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York City’s desperate fixture switch with Weymouth could prove to be the tactical masterstroke of the season if they can bag six points
IT might smack of desperation but York City’s hastily-rearranged away match with crisis club Weymouth could prove the tactical masterstroke of the season.
After all, with a squad that cannot seemingly be trusted to secure Blue Square Premier survival on a level playing field, the KitKat Crescent club would be foolish to pass up the opportunity of capitalising on another’s misfortunes to snaffle up six points in as many days.
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Incredibly, though, crisis club Weymouth, rolled over 9-0 by Rushden in their previous outing, came very close to leaving North Yorkshire with a share of the spoils on Saturday despite fielding five under-18 apprentices in their starting line-up.
“You have to give them some credit” was muttered by at least one press box sage in reference to the baby-faced visitors at the final whistle. Well, not really. Maybe for running on to the pitch in troubled times but, as a team, they could just about stand up, run a little and kick the ball straight.
The problem for City manager Martin Foyle was that even those fundamentals looked beyond certain individuals in his side, suggesting Thursday’s return match might not quite represent the formality it should.
Lumbering pair Christian Smith and Daniel McBreen can have few complaints after being hauled off early in the second half.
Nor could Adam Smith when he departed the action on 73 minutes, having lacked zest down the flanks as Foyle’s switch to a 4-4-2 formation had little impact on performance levels following the sorry 2-0 defeat at Rushden.
Onome Sodje, on for McBreen, also cut a disconsolate figure as he failed to take two great chances and continues to look shorn of confidence – a shadow of the explosive striker who netted 17 times last season.
Fellow forward Richard Brodie did manage to bag a headed brace but, in between his opening first-half goal and the second on 90 minutes, City had to rely on an impressive save by Josh Mimms to stay on level terms and even resorted to introducing Mark Greaves for Adam Smith in an attempt to defend their lead.
Woeful Weymouth could not have expected to be afforded such respect.
Earlier, Brodie had shot wide from eight yards after just 36 seconds and Simon Russell also missed the target with a half-volley from similar distance.
McBreen forced Simon Evans, signed from Dorchester Town during the week, into his first save on 18 minutes and a curling Russell effort drifted wide from the edge of the box moments later.
Evans saved firmly at his near post to keep out a well-struck, right-footed Brodie drive following Levi Mackin’s smart through ball but was then beaten by the former Newcastle Benfield man on 23 minutes.
The recalled Russell delivered a curling left-footed cross into the six-yard box which was met by Brodie, whose header sailed over Evans to break the deadlock.
Stephen Reed hit the David Longhurst Stand’s roof with the visitors’ first shot of the afternoon on 34 minutes while Brodie had Evans at full-stretch to keep out his 20-yard drive and the Terras ’keeper then clawed away Daniel Parslow’s header from the resulting corner.
A Parslow slip at the other end gave teenage striker Tom Richardson a sight of goal but he lacked the confidence to stride on and sliced his early effort into the home crowd.
Evans denied Russell early in the second half and Sodje charged clear on goal from a long Mimms punt before getting the ball stuck under his feet and allowing Cameron Mawer to make a recovery tackle.
Weymouth captain Reed, though, was beginning to find his range from distance and, on 71 minutes, unleashed a dipping 25-yard effort that was destined for Mimms’ top left-hand corner before the former Liverpool junior flicked it over with his fingertips.
That concerned Foyle enough to send on Greaves as City stumbled to victory. Sodje might have eased the nerves when he headed straight at Evans following fellow sub Simon Rusk’s cross and then could only find the sidenetting from the rebound.
England ‘C’ international Brodie was less wasteful when picked out by Rusk at the death, heading past Evans from five yards out.
Brodie’s exuberance at reaching 20 goals for the campaign was understandable, but his enthusiasm was shared by few in a surprisingly high 2,349 crowd.
They deserve and demand better. How many make the 600-mile round trip to Weymouth for a match moved forward – and changed for a third time – at such short notice remains to be seen.
York City 2, Weymouth 0
City: Josh Mimms 6, Kyle Critchell 5, Shaun Pejic 6, Danny Parslow 6, Mark Robinson 5, Adam Smith 4, Levi Mackin 6, Christian Smith 4, Simon Russell 5, Richard Brodie 6, Daniel McBreen 4.
Substitutions: Onome Sodje (for McBreen, 53) 4, Simon Rusk (for C Smith, 65) 6, Mark Greaves (for A Smith, 73)
Subs not used: Boyes, Brown.
Key: 10 – Faultless; 9 – Outstanding; 8 – Excellent; 7 – Good; 6 – Average; 5 – Below par; 4 – Poor; 3 – Dud; 2 – Hopeless; 1 – Retire.
City’s star man: Mackin – looked one of the few City players willing to keep calm and composed in possession.
Weymouth: Simon Evans, Jordan Vincent, Cameron Mawer, Gavin Hoyte, Jordan Collins (Ryan McKenzie, 56), Kenny Strickland, Stephen Reed, Scott Dixon, Billy Crook, Kwesi Appiah, Tom Richardson (Ollie Tribe, 78).
Subs not used: Shola Dadson, Jamie Sibley, Terngu Agera.
Yellow cards: Strickland 16, Richardson 39, Rusk 70, Mawer 88, Greaves 90.
Shots on target: York 13, Terras 1
Shots off target: York 8, Terras 6
Corners: York 3, Terras 2
Fouls conceded: York 10, Terras 10
Offsides: York 2, Terras 1
Referee: Colin Harwood (Manchester). Rating: a little petty with his cautions but otherwise good.
Attendance: 2,349 (64 away fans).
Cross of the match: Russell’s centre for Brodie’s opening goal, although some of his subsequent deliveries left a little to be desired.
Laugh of the match: During the post-match warm down, when Weymouth subs sprinted from one corner flag to the other with what looked to be parachutes strapped to their backs.
City player watch: Josh Mimms
Shots faced: 1
Shots held: 0
Shots parried: 1
Kicks to own player: 11
Kicks to opposition: 10
Kick success rate: 52.4 per cent
Throws to own player: 4
Throws to opposition: 0
Throw success rate: 100 per cent
Crosses caught: 5
Crosses punched: 1
Crosses dropped: 0
Fouls won: 0
Fouls conceded: 0
Final summary: Games in which goalkeepers have little to do are often regarded as the hardest, but Mimms demonstrated his concentration levels and focus when he produced a fine save to keep out Reed’s speculative 71st minute effort. His kicking was good, finding a team-mate on more occasions than he didn’t. He also dealt with crosses in a positive manner.