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Match report: York City 0, Kettering 1
STRUGGLING York City suffered a second straight loss under caretaker manager Andy Porter during a disappointing 1-0 home defeat to Kettering.
The Minstermen have now picked up four points from a possible 12 under Porter, who was thrust into the hot seat following the resignation of Martin Foyle.
John Dempster’s 50th-minute header proved sufficient to secure maximum points for Kettering with the Minstermen once more displaying a concerning shortage of attacking ideas despite including new signing Mark Beesley, recruited on loan from Fleetwood Town, in their starting line-up.
But those were the only changes made by Porter after Saturday’s 2-1 defeat at Eastbourne.
Kettering, meanwhile, fielded former City centre-back Luke Graham in their first XI.
Former Cambridge United striker Beesley almost claimed a goal assist within two minutes of his debut, laying on a chance for Alex Lawless that he flashed inches wide from 30 yards.
At the other end, Serge Makofo showed an impressive turn of pace but Daniel Parslow’s last-ditch block diverted his low shot.
Veteran striker Paul Furlong, now 42, forced the first save of the night on nine minutes when he sidestepped a Parslow challenge and fired a 25-yard effort at Michael Ingham.
Seconds later, the former Chelsea forward had a better opportunity to open the scoring, sprinting clear after Constantine had surrendered possession.
But, with a hesitant Ingham caught yards off his line, Furlong lifted his deft lob over the bar.
Beesley, meanwhile, saw his deflected edge-of-the-box effort pushed around a post by visiting goalkeeper Kelvin Jack at the end of a flowing City move.
A curling Constantine free-kick also forced a diving save from Jack and James Meredith’s dangerous low cross was sliced over his own crossbar by Kettering midfielder Brett Solkhon from six yards out.
Peter Till hit a firm, rising drive narrowly wide on 23 minutes after good work by 29-year-old Beesley and City continued to threaten down the flanks but could not capitalise on quality deliveries into the box from Till, Meredith and Jymal Fyfield.
The Poppies, though, might have taken a half-time lead when Makofo, causing Parslow all sorts of problems with his speed, drove a low shot at Ingham.
David McGurk also commanded the sympathy of every male in the Bootham Crescent crowd when he blocked a well-struck Furlong drive with the tenderest part of his body before Andre Boucaud curled wide from 25 yards.
City went in at the interval having failed to score a first-half goal for the ninth consecutive home match and Kettering forged ahead in inevitable circumstances six minutes after the restart when the tormented Parslow hauled down Makofo, earning himself a caution.
From the resultant free-kick, Dempster rose highest at the far post to power a header into Ingham’s bottom right-hand corner after Jean-Paul Marna’s inswinging delivery.
Marcus Law’s men might have doubled their advantage on the hour when Neil Barrett failed to challenge Solkhon 20 yards from goal but the Poppies’ midfielder drove wide.
City then stirred into life with Jack tipping over a long-range 67th-minute strike from Parslow after he exchanged passes with Lawless.
David Dowson also saw a scuffed shot kept out at the near post by Jack after being teed up by fellow substitute Michael Gash.
Another replacement, Jonathan Smith, then miscued another presentable chance wide from 15 yards and Graham survived strong penalty shouts for handball following a Till cross.
Despite a flurry of corners, City still failed to fully test Jack in the visitors’ goal on their way to defeat.
York City 0, Kettering 1 (Dempster 51)
York City: Michael Ingham 7, Daniel Parslow 5, David McGurk 7, Greg Young 7, James Meredith 7, Peter Till 6, Neil Barrett 5, Alex Lawless 6, Jamal Fyfield 5, Leon Constantine 5, Mark Beesley 5.
Substitutions: Michael Gash 5 (for Constantine, 62), David Dowson 5 (for Beesley, 62), Jonathan Smith 6 (for Barrett, 62).
Subs not used: David Knight, Duane Courtney.
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: James Meredith – defended with determination and provided decent service from the left.
Kettering: Kelvin Jack, Patrick Nougiffie, Luke Graham, John Dempster, Greg Taylor, James Dance, Andre Boucaud, Brett Solkhon, Serge Makofo (Marcus Kelly 90), Paul Furlong (Nick McKoy 77), Jon-Paul Marna.
Subs (not used): Ashley Westwood, Ian Roper, Niall Cooper.
Yellow cards: Parslow 50, Dempster 51, McGurk 64, Dance 82.
Red cards: None.
Referee: Dean Mohareb (Cheshire).
Shots on target: York 4, Kettering 5.
Shots off target: York 5, Kettering 8.
Corners: York 12, Kettering 2.
Fouls conceded: York 10, Kettering 18.
Offsides: York 2, Kettering 2.
Attendance: 1,978 (40 from Kettering).