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Gary Mills hails York City's ‘crazy’ 2-1-7 formation
YORK City manager Gary Mills hailed a crazy “2-1-7” formation after his team grabbed a 95th-minute equaliser in Saturday’s 2-2 home draw with Chesterfield.
The Minstermen piled forward to try to snatch a point in stoppage time against a Chesterfield side that had twice taken the lead through Sam Hird and Craig Westcarr.
Michael Coulson’s first equaliser had earlier been wiped out within a minute but, when Jason Walker volleyed home City’s spectacular second at the death, there was no time for the visitors to respond again.
Paying tribute to his team’s enduring desire never to accept defeat, Mills said: “Nothing changes does it? We never give up and we’ve brought that character from last season into this one.
“I was glad when I saw four minutes go up on the board and Chris Smith winning that far-post header for Jason Walker to score a superb goal is what we’re all about. I’m delighted for everybody.
“I couldn’t tell you what system we were playing at the end. I haven’t got a clue – it was something like 2-1-7. It could have gone either way. We could have lost 3-1 or 4-1 but I would rather gamble and get a goal back than accept a 2-1 defeat.”
Mills had earlier dispensed with his favoured 4-3-3 formation at half-time, switching to 4-4-2 after starting with Matty Blair as a midfielder in place of Paddy McLaughlin, who was away with Northern Ireland under-21s on international duty, captaining his country in a 3-1 home defeat to Macedonia on Friday.
But Blair was switched to a more familiar right-wing role in the second half, as Ashley Chambers partnered Walker in attack.
On that move, Mills said: “You know what you will get from Blairy. He’s a good, whole-hearted player with plenty of energy.
“We were flexible with him playing in midfield because he could swap with Ash Chambers and Couls in that role and he did okay. It was a big decision to go with him in there, but I’d do it again if I had to do.
“I changed it though and put four up front for the second half because sometimes you have to mix things up to hurt teams by playing another way and I wanted to get their defenders turning towards their goal a bit more.”
Mills admitted that he was disappointed with the manner of Chesterfield’s two goals but did not want to be over critical after his team’s efforts against three of League Two’s fancied teams in the space of eight days.
He said: “We were giving Chesterfield the opportunity to put too many free-kicks, corners and long throws into our box in the first half and you can’t keep coming under that pressure and hope to get away with it, especially with the quality of Craig Westcarr’s deliveries and that’s how we conceded the first goal. The second goal also looked poor but that’s being negative.
“It was so hot on Saturday and it’s a credit to all the players that they have come back from behind twice in that heat to get a point on the back of two hard-fought wins. We got two great goals to get a massive, massive point and we would have taken two wins and a draw from three matches against Oxford, Rotherham and Chesterfield.”
Mills went on to praise Walker for his point-winning strike, adding: “I am pleased for him because he’s come in for some criticism from a few places recently but it’s tough up there on your own and he worked hard again on Saturday after being excellent in the second half at Rotherham.”
Fellow striker Jamie Reed , meanwhile, enjoyed his first run out of the season after recovering from a hamstring injury as an 81st-minute substitute with Mills glad to have him back in the fold.
The City chief said: “He was training very well and looking sharp until he got his injury and, even though he had only trained a couple of days, we felt it was the right time to put him on the bench. We haven’t got a lot of attacking options so I gave him his usual ten minutes which he will thank me for but, for once, Jason got the goal and not him.”
City have been drawn at home to Coventry in the second round of the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy with the game due to be played in the week of October 8.