City went down 3-1 to a strong Mansfield side team in the Central League who completed the double having triumphed 5-0 in the reverse fixture back in November. James Gray scored his first goal in City's colours to cancel out a first-half opener by Johnny Hunt. Further home efforts from ex-Minsterman George Taft and Lee Angol secured victory for the Stags, whose starting XI had all featured in League Two this season, including former City loan pair Bobby Olejnik and Taft. City, meanwhile, had eight players in their side with senior experience this season, including Theo Wharton following his return from a loan spell at Tamworth. Josh Rogerson, Harry Thompson and Flynn McNaughton were the exceptions. Teenage youth team winger Noah Jackson missed out due to recently suffering a broken metatarsal. With the fixture played at a blowy Rainworth and on an uneven pitch, the conditions did replicate some National League North venues, with Dave Penney reasoning, “You can’t play on nice Wembley like pitches all the time. The playing surface wasn’t the best and the ground was open with no stands, which made it very windy, but you have to learn to play the conditions, because we went to Telford and the pitch wasn’t great either.” City had a great early chance when Amari Morgan-Smith volleyed across the face of goal after Connor Smith had won an aerial ball in the home box. Gray also headed wide from a Sam Muggleton long throw, while Jimmy Spencer sliced wide at the other end after being picked out by Paul Digby's low right-wing cross. For City, Josh Law then saw a free kick deflected wide off the home wall, while Gray's ambitious 30-yard attempt only required a routine save from Olejnik. Luke Simpson was called into his first save of the afternoon on 22 minutes, diving low to his right to keep out a Spencer volley and Jack Thomas' curling shot drifted wide of the City keeper's top-right corner. Former Scunthorpe keeper Olejnik was also untroubled by another Gray shot, while McNaughton did well to win the ball in his own half before exchanging passes with fellow youth-team scholar Thompson and firing narrowly wide from the edge of the box. In response, Will Atkinson drilled a firm effort just over from distance, before the Stags forged in front on 39 minutes when ex-Wrexham midfielder Hunt rifled a 15-yard strike into the roof of Simpson's net. Spencer went on to have two chances to double the lead going into the interval, but dragged the first wide from the edge of the box and also missed the target with a downward header from five yards. After the interval, Thomas’ cross from the right bounced off the top of Simpson’s bar. City drew level on 50 minutes when an alert Gray stuck out a boot to divert Morgan-Smith’s low wayward shot past Olejnik. Omari Sterling-James, meanwhile, shot woefully wide for the Stags after cutting in from the left flank and Spencer curled off target from the edge of the box. City went on to waste two great chances with free headers in quick succession. First, Morgan-Smith directed his five-yard opportunity straight at Olejnik after being picked out by Muggleton’s left-wing free kick that had been won by Gray. The latter then sent in a cross from the right that McNaughton glanced wide. Gray also saw a near-post attempt gathered by Olejnik, as City continued to impose themselves in Mansfield's final third. For Mansfield, the disappointing Angol ballooned over at the other end when presented with an eight-yard half-volley but Taft made no mistake on 74 minutes when Daniel Rowe could not stop him from heading past Simpson inside the six-yard box following Hunt's free kick from the right. Shortly afterwards, Simpson parried away a Sterling-James drive and also made a strong one-on-one save as Spencer charged clear on goal, but he was beaten again on 82 minutes when Angol belatedly found his range and blasted in from ten yards. Simpson was also required to make a smart late save from Calum Butcher. Defeat meant City have lost all six of their Central League second string fixtures this term. Dave Penney added, “They had a fairly strong side out, so we were happy with the performance, even if you’re never happy to be beaten. It's always about results. Every game you want to win. You talk about development. You develop by winning games. That's how I always learned. It's the 'know how' to win games. Some kids come from the Under-18s or Under-23 and don't know how to win games and are not really bothered if they win, lose, or draw because they have not had that put on them. We are not happy with the results we are getting in the reserves, and we want to win games for sure. But we see how our young ones are doing stepping up to play at that level, the likes of Flynn McNaughton and Josh Rogerson, and the seniors set a good example to the youngsters that are coming through. I always learned when I was playing in the reserves. You learned off the 'pros' and they talked you through games. You can do as much coaching from the side as you want, but if you have senior pros in there, they demand certain things and that lifts the standards of the youngsters and they get used to the standards that are required. We had quite a strong side out in terms of seniority and we gave them a good game. We went a goal down but got it to 1-1 and had two good chances to go ahead. Amari (Morgan-Smith) and Flynn (McNaughton) both had great chances to put us 3-1 up. They scored a free kick and the we took our big lads off to get them ready for Saturday, they wore us down at the end with the presence they had on the pitch. You could see where we are in terms of the make up of the two clubs now and the depth in squads, because they can put out two teams of very strong players. We probably need to play reserve sides that are a similar level to us, but these games are great for fitness and for people to get 90 minutes under their belt. They also ask questions of everybody.”
    CITY: Simpson, Law, Rogerson, Rowe, Muggleton, Thompson, Wharton, Smith, Morgan-Smith (Haswell, 80), McNaughton, Gray (Berry, 80). Sub (Unused): Kemp, Wilton, Lawrence
    Goals: Gray (50)
    MANSFIELD: Olejnik, Digby, Diamond, Taft, Hunt, Thomas, Butcher, Atkinson, Spencer, Angol, Sterling-James; Sub (Unused): Wilson, Gibbens, T Blake, N Blake, Ward
    Goals: Hunt (39), Taft (72), Angol (82)
    Refereee: TBC
    Attendance: TBC

