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Accrington 1, York City 1
Accrington Stanley’s Nicky Hunt, right, tangles with York City winger Josh Carson during yesterday’s 1-1 Sky Bet League Two draw at the Crown Ground
HAD anybody placed a £1 accumulator on York City to draw their last five games then they would be at least £525 richer this morning.
That is how unlikely the Minstermen’s current sequence of results is in football after their Boxing Day clash at Accrington Stanley finished 1-1 and, having shared the spoils in a consecutive quintet of matches, only lowly Sky Bet League One outfit Bristol City, from this country’s top five divisions, have finished with honours even in as many fixtures during 2013/14.
Both clubs have drawn ten league matches with Nigel Worthington’s men having now finished level after 90 minutes during eight of their last ten contests.
A struggle to turn draws into victories continues to hamper City’s progress during their second season back as a Football League outfit, as does an inability to hold on to leads.
George Bowerman’s equaliser in first-half stoppage time, following Wes Fletcher’s 35th-minute penalty, means the Minstermen have now surrendered 16 points from winning positions this term.
This latest draw, like the previous one at home to promotion-chasing Oxford, was at least a fair outcome following an evenly-fought contest at the Crown Ground.
Due to Marcus Bettinelli’s recall to Fulham, where he was needed as cover for former Minsterman David Stockdale, Accrington gave a full Football League debut to 19-year-old rookie Andrew Dawber in goal and he was called into action after only eight minutes, saving low to his left from Lewis Montrose following a right-wing raid by Lanre Oyebanjo.
At the other end, Accrington threatened with right-back Nicky Hunt firing over from the edge of the box after a strong diagonal run.
Aaron McCarey then did well to keep out James Gray’s far post header from a Lee Naylor corner, which was needlessly conceded when Luke O’Neill hurled a firm throw-in back to the unprepared on-loan Wolves ’keeper.
But the Minstermen forged in front from a penalty won after a patient passing move ended with David McGurk’s cross from the right-wing.
Fletcher collected the centre and attempted to turn past Dean Winnard but was dragged down by the Stanley centre-back and referee Mark Heywood pointed to the spot with no hesitation.
The former Accrington loan striker then planted his spot kick firmly to Dawber’s left in front of a delighted visitors’ end.
Josh Carson went on to try his luck with a 35-yard free-kick that Dawber parried low to his right but, as half-time approached, Bowerman signalled an initial warning when he held off Keith Lowe during a strong run to the edge of the box before driving over with two team-mates running untracked on the overlap.
The hosts drew level, though, with seconds left before the break when Kai Naismith’s dangerous ball from the left caused a scramble in City’s penalty box and Bowerman escaped from McGurk before scuffing a shot through a crowd of bodies and into McCarey’s bottom left-hand corner from eight yards. Michael Coulson was introduced for the second period with the intention to provide more attacking impetus for City but he squandered an excellent opportunity only 37 seconds after the restart.
Picked out by a diagonal O’Neill cross from the right, Coulson had only Dawber to beat eight yards from goal but headed wastefully wide.
Shortly afterwards, Gray sprung the visitors’ offside trap but prodded wide from eight yards after McCarey had charged out to meet him following a Bowerman through ball.
Carson also sprinted through the left channel to race on to a ball from Fletcher but fired high into the sidenetting for the visitors.
Other chances saw a pair of O’Neill efforts fly high and wide from the edge of the box while, in between, Naismith’s swerving 20-yard shot was kept out by McCarey and Hunt hoisted into a mocking away end from a similar distance.
On 70 minutes, former Hereford striker Ryan Bowman was handed his first outing following a four-match suspension but the Minstermen went on to finish the match with only an own goal and penalty to show for their attacking efforts from the last five fixtures.
Accrington 1, York City 1
Aaron McCarey 7
Made a smart first-half save to deny Gray, although kicking was a little suspect on occasions.
Luke O’Neill 7
Largely reliable defensively and teed up Coulson for an excellent second-half chance.
Keith Lowe 7
STAR MAN – cleared his lines at every opportunity and rarely let an opponent escape his attentions.
David McGurk 7
Caught a little off-guard for Accrington equaliser, but dealt with pretty much everything else that was asked of him.
Ben Davies 7
Made some telling tackles and interceptions to keep Accrington’s threat down the right to a minimum.
Lanre Oyebanjo 6
Sometimes defended a little deep in first half, allowing Naylor room to maraud forward from
Lewis Montrose 6
Might have done better with early chance and some of his long passes were a little off radar.
Elliott Whitehouse 6
Kept busy and combative but struggled to create much for his team in the final third of the pitch.
Josh Carson 7
Industrious down the flanks and threatened to grab himself a goal on a couple of occasions.
Ryan Jarvis 6
Found it hard to make an impact in attack and never really threatened to get himself on the
Wes Fletcher 7
His tenacity and enthusiasm won the visitors’ penalty that he despatched with confidence.
Subs: Michael Coulson 5 – wasteful (for Oyebanjo, 46), Ryan Bowman 6 – quiet (for Jarvis, 70). Not used: Ashley Chambers, Sander Puri, Jamal Fyfield, Michael Ingham, Tom Platt.
Andrew Dawber, Nicky Hunt, Tom Aldred, Dean Winnard, Lee Naylor, Piero Mingoia, Peter Murphy, Luke Joyce, Kai Naismith, George Bowerman, James Gray (Daniel Webber, 70). Subs not used: Michael Liddle, Shay McCartan, Michael Richardson, Will Hatfield, Josh Windass, Rob Atkinson.
Star man: Lee Naylor – prepared to join in attacks from deep.Referee: Mark Heywood (Cheshire).
Rating: 8/10 – possibly gave the best performance on the pitch.
Booked: Dean Winnard 35, Nicky Hunt 41.
Sent off: None.
Attendance: 2,009 (717 from City).
Shots on target: Accrington 3, City 6.
Shots off target: Accrington 10, City 6.
Corners: Accrington 4, City 7.
Fouls conceded: Accrington 5, City 7.
Offsides: Accrington 2, City 2.
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