MATCHES against Lancashire part-timers FC United of Manchester and Chorley could never be billed as War of the Roses occasions for York City.

But defeats against both clubs have led to a few thorny problems this side of the Pennines, as the Minstermen look to dissect the root causes for their first back-to-back losses since November.

Chorley’s Victory Park had not witnessed a home win since Good Friday, but City supporters witnessed one of their club’s most sorry Saturdays, as a Josh Wilson brace secured a comfortable 2-0 triumph for Matt Jansen’s team who had started the afternoon in the National League North relegation zone.

It was only the second time the visitors have been beaten on the road in 2017, but the nature of this setback was unacceptable, as acknowledged by a bitterly disappointed Gary Mills afterwards.

Having also succumbed to FC United by the same scoreline five days earlier, City now lie nine points behind early pace-setters Harrogate and Brackley – not an insurmountable gap, but one that Mills’ men must offer some renewed hope that they are capable of closing very soon.

The confidence and vitality that was on show during last month’s 5-0 rout of Bradford Park Avenue and, for long periods in the 4-3 win over Nuneaton, must quickly be reignited following a lethargic 90 minutes that saw City supporters vent their anger at the final whistle.

A careless Hamza Bencherif error led to Chorley’s opening goal on 20 minutes and more slipshod defending allowed 29-year-old journeyman Wilson, whose footballing CV includes spells at Northwich, Vauxhall Motors, Guiseley, Halifax, Fylde and Telford, to double the lead and his own personal haul before half-time.

But the Minstermen’s troubles were far from confined to the back line.

The visitors’ midfield struggled to impose themselves and creativity from that area of the pitch was minimal, with even skipper Sean Newton unable to stir some life into his team on this occasion.

City’s attack also laboured with Michael Rankine and Amari Morgan-Smith posing no discernible threat, either side of Jon Parkin.

The home team were livelier from the first whistle with Nick Haughton volleying wide from 20 yards after just ten seconds.

Moments later, Marcus Carver brushed past Bencherif to call Jon Worsnop into action following an edge-of-the-box drive.

Further opportunities saw Adam Blakeman drive over from distance after Morgan-Smith had trod on the ball, while Haughton also cleared the crossbar from just outside the penalty area.

The Minstermen’s first chance of the afternoon came just past the quarter-hour mark when Parkin glanced a header wide from Newton’s left-wing cross.

From the next attack, though, City fell behind.

Bencherif’s under-hit back pass saw Carver win a challenge for the loose ball with away keeper Jon Worsnop.

The ex-Accrington forward then squared the ball to Wilson who, despite the attentions of Parslow, found an unguarded net.

Mills’ men briefly rallied with a Simon Heslop 20-yard drive gathered by Matt Urwin, while Parkin’s downward header from Morgan-Smith’s corner was saved on his own goal-line by the home keeper.

A Newton flag kick was also headed into Urwin’s arms by Morgan-Smith at the far post, before Parkin’s 20-yard volley on the turn sailed over.

But, after Haughton had dragged a long-range attempt off target, Chorley had their second goal on 37 minutes when Blackman floated in a cross from the left that cleared Bencherif, who thrust his arm up in the hope of being rescued by an offside flag.

The assistant referee was unmoved, though, as an unchallenged Wilson driving low into Worsnop’s bottom-right corner with a 12-yard diagonal shot.

Haughton, seemingly finding space on the edge of the City penalty box at will, then saw efforts from that range saved and flash wide before the interval.

Early in the second period, Josh Law curled narrowly over from a free kick whilst, at the other end, Worsnop was more alert than his team-mates to tip over a sidefooted Josh O’Keefe effort after he had been left unmarked on the edge of the box to receive Blakeman’s corner.

Carver went on to lift a shot out of the ground following a ball through the right channel by former City striker Jason Walker, who had replaced the injured Wilson.

After Jassem Sukar had been introduced for Alex Whittle and Rankine replaced by Kaine Felix, Mills made his final change midway through the half when Sam Muggleton came on for the out-of-sorts Heslop.

His arrival might have paid immediate dividends, but a trademark long throw saw Bencherif head wide by inches.

For Chorley, Walker reminded travelling fans of his opportunism with a first-time, 40-yard attempt that just cleared Worsnop’s crossbar, while powerful centre-back Andy Teague also headed wide from an O’Keefe corner.

The only prospects for a late consolation, meanwhile, saw Parkin’s header repelled by a flying Urwin from Muggleton’s corner and both men combine again in stoppage time the former again winning an aerial ball – this time from a long throw – but his effort was deflected wide at the end of a deeply depressing afternoon for the City faithful.


Jon Worsnop 6 – left helplessly exposed for two goals and safe otherwise

Josh Law 6 – reliable on the ball and not troubled overly defensively

Hamza Bencherif 4 – sloppy for first goal and well short of previous display

Dan Parslow 6 – tried to set a standard with honest endeavour

Alex Whittle 5 – pulled up few trees but not worst first-half performer

Simon Heslop 4 – really struggled to provide quality in possession

Connor Smith 5 – looked capable anchorman, but too few options in front of him

Sean Newton 5 – couldn’t drag his team out of trouble for once

Amari Morgan-Smith 4 – carried minimal threat in attack

Jon Parkin 5 – not at his best but still City’s biggest threat with headers

Michael Rankine 4 – looked uncomfortable and unhappy in wide-left role

Substitutes: Jassem Sukar 5 – adequate (for Whittle, 46), Kaine Felix 5 – eager (for Rankine, 55), Sam Muggleton 4 – clumsy (for Heslop, 67).

Subs not used: Theo Wharton, Aaron Haswell.

City star man: Law


Matt Urwin, Matt Challoner, Andy Teague, Scott Leather, Simon Jordan, Adam Blakeman, Nick Haughton (Dale Whitham, 65), Josh O’Keefe, Jake Cottrell, Marcus Carver (Matt Hughes, 78), Josh Wilson (Jason Walker, 61). Subs not used: Paul Jarvis, Keith Kearney.

Chorley star man: Wilson - capitalised on City slip-ups

Referee: Barry Lamb rating: 7/10 – gave a better performance than any in a red shirt

Booked: Challoner 52

Sent off: None

Attendance: 1,294

Shots on target: Chorley 5, City 4

Shots off target: Chorley 8, City 5

Corners: Chorley 4, City 8

Fouls conceded: Chorley 8, City 5

Offside: Chorley 1, City 1