  7. BORO RANGERS (North Riding Senior Cup Quarter Final, 30/01/18) (H (Bootham Crescent)) W 2-1
    York City’s reserve side progressed to the semi final of the @EmmersonUK North Riding Senior Cup with a 2-1 home win over Boro Rangers. Clovis Kamdjo started the game in the centre of a back three as he played his first half of football since suffering cruciate ligament damage in November 2016, while Louis Almond returned after three months on the sidelines with a shoulder problem. The pair joined five others – Luke Simpson, Connor Smith, Sam Muggleton, Theo Wharton and James Gray – with first-team experience in the hosts’ line-up. Part timers Boro Rangers, the leaders of the North Riding Football League Premier Division, had billed the clash as the biggest game in their club's 15 year history. The visitors created the first chance of the night with James Dillon heading over from David Johnson’s sixth-minute corner. For City, Almond made his first contribution with a free-kick into the defensive wall when Gray was fouled on the edge of the area before Gray headed over a Muggleton long throw. City went in front on fourteen minutes as youth-teamer Harry Thompson headed in from 6 yards from another Muggleton long throw. Referee Matthew East allowed a number of heavy challenges from Rangers to go unpunished before finally issuing yellow cards in the 34th minute to centre back Phil Horsman and City striker Flynn McNaughton who had squared up to each other following a tackle near the touchline. Gray went on to manage City’s first goal attempt from open play on 41 minutes, but his long-range shot failed to extend Rangers keeper Andy McDonald as City enjoyed the majority of the first half possession. Boro had a further headed attempt wide at a corner and Stuart Rose also missed from inside the area as the interval approached. Nathan Liddell levelled for Boro Rangers moments later, although Gray almost forced in another Muggleton long throw. Kamdjo was replaced by Aaron Haswell at half time as he eased himself back into action. It meant City switched from a 3-4-1-2 to a 4-3-3 and Muggleton moved into the centre of defence alongside captain Josh Rogerson. Gray should have made it 2-1 to City on 54 minutes but, having been given the ball in front of the Boro goal following a stray Horsman header, he hesitated and allowed Dillon to make a recovering tackle. Haswell scuffed a Flynn McNaughton cross before Almond's follow up produced a decent save by Andy McDonald. He was then substituted for Joe Kemp. York restored their earlier advantage with sixteen minutes remaining as Rangers defender Ste Keenan (own goal) diverted in Haswell's low cross at the near post. City’s Simpson later turned over from McQueenry's acrobatic overhead as the visitors continued to search for a second equaliser.
    CITY: Simpson; Rogerson ( C ), Kamdjo (Haswell, 46), Muggleton; Smith, Thompson, Wharton, Almond (Kemp, 72), Lawrence; Gray (Berry, 83), McNaughton.; Sub (Unused) Whitley
    Goals: Thompson (14), S. Keenan OG (74)
    Bookings: McNaughton, Wharton (City)
    BORO RANGERS: McDonald; S.Keenan, Dillon, Horsman, Johnson; Liddell (C), Blake (Squires 82), R.Keenan (Bellamy 79), Rose, McQueenry, Jack Guy (Barry 79). Sub (Unused): Woods, Joel Guy.; Sub (Unused): Woods, Joel Guy
    Goals: Liddell (43)
    Bookings: Horsman (Rangers)
    Refereee: Matthew East
    Attendance: 228
  8. HARTLEPOOL (League, 13/02/18) (H (Bootham Crescent)) W 5-2
    York City's reserves showed great character and determination to come from 2 down to claim their first league victory of the season when defeating a young Hartlepool United side by 5-2 at Bootham Crescent. City’s triallist Alex Kempster (a 22 year old Whitley Bay striker who trained with City for the first time just a day earlier) bagged a hat trick to earn a first pro contract. City also included new signings Marcus Williams (Guiseley) and Vinny Steels (Darlington) whilst Clovis Kamdjo took another step towards a possible first team return. There were also a number of impressive displays by players currently on the fringes of the first team including striker Louis Almond, who played his first 90 minutes since returning from a three month injury lay-off and winger Connor Smith who scored one of City's five goals. Hartlepool’s Lewis Orrell opened the scoring after five minutes before Jon Weir doubled the advantage for Matthew Bates’ young side with a good low strike past the Simpson after eleven minutes. For City, Kempster had already struck towards the goalkeeper at the other end, while Smith was also denied by Ryan Catterick on more than one occasion. Kempster headed onto the crossbar following a Josh Law corner before Louis Almond hoisted over from Smith's delivery. York reduced the arrears when Connor Smith headed in a cross from Kempster on 33 minutes. The second half was one-way traffic with York triallist Alex Kempster bagging a hat-trick and an own goal adding to Pools’ misery. Kempster brought the Hartlepool keeper into early second-half action at his near post, before also setting up his fellow hopeful to force Catterick to block with his legs. Almond's cross then struck an upright as the hosts continued to attack, while another recent returnee, Clovis Kamdjo, headed forcibly at the keeper. Kempster equalised for City on 52 minutes with a bullet header into the roof of the Hartlepool net from Law's cross. He went on to bag a hat-trick, with two further goals in the 60th and 69th minutes. Kempster got his second of the game on the hour as he surged onto a through ball and coolly slotted past the keeper to register his second of the afternoon. Almond’s deflected effort five minutes later consolidated City’s lead . On 69 minutes, Kempster brought up his hat-trick with a low curling effort from inside the area before being brought off for 16 year old debutant Vinny Steels a minute later. The remainder of the action witnessed home keeper Luke Simpson blocking from both Josh Hawkes and Ryan Robinson, while Daniel Parslow also cleared off the line. At the other end, James Gray was twice too high and Almond - who notably completed a full ninety minutes - forced yet another save from Catterick before Smith drove wide. There was a second anonymous triallist on show up front.

