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Match report: York City 0, Fleetwood 2
FLEETWOOD Town have now kept York City off the scoresheet in three consecutive meetings after winning 2-0 at Bootham Crescent last night.
Last season’s Blue Square Bet Premier champions somehow withstood an avalanche of City pressure in a one-sided opening half-hour but, having taken the lead completely against the run of play through Junior Brown on 36 minutes, went on to secure victory thanks to a late Steven Gillespie strike.
The Cod Army produced a professional second-half display but the Minstermen should still take heart from their performance having played the pre-season title League Two title favourites off the park during the opening exchanges.
City manager Gary Mills was forced into one change from the side that started Saturday’s 2-0 win at Aldershot with a thigh muscle injury for Lanre Oyebanjo seeing Jon Challinor return at right-back.
For the visitors, ex-City striker Jon Parkin was named on the bench.
Fleetwood spent most of the first half chasing shadows as City set a breakneck speed from the first whistle with Matty Blair unlucky not to claim a hat-trick within the opening five minutes.
His first chance came after just 40 seconds when great skill from Jason Walker sat Cod Army captain Steve McNulty on his backside close to the left touchline.
Walker then picked out Blair’s lung-busting charge from the middle of the park but visiting ’keeper Scott Davies sprinted off his line to smother at the City man’s feet.
Still in the second minute, Blair had a close-range far-post effort blocked following good work by Michael Coulson and Ashley Chambers fired wide at the end of a positive run.
An excellent Coulson free-kick from the left then found Blair unmarked at the far post but he could not direct his diving header on target.
City continued to attack relentlessly with Jamal Fyfield dashing forward to race on to Coulson’s measured pass with the outside of his boot but Davies was again alert to save the left-back’s low drive.
Coulson did beat Davies on nine minutes but his curling 25-yard attempt thudded against the crossbar and referee Gary Sutton waved away strong home appeals for a penalty when Challinor’s right-wing cross appeared to be handled.
Irish midfielder Paddy McLaughlin was the next to try his luck for City, flashing a terrific long-range shot just wide of Davies’ top left-hand corner and the home bench were all on their feet to remonstrate with Sutton’s assistant on 18 minutes when an incredible 60-yard crossfield pass from Fyfield appeared to have sent Blair clear on the opposite flank only for an errant offside flag to be raised.
Proving football can be the cruellest of games, however, it was Fleetwood who forged ahead on 36 minutes with their only first-half shot of any description.
Left-winger Brown unleashed a 25-yard effort that appeared to take the faintest of deflections off Challinor before beating Michael Ingham high to his right.
The visitors, who went into this match having only conceded once on their league travels all season, were always going to relish defending a lead and the momentum of the game changed after the break.
On 51 minutes, Blair’s ambitious 35-yard half-volley sailed over Davies’ crossbar but, at the other end, Jamie McGuire’s header forced Ingham’s first save of the night.
Ingham was a relieved man, however, moments later.
After Coulson lost possession in the Fleetwood half, an Alex Marrow through ball lured Ingham off his line.
But hesitation from the City ’keeper allowed David Ball to skip around him, only for the former Peterborough forward to hit a post with the goal gaping.
Chris Doig went on to block McGuire’s follow up effort and the Scotsman also made a perfect recovery tackle as Ball burst clear on goal for a second time on 68 minutes.
At the other end, McNulty repelled attack after attack but City substitute Oli Johnson’s deflected edge-of-the-box shot called Davies into action at his near post and the away ’keeper also had to be alert to grab a rising 25-yard Walker drive.
City’s search for an equaliser left gaps at the back and another one-on-one change for Ball saw Ingham tip over.
But the visitors secured the points in the 87th minute when substitute Gillespie was released by Brown and he sidefooted past an exposed Ingham from ten yards.
York City 0, Fleetwood Town 2 (Brown 36; Gillespie 87)
York City: Michael Ingham 7, Jon Challinor 7, Chris Smith 7, Chris Doig 8, Jamal Fyfield 9, Dan Parslow 7, Paddy McLaughlin 7, Matty Blair 8, Michael Coulson 8, Jason Walker 8, Ashley Chambers 7.
Substitutes: Oli Johnson (for Coulson, 70), Lee Bullock (for Parslow, 70), Charlie Taylor (for McLaughlin, 84). Not used: Musselwhite, Reed, Smith, Carlisle.
Star man: Fyfield – growing in confidence by the game, both defensively and going forward.
Fleetwood Town: Scott Davies, Shaun Beeley, Steve McNulty, Youl Mawene, Dean Howell (Alan Goodall, 47), Damien Johnson, Alex Marrow, Jamie McGuire, Junior Brown, David Ball (Steven Gillespie, 83), Tom Barkhuizen (Barry Nicholson, 55).
Subs (not used): Jamie Milligan, Jon Parkin, Lee Fowler, Chris Maxwell.
Referee: Gary Sutton (Gainsborough).
Referee rating: 6/10.
Booked: Brown 41, Fyfield 44, D Johnson 64, Challinor 75.
Sent off: None.
Attendance: 3,084 (108 away fans).
Shots on target: City 5, Town 7.
Shots off target: City 6, Town 2.
Corners: City 3, Town 6.
Fouls conceded: City 10, Town 14.
Offsides: City 1, Town 4.