JOHN McREADY marked his return from injury with a brace in York City’s 3-0 North Riding Senior Cup quarter-final victory over Northallerton Town last night.
The 20-year-old midfielder, who dislocated his shoulder back in mid-September, also completed 83 minutes during his comeback game at Bootham Crescent.
In between McReady’s goals, youth-team winger Reece Kelly got his name on the scoresheet as well during a comfortable night for City’s second string.
The hosts paired teenage professionals Tom Platt and Tom Allan in the centre of defence with Lanre Oybanjo at right-back.
Experienced duo Lee Bullock and Jon Challinor lined up in midfield with McReady and Kelly on the flanks of a three-pronged front-line, spearheaded by Jamie Reed.
A quiet start to the match saw Jordan Outerbidge have the first chance of the evening, from a Challinor crossfield ball, but Northallerton ’keeper James Briggs did well to smother at his feet.
Just past the half-hour mark, Kelly curled narrowly wide after bursting down the left wing to collect Reed’s through ball.
A 35th-minute mix-up between Briggs and left-back Stephen Banks then gifted the hosts an opening goal.
Banks’ poorly-struck pass back saw Briggs only able to clear the ball as far as McReady, who pounced to find an empty net from eight yards.
Two efforts by Reed followed – the first a powerful 35-yard drive saved by Briggs and the next an edge-of-the-box lob that drifted wide – before Kelly doubled City’s advantage.
The second-year scholar finished a one-on-one chance with composure, finding Briggs’ bottom left-hand corner from ten yards two minutes before the interval.
Northallerton managed their first goal attempt of the match on 53 minutes, but an unchallenged James Bowman headed wide from six yards.
At the other end, Outerbridge called Briggs into action at his near post from 15 yards and Allan drove over from distance.
McReady was also denied by Briggs’ legs after running on to a Challinor through ball before Peter Bulmer twice went close for the Northern League second division outfit.
Left-winger Bulmer’s first chance was deflected narrowly wide and, from the resulting corner, he had a second opportunity blocked on the line by Allan.
But City extended their lead on 69 minutes with Kelly’s excellent inswinging cross from the left picking out Oyebanjo at the far post.
The former Histon right-back’s low first-time centre then gave McReady a tap-in in front of goal.
Challinor was unfortunate not to add a fourth moments later when he hit Briggs’ left-hand post from 30 yards.
York City: Musselwhite, Oyebanjo, Platt, Allan, Outerbridge (D Middleton, 83), Challinor, Bullock, Banks, McReady (Moncur, 83), Reed, Kelly (Weir, 73). Subs not used: Archer, B Middleton.