    "I am absolutely buzzing and it's all been a bit of a whirlwind. I played the game and I've done quite well and scored a hat-trick. I spoke to the Gaffer straight after the game and he has put his faith in me until the end of the season at least. It's a massive decision but you have got to try and get your foot on the ladder. It's something you strive for to be a professional footballer and play full time. I've got to take the opportunity, I want to try and get myself in the team first of all. Obviously it's a higher level but I don't feel like I can't do it and hopefully a few goals to repay the gaffer. "I think York have been watching me for a couple of months. I scored a hat-trick for Whitley Bay actually and I think that's where their interest came from. I haven't really had any professional clubs [before] (he was reportedly on trial at Port Vale earlier in the season). I've had a few trials now and again, but I haven't actually been given a professional contract. So I'm pleased the gaffer's given me that chance and I want to repay him with some goals. If someone is giving you a professional contract, you have got to take it. It's what every lad dreams of really. “It’s a really good set-up, a really good ground, and the fan base is unbelievable. I can’t wait to get out there and score some goals”, said Alex Kempster who played over 200 games for Northern League part-timers Whitley Bay. He will now be giving up his jobs as a PE teacher and barman to become a full-time professional with the Minstermen.
    CITY: Simpson; Law, Kamdjo ((Watson 71), Parslow, Williams; Smith, Gray, Wharton (Haswell 86); Almond, Trialist B (Thompson 86), Trialist A (Kempster) (Steels 71); Sub (Unused): Wilton
    Goals: Smith (33), Trialist A (52, 60, 69), OG (64)
    HARTLEPOOL: Catterick; Boyle, Owen, Bayne, Halliday; Pritchard, Hawkes, Orrell, Robinson; Travers (Short 85), Weirs; Sub (Unused): Lawrence
    Goals: Orrell (6), Weirs (11)
    Refereee: Darren Whatling
    Attendance: TBC

  9. ROTHERHAM (League, 20/02/18) (H (Bootham Crescent)) D 1-1
    Sean Gregan took charge of City's reserves with Martin Gray looking on from the stands as Raul Correia’s second-half goal earned York City reserves a 1-1 home draw against Rotherham at Bootham Crescent. The on-loan Blackpool striker cancelled out Kuda Muskwe’s effort for the Millers after Louis Almond has seen a 29th-minute penalty saved in the Central League contest. City included nine players with first-team experience as Correia and Almond were joined by Luke Simpson, Josh Law, Marcus Williams, Theo Wharton, Dan Parslow, Clovis Kamdjo, and Connor Smith in the starting XI. Teenagers Vinny Steels and Harry Thompson also started. In contrast, the visitors fielded a rookie side with left-back Ben Purrington and attacking midfielder Jerry Yates the only players to have featured in League One this season. City hosts made the early running with a strong 20-yard effort by Wharton well saved by Rotherham keeper Laurence Bilboe and Josh Law curling over from a free kick. Thompson also sidefooted high and wide from the edge of the box while Muskwe’s header for the Millers, following Mason Warren’s cross, lacked the power to trouble Simpson. The Minstermen went on to see Almond miss the target with a shot on the turn from just outside the penalty area, before Kamdjo headed narrowly wide from a Law corner after 18 minutes. Simpson, meanwhile, was quick out of his goal to deny Rotherham’s trialist right winger in a one-on-one situation. Striker Muskwe went on to lift an edge-of-the-box opportunity over an unguarded net after he had ridden a Simpson challenge. City’s best chance to open the scoring before the break came when 16-year-old left-winger Steels, who had played with positivity and confidence throughout the half, raced on to a Correia pass, rounded Bilboe and then saw his goal-bound shot handled by Jack Osborne, who had charged back to cover the near post. Almond blasted the resulting spot kick straight down the middle of the goal and it was kept out by Bilboe’s trailing leg. The Millers’ response saw Ben Wiles hit the roof of the David Longhurst Stand from distance but, after half-chances for Almond and Kamdjo had reaped no reward for City. After an evenly contested first half, the Millers took the lead in stoppage time as Muskwe, sizing up a shot 20 yards from goal, saw his weak curling effort bounced over a diving Simpson into the home net. Muskwe and young defender Jake Southern-Cooper ensured that York stopper Luke Simpson was on his guard with both taking on efforts, with the former denied by a smart save. The pendulum swung in favour of the hosts when Jack Osborne was adjudged to have handled Steels’ effort, after he had rounded goalkeeper Laurence Biboe. However, the Millers stopper picked himself up to deny Louis Almond from the spot with a good save with his legs. With the scores looking deadlocked as the game headed to the break, Muskwe had other ideas and put the Millers ahead in first half stoppage time. The forward, who has just returned from a Youth Loan with Sheffield FC made no mistake as he advanced into the area before striking an effort across the goalkeeper. After the restart, Thompson’s stray pass sent the away trialist clear through the right channel again, but he blazed over with only Simpson to beat and the Minstermen levelled just before the hour. On the hour, Almond sent in an inviting low cross from the right that Raul Correia took one touch to control before guiding a controlled finish into Bilboe’s bottom corner from six yards as the Rotherham net-minder came out to meet him. The introduction of Tom Maguire almost saw the Millers retake the lead 20 minutes from the end, but a heroic block from a York defender ensured his effort couldn’t reach it’s intended destination. On 81 minutes, Correia came close to a second goal, but his well-struck 12-yard drive was too close to Bilboe and sub Aaron Haswell could not force in the rebound. Wharton’s goal-bound volley was also cleared by Wiles, but Yates went closes to winning the game in stoppage time when his 20-yard drive flashed past Simpson's left-hand upright.

