YORK City boss Nigel Worthington hailed John McCombe’s goal threat as the big centre-back bagged a brace during yesterday’s 4-0 thumping of ten-man Plymouth.
The 28-year-old defender claimed his second double of the season at Home Park, having also netted twice for previous club Mansfield prior to his transfer window move to Bootham Crescent.
McCombe pounced in between Wes Fletcher and Josh Carson efforts for the visitors during a rampant performance against a Plymouth team who had Neal Trotman sent off after just 11 minutes.
On McCombe’s goal nous, Worthington said: “Having watched John for Port Vale on many occasions, the one thing you learn about him is, if the ball is put into the opposition’s box with any quality from set-pieces, he won’t be far away from it. It was a nice glancing header for the first and he was there to stick the ball in the net for his second as well.
“We’ve talked about the need for goals from more departments and he provided that on Saturday.”
Worthington also applauded Fletcher for his nerve after the 22-year-old forward converted his fourth penalty of the season to set City on their way, maintaining his 100 per cent record from the spot for the club after Trotman tripped Ryan Bowman to prevent a goalscoring opportunity.
“It could have been a different game if the penalty hadn’t gone in,” Worthington reasoned. “But he steps on to the ball and is confident.
“He’s positive and backs himself and he’s got to keep that going, keep creating chances for the team and keep getting into the box on the end of them.”
The City chief added that he was impressed by his side’s professional approach in capitalising fully on their numerical advantage with McCombe doubling the lead on the stroke of half-time before getting on the scoresheet a second time, along with Carson, during the closing stages.
Worthington said: “Plymouth is always a tough place to come and, whether it’s for or against you, you never like to see a player sent off. I’ve also been in the situation where you are playing against ten men many a time as a player and a manager and the opposition can make it very difficult for you.
“Plymouth kept their shape and worked hard and, at half-time, we told the players they needed to stay professional, disciplined and keep things simple, so it’s full credit to them that they did that. You can’t take anything for granted in this game and each player knew and fulfilled their role.
“There was a lot of good, passing football and we used the whole pitch, which was good. It’s nice to score as many goals as we have done and, on another day, we might have had another two or three but it was a pleasing result and a great three points.”
Despite the Minstermen moving into the top half of the table and eight points behind the play-off positions, compared to ten above the relegation zone, Worthington insisted there can be no complacency about the club’s current standing.
“It’s a tight league,” he pointed out.
“Thirty-nine points is good but there’s a wealth of teams below us who have played two or three games less than we have done, so it’s important to go on a run because we could soon find ourselves sitting in the bottom five or six otherwise and we have got to pick up where we’ve left off now against Southend on Saturday.
“I think we are a decent team but that’s as far as I am willing to go because it’s important that feet stay on the ground and our work ethic remains the same.”
Having signed a contract extension in the build-up to the match, Carson was also praised for his timely return to goalscoring ways, netting for the first time since November with a 25-yard blockbuster.
“I said before the game ‘it’s been a while since you scored’,” Worthington revealed. “He agreed and told me he would be trying to get a goal, so good for him.”