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Match report: Newport County 4, York City 0
CALAMITOUS defending saw plummeting York City suffer a third straight defeat after going down 4-0 at Newport County.
Daniel Parslow and Greg Young were the chief culprits as the Minstermen made bigger boobs than those belonging to Linsey Dawn McKenzie – the chesty glamour model home boss Dean Holdsworth once famously enjoyed a fling with.
After the efforts of a second caretaker chief in Steve Torpey proved fruitless on Saturday, City’s board must surely act swiftly now and appoint a permanent successor to Martin Foyle because their side currently bears all the hallmarks of relegation candidates.
Only over-generous Eastbourne and bottom-of-the-table Altrincham have shipped more goals on their travels than the Minstermen this season following the weekend’s Blue Square Bet Premier fixture programme.
Sam Foley’s early goal at Spytty Park also means the Bootham Crescent club have conceded within the opening eight minutes in three of their eight away contests, leading to suggestions of a weak underbelly in the side.
At the opposite end of the pitch, the team is faring little better.
Only one goal has been scored in the last four matches and no combination of strikers seems to come close to matching the endeavour and hunger that made Richard Brodie such a constant threat during the last campaign.
As Newport illustrated perfectly, the harder a front line works, the more mistakes they can force.
The visitors, though, mustered just one shot on target – a tame Michael Gash header – before fellow substitute David Dowson rattled Glyn Garner’s left-hand post late on.
City also failed to win a corner until the 71st minute, but needn’t have bothered such has been the lack of imagination from set-pieces in recent matches.
Too many passengers are being carried and reliable performers from the past are also suffering.
Former skipper Parslow has endured a torrid time during the last week, while Neil Barrett is struggling desperately for form too and even the chin of Alex Lawless, a model of consistency in 2010/1, noticeably dropped on such a disappointing return to his Welsh homeland.
With the club hovering just two points above the drop zone, chairman Jason McGill certainly faces a big decision after being left in the lurch by Foyle’s unexplained resignation.
Of the seemingly available candidates, an out-of-work Dave Penney and Jim Harvey, currently in charge of part-timers Stalybridge Celtic, would seem excellent low-risk options considering their proven track records at this level and shared penchant for attractive attacking football.
The next man certainly needs to make better use of the club’s modest resources.
It must be so demoralising for fundraising parents of apprentices to listen to pleas of poverty at Bootham Crescent when, every time there is a handful of injuries to the squad, the club go out and add another mediocre professional to the wage bill.
The likes of teenage trio Dean Lisles, Jamie Hopcutt and Tom Richardson have all displayed undoubted promise and, when teams higher up the football pyramid are regularly obliged to nurture their own talent, how come an under-18 side that were the north east’s second best last season cannot provide fringe players, at the least, for such an under-performing senior squad?
At Newport, the writing seemed on the wall very early on when target man Robbie Matthews won a fourth-minute header in the City penalty box and Craig Reid fired narrowly wide.
Two minutes later, County were in front after an infuriating carbon copy of the second goal conceded at Eastbourne seven days earlier.
Parslow again lost his man following a deep cross from the right to the far post by Matthews, leaving Foley to head past Michael Ingham from six yards with the former Northern Ireland international rooted to his line.
Moments later, Reid clipped the top of the bar after Darryl Knights’ free-kick was delivered low into the visitors’ six-yard box.
But, on 27 minutes, County doubled their lead when Parslow’s slip allowed Knights to feed the ball through to Foley and he curled a ten-yard shot beyond the diving Ingham.
Foley then went close to claiming his hat-trick when he once more climbed higher than Parslow at the far post but his header cleared the crossbar on this occasion.
For City, off-target long-range efforts from Danny Racchi and Parslow proved the only noteworthy attempts prior to the interval.
In the second half, City largely resorted to pumping long balls up to Gash and the hosts went further in front on 62 minutes.
Young needlessly conceded a free-kick and earned himself a yellow card when he hauled down Reid after dallying on the ball just inside the left touchline.
In the third of three unsuccessful attempts to clear the danger from the subsequent free-kick, Gash presented an easy chance to Reid, who beat Ingham from ten yards.
It was then 4-0 on 70 minutes when right-back Paul Bignot left Barrett trailing in his wake with a lung-busting raid down the right flank.
He pulled the ball back to Reid, who produced an elegant chip into Ingham’s top right-hand corner to cue an embarrassing golf-style celebration with a nod, no doubt, to Europe’s Ryder Cup victory in the town the previous weekend.
Holdsworth went on to enjoy the luxury of substituting key players with a quarter of the game still left to play, piling on the ignominy for the visitors.
Substitute Dowson was unlucky though not to grab a consolation and, for that alone, should be worthy of a start against Bath on Saturday.
Newport’s victory was, however, ultimately a triumph for confidence, commitment and team spirit – three qualities that the next manager of York City must somehow instil into his new charges if he is to reverse the club’s fortunes.
Newport County 4 (Foley 6, 27; Reid 62, 70), York City 0
York City: Michael Ingham 5, Daniel Parslow 4, David McGurk 7, Greg Young 4, James Meredith 7, Alex Lawless 5, Neil Barrett 4, Danny Racchi 5, Jamal Fyfield 4, Mark Beesley 4, Leon Constantine 4.
Substitutions: Michael Gash 4 (for Constantine, 46), Peter Till 5 (for Fyfield, 56), David Dowson (for Beesley, 80).
Not used: Knight, 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: Meredith – steadfastly refusing to let his standards slip, along with fellow defender McGurk.
Newport: Glyn Garner, Paul Bignot, Jamie Collins, Chris Todd, Martin John, Darryl Knights (Kerry Morgan, 73), Danny Rose, Eddie Odhiambo, Sam Foley (Charlie Henry, 74), Robbie Matthews, Craig Reid (Scott Rogers, 81).
Subs not used: Glyn Thompson, Charlie Clough.
Booked: Barrett 42, Young 62, Racchi 65.
Referee: Steve Martin (Stafford).
Rating: inconsistent with his yellow cards, as the unlucky Barrett and Racchi would testify.
Shots on target: County 6, City 2.
Shots off target: County 5, City 4.
Corners: County 2, City 2.
Fouls conceded: County 13, City 11.
Offsides: County 1, City 5.
Mistake of the match: A few contenders, but Parslow’s indecision for the first goal set the tone for City.
Shot of the match: Reid’s fourth goal was a sublime finish.
Head to head - Jamal Fyfield v Paul Bignot
City’s 21-year-old signing from Maidenhead United again struggled to recapture the form he showed on his promising debut at Tamworth.
In fact, right-back Bignot proved a bigger attacking threat for the hosts than the rookie left winger.
Fyfield’s touch also let him down on occasions and he is looking a little jaded after a hectic introduction to full-time football.
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