    Sean Gregan told York's official YouTube channel, "Louis Almond's been out a long time and Pars [Daniel Parslow] has not played a lot. It's important they all came through with no injuries and got minutes - and hopefully give the manager something to think about for selection at the weekend. "I don't think they've done themselves any harm. I think the performance, let alone the result on Saturday (at Curzon), was unacceptable. It wasn't good enough. It's a chance for lads who are out of the team to stake a claim. The manager was here and hopefully they've given him something to think about." Gregan also praised youngsters Harry Thompson and Vinnie Steels who impressed in midfield. "You get three types of players in these games - the lads trying to break into the team, lads who are out of the team, and lads who are coming back from injury. The attitude of the older pros was different class. Raul needed some games like Louis Almond, and young Harry Thompson in the middle of the park with Theo did very well. It was probably a fair result in the end and we are just pleased that the lads have got minutes under their belts. "Obviously, we had Vinnie at Darlington and he's got real potential. But that is the word. Remember, he's only a kid coming into full-time football. His body is still young but I think he showed glimpses of what he is all about. He's got great pace, a great left-foot, and he will be a good addition to the squad over the years."
    CITY Simpson; Law, Kamdjo, Parslow (C), Williams; Smith, Wharton, Thompson, Steels (Haswell 70); Correia, Almond; Sub (Unused): Rogerson, Wilton, McNaughton
    Refereee: D. Pill
    ROTHERHAM Bilboe; Osborn (Kayode 55), Southern-Cooper, Atherton, Purrington; Trialist (Maguire 63), Warren, Wiles, McGinley; Yates, Muskwe; Sub (Unused): McMahon, Hinds, Murr
    Attendance: TBC

  10. MIDDLESBROUGH U23 (NRSC QF, 06/03/18) (H (Bootham Crescent)) D 3-3 (Lost 3-0 on penalties)

    York City, unfortunate not to win over 90 minutes, lost a penalty shoot-out against Middlesbrough Under-23s tonight in the semi final of the Emmerson Marketing North Riding Senior Cup. City, who beat Boro Rangers in the quarter finals, fielded six senior players - Simpson, Connor Smith, Law, Theo Wharton, Kamdjo, and Correia - plus youngsters Josh Rogerson, Haswell, Flynn McNaughton, and Vinnie Steels. Boro, without anybody boasting senior appearances to their name, effectively fielded an Under 23 side. The match also serving as the second of Jon Parkin’s three-game suspension, meaning the 25-goal top scorer will now be available for next Tuesday night’s trip to Kidderminster after completing his ban this weekend with the home clash against Boston.

    The first chance fell to City following excellent wing play by Vinny Steels then saw him beat two players before reaching the byline and teeing up Correia, whose header cleared the crossbar. Moments later, Smith dragged a 20-yard effort wide, while Curry saw another opportunity blocked by Josh Rogerson. Aaron Haswell also curled wide from just outside the penalty area after Wharton and Correia had combined, before an overlapping Steels fired into the sidenetting following a Flynn McNaughton pass. On the quarter-hour mark, Simpson grabbed a firm low shot by Curry, but the Minstermen responded with Correia muscling himself into a shooting position, only to drill straight at Middlesbrough keeper Brad James. Correia's tenacity enabled him to steal the ball from Elsdon on the edge of the Boro penalty area after 26 minutes but the striker's shot hit the chest of goalkeeper James who dashed off his line to save. Smith shot narrowly wide after playing a one-two with Haswell before McNaughton's shot forced goalkeeper James to concede a corner. As the first half drew to a close, both keepers were called into action to gather Jay Wilson and Correia attempts. Despite enjoying the majority of the possession, City fell behind just before the interval when winger Mikael Soisalo broke through the right channel and his low shot found the net despite Simpson’s attempt to save with his legs. However, Kamdjo was unlucky not to equalise almost immediately for City when his flying header from a free kick was saved at point blank range.

