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Mansfield 0, York City 1
COURTNEY Pitt’s spectacular first goal for York City secured the Bootham Crescent club’s first victory in eight games.
The former Cambridge winger’s unstoppable, 61st-minute strike earned the Minstermen a deserved three points although Richard Brodie, without a goal in nine games, squandered an opportunity to make victory more comfortable when his penalty was saved.
Ex-City loanee Luke Foster was also sent off in the closing stages for Mansfield, whose play-off aspirations now look remote.
Manager Martin Foyle made two changes to the side that started Saturday’s 0-0 draw against Altrincham.
The Minstermen began the match in confident fashion, looking comfortable in possession and pushing Pitt forward as a third striker at every opportunity.
On four minutes, Michael Gash forced the first save of the night, creating space in the penalty area with a neat sidestep before firing a 15-yard effort at Alan Marriott.
Mansfield’s first-half threat was limited to dead-ball deliveries with Rob Duffy heading over from an Andy Nicholas long throw on 17 minutes.
Shortly afterwards, Gash chested down a James Meredith free-kick into Brodie’s firing range but the England ‘C’ international lifted his right-footed, edge-of-the box attempt over the bar.
Brodie went closer on 28 minutes when his dipping 20-yard shot was scrambled around his right-hand post by Marriott.
Right-back Ben Purkiss then fired into the side-netting after nutmegging Nicholas and Barrett dragged an edge-of-the-box effort wide following Brodie’s lay-off.
Despite the home fans’ reputation for fickle reactions, the odd boo at half-time after their side’s poor opening 45 minutes was drowned out by applause and the Stags’ players also received a rapturous reception before the restart.
Mansfield responded well with Jon Challinor forcing a near-post parry from Ingham early in the second period.
But City weathered the pressure with Gash heading narrowly wide from a Harsley cross on the hour.
A minute later, the visitors broke the deadlock courtesy of a terrific strike by Pitt.
Harsley was again the architect, driving purposefully through the middle of the park before finding Pitt.
The former Chelsea trainee then cut inside full-back Gary Silk before unleashing a powerful right-footed drive into the roof of a bewildered Marriott’s net.
Within two minutes, the Minstermen had an excellent opportunity to double their lead when Meredith found Pitt and he teased a foul out of Challinor.
Brodie stepped up to take the penalty but, with manager Martin Foyle looking away as is his custom, the City leading marksman’s effort was pushed around his right-hand post by Marriott.
Sangare, repeatedly penalised for conceding free-kicks throughout the game and yellow-carded in the first half, received a long lecture from referee Stephen Martin after a clumsy challenge on Kyle Perry and Foyle swiftly replaced the French centre-back with David McGurk on 76 minutes.
Mansfield were then reduced to ten men when Foster was harshly adjudged to have prevented a goalscoring opportunity after tripping Michael Rankine despite the City substitute heading away from goal and looking to have kicked the ball out of play on the right flank.
The visitors survived an 87th-minute scare when Jake Speight stabbed wide with only Ingham to beat but Smith forced an injury-time save from Marriott before Stafford official Martin blew the final whistle.
Mansfield 0, York City 1 (Pitt 61)
York City: Michael Ingham 7, Ben Purkiss 8, Djoumin Sangare 6, Luke Graham 8, James Meredith 7, Paul Harsley 7, Jamie Clarke 8, Neil Barrett 7, Courtney Pitt 8, Richard Brodie 6, Michael Gash 7.
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: Pitt – moment of magic won the game and trickery also earned a penalty.
Mansfield: Alan Marriott, Gary Silk, Luke Foster, Michael Brough, Andy Nicholas, Louis Briscoe, Jon Challinor, Gary Mills, Andy Burgess, Rob Duffy (Kyle Perry 65), Blair Sturrock (Jake Speight, 65). Subs (not used): Neil Collett, Matt Somner, Kyle Nix.
Booked: Sangare 56, Gash 76, Nicholas 85, Perry 90 Sent off: Foster 82.
Shots on target: Mansfield 2, City 5.
Shots off target: Mansfield 2, City 5.
Corners: Mansfield 2, City 3.
Fouls conceded: Mansfield 16, City 20.
Offsides: Mansfield 0, City 0.
Referee: Stephen Martin (Staffordshire).
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