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York City 3, Mansfield 0
IT is to be hoped that Coney Street, Monks Cross and McArthur Glen were the only destinations for Boxing Day bargain-hunters in York on Saturday.
Certainly, those who might have been transfer window-shopping at Bootham Crescent will have left hoping the Minstermen can be persuaded into parting with leading scorer Richard Brodie during the Blue Square Premier’s January sales.
With Brodie having netted twice in the 3-0 victory over Mansfield to take his tally to 25 for the season, Football League interest seems inevitable.
Manager Martin Foyle has even admitted that he expects a derisory offer for his England ‘C’ international, whose services, in that case, must be retained if City’s promotion challenge is to be sustained in the New Year.
Against the Stags, Brodie once more underlined his importance to the club in a performance typical of so many this season.
The 22-year-old striker opened the scoring with a poacher’s goal and then doubled his side’s lead after winning – and converting – a seventh penalty of the season.
Later, he also claimed a terrific assist for Michael Gash’s third goal before blotting his copybook with an unnecessary stoppage-time booking for simulation – his seventh caution of the season.
Hopefully, any would-be suitors are sticklers for discipline.
A recent haul of 15 goals from 11 matches could, however, gloss over such indiscretions.
City would clearly lack the same levels of potency if Brodie was to depart over the next month although he would be the first to admit his team-mates also deserve credit for an unbeaten 12-game run that includes 11 victories.
On Saturday, Michael Ingham was not required to make a single save in 90 minutes during another quiet afternoon against a Mansfield team who started the match just one position below City in the battle for play-off places.
Foyle’s men have now conceded just three goals in 13-and-a-half hours of football – a run that has coincided with on-loan Mansfield defender Luke Graham’s pairing with David McGurk in the centre of defence and neither player looked troubled against Stags lone striker Kyle Perry.
In the middle of the park, anchorman Levi Mackin also nullified the early threat posed by deep-lying forward Jon Challinor and, along with Neil Barrett, helped the home side dictate the pace of the game.
After just 24 seconds, Challinor had raced into the City penalty box to collect an intelligent Andy Burgess through ball but, when he pulled the ball back from the by-line, Michael Brough shot wastefully over.
Perry also headed over on eight minutes after Burgess had ghosted past City skipper Daniel Parslow on the left wing.
The Minstermen soon settled though with Alex Lawless dragging an edge-of-the-box opportunity across the face of goal and then delivering a dangerous cross that visiting right-back Gary Silk headed narrowly over his own bar.
It was Brodie, though, who broke the deadlock, bundling the ball over the line from a yard after Graham headed towards goal following an incisive left-wing centre from Mackin.
Mackin and Lawless also missed the target from distance as City ended the first half in the ascendancy.
Two minutes into the restart, the game was ended as a contest when Brodie raced on to a long Lawless ball and tumbled in the box as Luke Jones attempted to catch him.
Referee Robert Madley pointed to the spot and also sent Jones off.
Brodie then confidently sidefooted firmly into Alan Marriott’s bottom right-hand corner.
Michael Rankine drove wide of Marriott’s near post moments later and Brodie also narrowly missed the target from 30 yards.
At the other end, Burgess and substitute Ryan Williams both tried their luck from 15 yards out, but failed to test Ingham either side of a powerful Rankine attempt that Marriott kept out.
Rankine made way for Gash soon afterwards and the £55,000 summer signing offered a reminder of the ability he displayed before succumbing to a foot injury in October.
With his first touch of the match, Gash sent a low, angled drive into Marriott’s bottom right-hand corner after Brodie had embarked on a purposeful run across the penalty box from the left flank following Mackin’s pass.
Having already equalled Foyle’s biggest margin of victory as manager, Gash then went close to adding a fourth goal when Brodie’s shot deflected off his stomach but Paul Heckingbottom cleared off the line.
York City 3 (Brodie 20, 47pen, Gash 80), Mansfield 0
York City: Michael Ingham 7, Daniel Parslow 7, Luke Graham 8, David McGurk 8, James Meredith 8, Alex Lawless 7, Levi Mackin 8, Neil Barrett 8, Chris Carruthers 8, Michael Rankine 8, Richard Brodie 9.
Substitutions: Michael Gash (for Rankine, 80), Andy Ferrell (for Carruthers, 83), Kevin Gall (for Lawless, 83). Subs not used: Purkiss, Smith.
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: Brodie – created his usual level of havoc for City.
Mansfield Town: Alan Marriott, Gary Silk, Scott Garner, Luke Jones, Paul Heckingbottom, Lee Morris (Ryan Williams, 46), Matt Somner, Michael Brough (Oliver Hotchkiss, 46), Andy Burgess (Jake Speight, 68), Jon Challinor, Kyle Perry. Subs not used: Rob Duffy, Tim Sandercombe.
Booked: Somner 43, Perry 45, McGurk 45, Challinor 55, Silk 71, Mackin 86, Meredith 90, Brodie 90. Sent off: Jones 47.
Shots on target: York 5, Mansfield 0.
Shots off target: York 9, Mansfield 4.
Corners: York 5, Mansfield 3.
Fouls conceded: York 14, Mansfield 18.
Offsides: York 1, Mansfield 3.
Referee: Robert Madley (Ossett) rating: poor, along with his assistants.
Attendance: 4,587 (642 from Mansfield) Cross of the match: Mackin’s inswinging delivery for the opening goal.
Run of the match: The strong surge by Brodie that teed up Gash for his goal.
Head to head: Daniel Parslow v Andy Burgess
Cultured left-footer Burgess caused City skipper Parslow a few early problems with his silky wing play. But the Minstermen’s former Welsh Under-21 international, still a relative novice at right-back, made his mark soon afterwards by winning a couple of towering headers and a bone-shuddering tackle. Parslow’s passes and clearances were a little wayward at times but Burgess disappeared from proceedings in the second half prior to his 68th-minute substitution.