    The hosts were bright after the restart with Haswell’s deflected drive going close. After Boro sub Bilal Brahimi booted a shot over the away end, Haswell also cut in from the right to test James following Kamdjo’s long diagonal pass. On 52 minutes, Correia smacked another shot at James after being set up by Wharton, while the visitors’ keeper was better tested by a firm Steels effort that he parried away. Haswell then curled the ball inches wide of Boro's far post after neatly bringing down a 40-yard pass from Wharton. Correia couldn’t guide a Haswell cross towards goal either, while Daniel Dodds’ strike at the other end was diverted off target by Law’s head. A deserved equaliser arrived on 66 minutes, though, when Kamdjo rose unchallenged to head powerfully past James from a right-wing Haswell corner. Moments later, Law hit the Longhurst roof from just inside the penalty box, while a Smith piledriver was pushed away by James and Correia saw his low shot cleared off the line by Elsdon. Law went closer on 75 minutes when his thumping free kick struck the outside of the post with a deflected free kick. But, with the home side in the ascendancy, a Simpson blunder two minutes later saw the visitors regain the lead. Sloppy play with his feet saw the City keeper gift possession to Layton Watts and his cross was tapped into an inviting net by Wearne. Thompson got City back on level terms, however, in emphatic fashion on 82 minutes, heading powerfully into James’ top-left corner from an inviting Smith free kick. Three minutes later, the Minstermen led for the first time on the night through an own goal when Smith swung in a free kick from the right and, after the ball bounced up, Elsdon’s attempt at a headed back pass bounced into James’ bottom-left corner. But penalties were forced in the fourth minute of stoppage time when referee Dane McCarick puzzled everyone by awarding a penalty for handball against City captain Clovis Kamdjo. Walker’s 12-yard effort was initially saved by Simpson, but the former England under-17 international followed up to net.

    3-3 after 90 minutes, Boro goalkeeper Brad James saved all three of City's penalty-kicks in the shoot-out from Raul Correia, Josh Law, and Aaron Haswell to win the shoot out by 3-0. Stephen Walker, Mitchell Curry and Layton Watts converted from 12 yards to book a final meeting with the winners of next week’s Thornaby and Scarborough Athletic clash.

    CITY: Simpson, Smith, Rogerson, Kamdjo (C), Law; Haswell, Thompson, Wharton; Steels, McNaughton, Correia; Sub (Unused): Berry, Wilton, Lawrence, Kemp, Watson
    Goals: Kamdjo (66), Thompson (82), Elsdon OG (86)
    MIDDLESBROUGH: James, Dodds, Robinson, Hegarty (Storey HT), Dale, Elsdon (C), Soisalo (Wearne 75), Watts, Walker, Curry, Wilson (Brahimi HT); Sub (Unused): Hood, Brynn
    Goals: Soisalo (45+1), Wearne (77), Walker (90+4)
    Penalty shoot-out goals: Walker, Curry, Watts.
    Refereee: Dane McCarrick
    Attendance: 151

  11. BRADFORD C (League, 20/03/18) (A (Bradford City’s Apperley Bridge training ground)) L 1-2
    Josh Law scored York City reserves’ consolation in a 2-1 Central League North defeat at Bradford City in a game that was originally meant to be a home fixture.
    Playing at left back, before switching sides late on, Law was one of five visiting players with first-team experience for the Minstermen, joining Connor Smith, Theo Wharton, Clovis Kamdjo and Raul Correia in a starting line-up that also included an unnamed attacking trialist. The League One hosts, meanwhile, fielded eight players with senior outings to their name this season for the Bantams. Former Leeds and Sheffield United winger Dominic Poleon was the most notable name, with Lukas Raeder, Jacob Hanson, Jordan Gibson, Daniel Devine, Joel Grodowski, Kai Bruenker and Daniel Pybus the others featuring at the West Yorkshire outfit’s training ground.

    The Bantams went in front on nineteen minutes with the first direct effort from either side. Following Poor defending, Joel Grodowski's low shot from just inside the area finding the net. Flynn McNaughton's reply was thwarted by German keeper Lukas Raeder, who then turned away Law's free-kick after Aaron Haswell had been stopped in his tracks following a forward burst before Connor Smith also forced a low save with a 20 yard shot. Goalscorer Grodowski next tried to catch Ryan Whitley off his line but only succeeded in lobbing wide. Bradford, watched by first-team boss Simon Grayson, doubled their lead on 42 minutes when Jordan Gibson scored from the penalty spot after youth-team skipper Josh Rogerson tripped Danny Devine. The first-half lead flattered Bradford and a brilliant reflex save from Raeder prevented Wharton’s thumping edge-of-the-box drive from reducing the deficit within seconds of the restart.

    Theo Wharton had a twenty-yard effort tipped over early in the second-half, with on loan Raul Correia, who struggled to make an impression, later comfortably off-target from even further out. Another Law free-kick was then diverted behind, until Josh Law, the former Oldham Athletic, Motherwell and Alfreton Town full-back pulled a goal back with a 63rd minute 15 yard angled drive off the far post and into the bottom left corner. York's ranks had included an unnamed trialist who saw a further distance attempt fended off by Raeder, while McNaughton teed up an overlapping Haswell for a free shot on goal from 15 yards, but he failed to hit the target before Whitley denied Gibson from close-range at the other end. City’s last chances of an equaliser, meanwhile, saw McNaugthon shoot wastefully over and Raeder push away a floating attempt from the trialist.

