YORK City debutant goalkeeper Adam Bartlett wasted no time in making his presence felt at Alfreton Town’s Impact Arena.

The 31-year-old former Darlington keeper literally saved his new team from the embarrassment of throwing away a lead for the third time in Derbyshire when he threw himself to his right and pushed away Bradley Wood’s 75th-minute penalty.

By then, the home side had been reduced to ten men after former Bootham Crescent midfielder Tom Platt hauled down Gary Martin and was sent off for a second bookable offence, as he also conceded the spot kick that saw Jon Parkin claim his 13th goal of the season.

Parkin had earlier got his first of the afternoon to give the visitors a 2-1 lead against the run of play following Aidan Connolly’s 13th-minute opener.

On each occasion, Alfreton hit back through Cieron Keane and Brendon Daniels, but Bartlett, who might have been beaten too easily for the latter’s speculative 35-yard free kick, more than made amends when facing Wood in front of a jubilant and relieved away end.

As skipper Sean Newton was punished for a dubious handball infringement, a City team who have not kept a clean sheet in ten matches had looked familiarly fragile albeit against an Alfreton side who possessed individuals with the quality of Daniels, Wood and Craig Disley, not to mention benched top-scorer Craig Westcarr.

But Bartlett’s smart stop means the Minstermen maintained the chance of matching the club’s longest run of consecutive victories since Easter 2014 – a rather modest sequence of three – ahead of next weekend’s home contest with Kidderminster.

An open start to the game, which set the tone for the full 90 minutes, had seen Platt, playing as the right-sided defender in a back three, drive wide from 25 yards for John McDermott’s men.

Adriano Moke, meanwhile, was prominent during the first exchanges and a forward thrust saw him release Newton down the left for a cross that Martin could not meet with any level of venom at the near post.

Left-wing back Keane also cleared the crossbar from distance, while Martin headed wastefully wide three yards from goal after Parkin’s hooked cross.

City forged ahead, though, following another positive burst by Moke.

This time, the former Glenn Hoddle Academy graduate sent Alex Whittle sprinting down the left and his low centre picked out Connolly who scooped a 12-yard effort in off Chris Elliott’s left-hand upright.

After Marcus Marshall’s 15-yard shot was then blocked and deflected over by Hamza Bencherif, Parkin went on to go close with a half-volley before winning a header in the penalty box to tee up Newton, whose rising drive was a good height for Elliott to push away.

Moke’s sidefooted half-volley, from close to the penalty spot, was also headed off the line by an alert Disley, but Alfreton turned the tide when Brody Robertson raided through the right channel and sent in a low cross after reaching the byline that found its way to Keane at the far post.

He then beat Bartlett from ten yards with Josh Law’s attempt at a last-ditch intervention only diverting the shot past his new team-mate.

Alfreton would go on to finish the half stronger than Martin Gray’s men with unmarked centre-back Billy Priestley rising high to meet Ryan Jennings left-wing corner at the far post only to miss the target and the same player also stooped low to head a Marshall centre wide.

The home side carried that momentum into the second period and Tom Allan, who has a day-time job with City’s Foundation department, might have won his team a penalty had he gone down under a Bartlett challenge in front of the travelling fans.

Fellow former Bootham Crescent youth-team graduate Platt also fired over after Jennings’ left-wing corner had hit the outside of Bartlett’s post and another flag kick – this time delivered by Daniels – was headed too high by Allan.

But it was the visitors who got the game’s next goal with a 52nd-minute effort that proved, while Parkin is on the pitch, opposition defences can never rest easy.

Connolly’s cross from just inside the left touchline was enticing, but a sliding Parkin still needed to demonstrate great desire and control to prod the ball past Elliott from five yards.

Within four minutes, though, parity was restored.

Daniel Rowe conceded a free kick and was shown a yellow card for a foul on ex-Harrogate attacker Daniels.

The former was subsequently substituted, but Daniels stayed on the pitch to fire in off the underside of Bartlett’s bar with an ambitious attempt.

Alfreton’s second goal did not galvanise them in the same manner as their first, however, with Elliott palming away a Martin shot moments later and sub Amari Morgan-Smith’s follow-up shot brilliantly blocked by Disley.

Moke also teed up Parkin for two chances in as many minutes just past the hour mark.

The first was lifted disappointingly over from 15 yards, while the second was deflected wide, leading to Morgan-Smith heading wide of the near post from Newton’s inswinging corner.

Parkin was not to be denied, though, with his next opportunity after Bartlett’s long punt forward saw Platt pull back Martin in the home box.

With referee Robert Massey-Ellis sending Platt for an early shower, Parkin found Elliott’s bottom-left corner from 12 yards on 70 minutes.

But, shortly afterwards, Newton was penalised at the other end, only for Bartlett to succeed where Elliott had failed after both keepers had dived in the right direction.

There were further chances for both teams with Newton firing over from just outside the penalty area and Daniels also calling Bartlett into stoppage-time action with a 25-yard drive, before City could celebrate their first league win on the road since the September 5 victory at Spennymoor.


Adam Bartlett 7

Josh Law 7

Dan Parslow 7

Hamza Bencherif 8

Alex Whittle 7

Aidan Connolly 8

Daniel Rowe 7

Adriano Moke 8

Sean Newton 7

Jon Parkin 8

Gary Martin 7

Substitutes: Amari Morgan-Smith 7 (for Rowe, 55), David Ferguson (for Connolly, 70), James Gray (for Martin, 73).

Subs not used: Theo Wharton, Luke Simpson.

Star man: Parkin - showed great desire for first goal and a calm nerve for second


Chris Elliott, Cieron Keane, Billy Priestley, Tom Allan, Bradley Wood, Ryan Jennings (Sam Topliss, 65), Tom Platt, Craig Disley, Brendon Daniels, Brody Robertson (Nabil Shariff, 58), Marcus Marshall. Subs not used: Craig Westcarr, Kegan Everington, Andre Johnson.

Alfreton star man: Daniels – real threat, as highlighted by goal

Referee: Robert Massey-Ellis rating: 5/10 – baffled at times

Booked: Platt 36, Rowe 55, Whittle 61, Newton 75, Bencherif 82.

Sent off: Platt 69

Attendance: 997 (389 from City)

Shots on target: Alfreton 4, City 6

Shots off target: Alfreton 7, City 9

Corners: Alfreton 8, City 7

Fouls conceded: Alfreton 11, City 12

Offside: Alfreton 1, City 4