SCOTLAND international Chris Maguire forced an own goal and scored a speculative 30-yard strike as York City went down 2-0 to Sheffield Wednesday in their first pre-season friendly.
Last season’s The Press Player of the Year Keith Lowe headed Maguire’s 26th-minute free-kick past summer signing Jason Mooney for the Owls’ first goal.
Man-mountain Mooney will then have been a little disappointed with his attempt to keep out Maguire’s long-range pot-shot as the Championship visitors completed the afternoon’s scoring two minutes before the break.
Aside from Maguire’s contributions and the lively darts of Jacques Maghoma down the left flank, though, City were relatively untroubled by manager Nigel Worthington’s old club and it would be a surprise if the Owls finish higher than their hosts in their respective divisions next term.
With the exception of the injured Dave Winfield, Worthington showcased all his summer signings, although midfielder Luke Summerfield had to wait until the interval before being given his first run out for the Minstermen.
Summerfield responded with an enthusiastic second-half performance, while Jake Hyde also impressed with his hold-up play before tiring prior to his 77th-minute replacement by youth-team scholar Callum Rzonca.
The game kicked off in familiar fashion with City skipper Russell Penn executing an excellent edge-of-the-box challenge to snuff out an early chance for Gary Madine, who went on to head over from Jeremy Helan’s left-wing cross.
Michael Coulson’s curling 20-yard shot was then a comfortable height for one-time England international Chris Kirkland to catch after Marvin McCoy had picked out Hyde with an accurate forward pass.
On 23 minutes, an off-balance Lindon Meikle missed the target from just outside the penalty area before Stuart Gray’s men forged ahead.
Ex-Burton flier Maghoma was hauled to the ground by McCoy as he sped for the by-line and, with set-piece drills normally saved until later in pre-season, City struggled to handle Maguire’s inswinging delivery and Lowe headed past a helpless Mooney.
After Penn’s six-yard header only required another routine stop from Kirkland, Madine should have done better than fire straight at Mooney when offered a clear sight of the home goal and McCoy went on to block another effort by the former Carlisle forward.
But Wednesday doubled their advantage on 43 minutes when Maguire tried his luck from distance and Mooney was unable to reach the ex-Aberdeen playmaker’s effort in time to stop the ball flying inside his left-hand upright.
Michael Ingham was given his chance to impress between the sticks for the second half and saw fellow sub Caolan Lavery sidefoot wide from six yards on the restart.
An enticing corner by Summerfield was then headed wide at the far post by Lowe, while Lavery escaped the latter’s attentions at the other end but his scuffed shot did not stretch Ingham.
On 67 minutes, Michail Antonio dashed inside Femi Ilesanmi but Ingham saved the former Reading winger’s low drive with a trailing leg.
Moments later, Lowe blocked Atdhe Nuhiu’s goalbound effort brilliantly after the 6ft 6in Austrian had showed a surprising deftness to leave Summerfield on his backside in the City penalty box.
Lowe was again on hand to clear a Lavery header that had beaten Ingham, who was equal, shortly afterwards, to a downward Nuhiu header that reared up off the turf.
For City, teenage striker Rzonca displayed eagerness to charge through the right channel on 86 minutes and force substitute keeper Joe Wildsmith to push out his angled shot across goal before Ingham ensured he finished the game without conceding by keeping out Jack Stobbs’ angled shot at his near post.
York City: Mooney (Ingham, 46), McCoy (Morley, 81), Lowe, McCombe, Ilesanmi, Meikle (Summerfield, 46), Penn (Montrose, 46), Platt (Hirst, 86), Straker (Murray, 69), Hyde (Rzonca, 77), Coulson (Jarvis, 46).
Sheffield Wednesday: Chris Kirkland (Joe Wildsmith, 59), Liam Palmer (Atdhe Nuhiu, 46), Sam Hutchinson (Caolan Lavery, 46), Joe Mattock (Matt Young, 81), Jeremy Helan (Rafa Flord, 59), Giles Coke (Paul Corry, 68), Jose Semedo (Ed Sanders, 75), Chris Maguire (Michail Antonio, 46), Jacques Maghoma (Jack Stobbs, 59), Gary Madine (Rhys McCabe, 46), Achille Campion (Kieran Lee, 46).
Referee: Ross Joyce.
Attendance: 3,312 (1,993 away fans).