    CITY: Whitley; Smith, Rogerson, Kamdjo, Law; Thompson, Wharton, Haswell (Berry, 81); McNaugthon, Correia (Lawrence, 78), Trialist. Sub (Unused): Kemp, Wilton
    Goals: Law (63)
    BRADFORD C: Raeder, Hefele, Farrar, Hawkes, Gunner, Hanson, Gibson, Devine (Powell 46), Grodowski (Pybus 46), Bruenker (Ellis-Hudson 46), Poleon. Sub (Unused): Sykes-Kenworthy, Webb-Foster
    Goals: Grodowski (19), Gibson (pen 42)
    Refereee: TBC
    Attendance: TBC

  12. HARTLEPOOL (League, 28/03/18) (A) L 1-2

    Clovis Kamdjo crowned his sixth reserve outing since coming back from cruciate and anterior knee ligament damage with a goal in York City reserves’ 2-1 defeat at Hartlepool. It was the second time the former Forest Green utility man, who captained the team from centre back, has been on target for City’s second string during his two-month playing return.

    Kamdjo was one of three players in the visitors’ line-up boasting first-team experience, with Connor Smith and Theo Wharton the others. The remainder comprised of youth team players, including teenage winger Noah Jackson returning after recovering from a broken foot, but he was the victim of a rash challenge by Miller and lasted only eight minutes. For Hartlepool, only centre-back Jacob Owen, had featured in Pool’s senior team this term, as an 89th-minute substitute in a National League fixture at Barrow a week earlier.

    Teenage City keeper Ryan Whitley was forced into the first save of the afternoon, gathering a 25-yard Lewis Orrell attempt. Just before the quarter-hour mark, Zac Lawrence’s clearance then struck home forward Liam Travers and ricocheted just wide of Whitley’s goal. In response, Flynn McNaughton dragged off target from 15 yards for the Minstermen and Pool keeper Ryan Catterick was quick off his line to deny Vinnie Steels after the winger had exchanged passes with Aaron Haswell. Whitley kept the scores level just past the half-hour point when he excellently palmed a curling, edge-of-the-box Ryan Robinson effort around his left-hand upright. A 25-yard shot from right back Miller soared over the away crossbar, before he opened the scoring on 37 minutes. Then Brook Miller drilled a low shot into Whitley’s bottom-left corner from just outside the penalty area after Kamdjo had failed to deal with a cleared corner. At the other end, McNaughton went close with a glancing header from Steels’ left-wing centre and, after Harry Thompson’s deflected shot went out for a corner, City manufactured an equaliser. Lawrence’s inswinging corner from the right was attacked by Clovis Kamdjo and he headed past Catterick from five yards. The Minstermen went on to finish the half strongly with a McNaughton shot diverted away from goal and Smith driving just wide from 20 yards.

    That momentum was not taken into the second half, though, as both teams struggled to attack with any incision. Smith was withdrawn just past the hour, with City’s Easter fixtures in mind, but his replacement Noah Jackson lasted just eight minutes after becoming the victim of a horrendous challenge by Miller that wasn’t even deemed a foul when it should have been a red-card offence. On 76 minutes, hapless referee Craig Sperring then disallowed a perfectly legitimate goal when McNaughton stole the ball off a dallying Catterick’s toes and netted, only for the official to signal a foul and then book Thompson during the inevitable protests. 2 minutes later, Kamdjo was substituted after picking up a knock, but the injury is not thought to be serious. Josh Berry went on to see a 20-yard opportunity deflected wide and a weak long-range Steels shot failed to trouble Catterick. As the game entered the closing stages, Robinson screwed wide for the hosts and, with 90 minutes up, a charging Wharton somehow steered off target, using the outside of his boot from seven yards when one-on-one against Catterick. But, in the seventh minute of stoppage time, primarily added on for the Jackson injury, Thompson was penalised for a foul and, after Whitley parried Jon Weir’s lowly driven free kick, Josh Bayne was at the front of a queue of three home players to prod into the inviting goal.

    CITY: Whitley; Kemp, Rogerson, Kamdjo (Watson, 78), Lawrence; Smith (Jackson, 62, Berry 70), Wharton, Thompson, Steels (Overton, 85); Haswell, McNaughton. Sub (Unused): Wilton
    Goals: Kamdjo (43)
    HARTLEPOOL: Catterick, Miller, Holliday, Orrell, Bayne, Owen, Robinson, Wiers, Travers (Jackson 23), Boyle, Short. Sub (Unused): Stephenson.
    Goals: Miller (37), Bayne (90)
    Refereee: Craig Sperring
    Attendance: TBC

  13. GRIMSBY (League, 11/04/18) (H (Bootham Crescent)) D 1-1
    Teenage striker Flynn McNaughton further pressed his claims for a full senior debut after scoring for the reserves during a 1-1 draw with Grimsby.
    McNaughton, who made a third successive first-team substitute appearance during the previous evening's 1-0 National League North defeat at Nuneaton, netted at Bootham Crescent to open the scoring in the Central League fixture. Grimsby striker Rumarn Burrell made sure the shares were spoiled against a host team that fielded four players with first-team experience – McNaughton, the previous night's debutant Vinnie Steels, Theo Wharton and Raul Correia. The visitors included only one player boasting first-team experience – 17-year-old defender Emil Powles, who came on as an 88th-minute substitute appearance during November’s 1-1 Football League Trophy draw against Sunderland under-21. Former Minstermen and current Grimsby coaches Neil Woods and Andy Warrington were both in the away dugout.

    The home side, with coach Sean Gregan employing a 4-4-2 system, made the early running with McNaughton’s cross from the right sidefooted wide at the near post by Correia, who otherwise made little impact against the visitors' novice back four all afternoon. At the other end, Grimsby hit the woodwork after four minutes when Wharton's attempted clearance near the corner flag struck Burrell and rebounded onto the top of the crossbar. Harry Thompson, who captained the City team, also drilled wide from the edge of the box after Steels’ corner had been cleared. At the other end, Brandon Buckley curled a 30-yard free kick over, but it was the Minstermen who forged in front on 19 minutes. Nimble footwork by Steels took him past Tom Jamieson to reach the byline, where he pulled the ball back for McNaughton to steer a first-time, seven-yard shot into Mariners keeper Ollie Battersby’s bottom-left corner. But the visitors were level on 32 minutes when last man Jake Watson lost the ball to Rumarn Burrell who sidefooted through Ryan Whitley’s legs. Buckley - the grandson of former Grimsby boss Alan - then hit Whitley’s near post after receiving a short corner from Conley Poynter.

    After the break, Powles headed wide from a Lewis Collins free kick and, after McNaughton found the sidenetting from an unfavourable angle, Poynter drilled a diagonal attempt wide for Grimsby. Jock Curran also headed over Whitley’s goal and a speculative Tom Sawyer drive flew too high, while sub Joe Starbuck’s low shot lacked the pace to trouble City’s teenage keeper. At the other end, a curling 74th minute Thompson free kick was pushed behind by Battersby and, after Collins failed to extend Whitley from distance, Aaron Haswell's firm drive was kept out at the near post by the Grimsby keeper for the last action of the contest.
    CITY Whitley; Dyer, Rogerson, Watson, Lawrence; Haswell, Thompson (C), Wharton, Steels (Harrison 61); Correia, McNaughton (Berry 77); Sub (Unused): Wilton, Overton, Cawthorn
    GRIMSBY Battersby; Jamieson, Keeble, Powles, Saunders (Hope 67); Sawyer (C), Collins, Richardson (Curran 58), Buckley; Burrell, Poynter (Starbuck 62); Sub (Unused): Pollock
    Refereee: Darren Whatling
    Attendance: TBC

  14. MORECAMBE (League, 24/04/18) (A (Kendal Town FC)) L 1-2

    Academy midfielder Nathan Dyer gave York City reserves the lead during a 2-1 Central League defeat against Morecambe in a game played at Kendal Town FC.

    City fielded three players with first-team experience – Raul Correia, Flynn McNaughton and Clovis Kamdjo. League Two strugglers Morecambe only included one player, meanwhile, with senior games under his belt – 21-year-old winger Reece Deakin, who has made one substitute appearance in the League Cup this season and a couple of outings in the Football League Trophy.

    Aaron Haswell headed over in the very first minute of the contest from a right-wing Josh Berry cross, while Morecambe went close just past the half-hour mark with a well-struck, long-range Deakin attempt that narrowly cleared the crossbar. Winger Haswell also drove wide from 25 yards, before home striker Kyle Hawley shot wastefully wide after charging clear through the right channel with Ryan Whitley out of his goal. The Minstermen went on to forge ahead on 25 minutes when Nathan Dyer drove into the home box after exchanging passes with McNaugthon and stabbed past Shrimps keeper Niall Maher from ten yards. Hawley missed an unbelievable chance on the half-hour mark when he steered the ball wide on the goal-line after Leif Davis had combined well with Ezeikel Eme down the left. A cross by Deakin then saw the hapless Hawley shin off target from ten yards. An off-balance Jagne also sliced hopelessly wide from the edge of the box and Ben Hedley’s 15-yard attempt was comfortably dealt with by Whitley. Deakin ended the half by brushing the top of the City netting with a free kick and forcing Whitley into action after more good work by Davis.

    After the break, Sagne had two early opportunities, directing a right-wing Nathan Dutton-Kay cross at Whitley, who was guarding his near post and also aiming straight at the City keeper from 12 yards. It was a case of third time lucky, though, for Lamin Jagne on 54 minutes, as the impressive Davis charged past Joe Kemp and Josh Rogerson through the left channel before crossing for the Morecambe striker who curled into Whitley’s bottom corner from ten yards. After the restart, Correia’s powerful drive was parried away by Maher, while further efforts by Sagne and Hedley only requiring routine saves from Whitley. For City, sub Aston Harrison’s long-range drive was gathered by Maher, while Young dragged wide with only Whitley to beat and Hedley missed the target from distance. Harrison also flashed an edge-of-the-box half-volley over and Ellis Jones did the same for Morecambe, while Davis drove wide of the near post following another left-wing raid. The Shrimps secured victory from the last attack of the game when Kaleb Young shrugged off the attentions of City midfielder Harry Thompson from a throw-in and drilled a low shot in off Whitley's left-hand post from eight yards.
    CITY Whitley, Kemp, Watson, Rogerson, Kamdjo (Harrison 61), Dyer, Thompson, Berry, Haswell, Correia, McNaughton; Sub (Unused): Wilton, Harrison
    MORECAMBE Line Up; TBC
    Refereee: TBC
    Attendance: TBC

  15. DONCASTER (League, 01/05/18) (H (Bootham Crescent)) W 3-2

    York City’s reserves completed their EFL Central League North season with a 3-2 home win over Doncaster Rovers at Bootham Crescent in their last game before the side is disbanded due to financial constraints. Flynn McNaughton bagged an impressive brace.

    City's options had been dramatically reduced just 24 hours earlier by the release of nine senior players and three loanees. In addition, City were without the services of four Academy players due to injuries - Aaron Haswell, Zac Lawrence, Noah Jackson and Isaac Overton. Teenage pair Vinnie Steels (16) and McNaughton (17) were the only home players with first-team experience, following the previous day’s out-of-contract cull. City ended the game with substitute goalkeeper Joe Wilton in attack. Doncaster included three in their starting line-up with League One experience under their belt this season – Fletcher, Danny Andrew and Tyler Garratt – while Cody Prior had also featured in the Football League Trophy.

    The visitors made all the early running, but Andrew and Prior were both wayward with long-attempts, before Fletcher opened the scoring on 19 minutes from the penalty spot. Josh Rogerson, trying his best to get back and challenge a clear-through Reeves Boocock, only succeeded in leaning into the Rovers striker and Fletcher firmly despatched the resulting spot kick into Ryan Whitley’s bottom-left corner. Shortly afterwards, the away team’s trialist dragged wide from 15 yards and then forced Whitley into a parry, which saw Myron Gibbons sidefoot over an empty goal from the rebound. Flynn McNaughton threatened at the opposite end but keeper Louis Jones hurried out to meet the danger. Fletcher also lifted an edge-of-the-box effort over after cleverly working himself into an opening and Gibbons called Whitley into action at his near post, before testing the home keeper reflexes more seriously with a strong drive that was impressively pushed behind. From the resulting Andrew corner, Fletcher headed wide at the near post.

    After the interval, Whitley once again rescued City with a fine stop from Gibbons before Doncaster’s trialist glanced a header inches wide from Andrew’s left-wing cross. Josh Berry equalised from the spot on 52 minutes, driving the resulting penalty firmly to Doncaster keeper Louis Jones’ left, after McNaughton had set off on a good run through the left channel and squared for Aston Harrison, who was shoved over by Cameron Baldock-Smith. Moments later, Berry headed over from a Steels cross and, on 56 minutes, the Minstermen forged in front with a brilliant 25-yard shot on the turn by McNaughton that found Jones’ bottom-right corner after Jake Watson had raided down the left. Berry headed over from a Steels cross after Whitley frustrated Boocock, although Rovers had an opportunity to equalise from their second penalty but Fletcher was denied by Whitley. After unhappy Doncaster first-team boss Darren Ferguson made his way from the directors’ box to the dugout to instruct the visitors to pass the ball more, Berry then drove wide from distance for City. Gibbons should have done better for Rovers when he blazed over after springing the offside trap through the right channel. But the away side had a great chance to level on 72 minutes after Jack Cawthorn slid into a tackle on the trialist and took his legs instead of the ball. Fletcher again assumed responsibility from 12 yards, but his shot down the middle was comfortably parried away by Whitley. After 73 minutes, York’s substitute keeper Joe Wilton, the only home sub, immediately replaced injured left-back Jake Watson and was stationed up front in a personnel reshuffle. After 79 minutes, However, it was McNaughton grabbing his second of the contest when converting Harry Thompson’s pass inside. Chasing Harry Thompson’s ball down the right channel, McNaughton cut inside Baldock-Smith before firing a clinical ten-yard finish into Jones’ bottom-right corner. Steels then tried to beat Jones at his near post, before the Rovers trialist rounded Whitley and hit the outside of an upright from a narrowing angle before the triallist pulled a late goal back with five minutes remaining.

    The fixture will be City's last in the Central League for the forseeable future following the decision to enter an Under-19 side in the Youth Alliance League next season. The win narrowly faied to lift out of 10th and last place in the league.

    CITY Whitley, Kemp, Watson (Wilton 72), Dyer, Rogerson, Cawthorn, Berry, Thompson, McNaughton, Harrison, Steels; Sub (Unused): -
    Goals: Berry (pen 52), McNaughton (56, 79)
    DONCASTER Jones, Foulkes, Andrew, Fletcher, Baldock-Smith, Garratt, Prior, Horton, Boocock (Sanyang 78), Trialist, Gibbons; Sub (Unused): James, Ogley
    Goals: Fletcher (pen 19), Trialist (85)
    Refereee: Matthew Sowerby
    Attendance: TBC

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