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Match report: York City 2, Mansfield Town 1
SUPER-SUB Jamie Reed scored a second-half brace to earn York City an eighth consecutive Blue Square Bet Premier home win last night against Mansfield.
# Victory also saw the Minstermen close the gap on fifth-placed Kidderminster, currently occupying the final play-off position, to four points with two games in hand.
City were not at their best prior to Reed’s introduction with Tom Naylor heading Mansfield into a first-half lead.
But the former Bangor striker scored within three minutes of his arrival and later claimed his fourth goal of the season to secure maximum points.
City made one change to their starting line up following Saturday’s 1-0 win over Eastbourne.
Injured winger Ashley Chambers was replaced by Danny Racchi, who began the game on the left flank before switching into the centre of midfield halfway through the first half.
Mansfield suggested they were prioritising Saturday’s FA Trophy semi-final, second leg at Luton with their starting XI as visiting boss Duncan Russell made six changes.
The Stags’ top scorer Paul Connor was relegated to the bench while former City winger Adam Smith was given his first league outing for almost a month.
Mansfield were in no mood to go through the motions, however, even if Racchi saw the first effort of the night – a second-minute free-kick – pushed behind for a corner by on-loan Notts County goalkeeper David Grof.
City skipper Chris Smith, who looked nervous against his former team-mates and was the subject of several first-half jibes from Russell in the away dugout, was booked just two minutes later when he got caught flat-footed and shoved Danny Mitchley to the floor.
Scott Kerr followed him into the book shortly afterwards for a dangerous challenge and Ashley Cain then ghosted between Chris Smith and James Meredith only to toe-poke a good chance straight at City ’keeper Michael Ingham.
Seconds later, Ingham pushed Dan Spence’s rising drive into the air at his near post and the ball bounced behind for a corner off the former Northern Ireland international’s crossbar.
At the other end, City were restricted to long-range pot-shots before the interval with Jonathan Smith, from 25 yards, forcing a parry by Grof before the Stags forged ahead in the 28th minute when Kerr conceded a free-kick after being played into trouble by Racchi.
Adam Murray’s delivery to the far post found Naylor, whose header from eight yards out saw a greasy ball slip through Ingham’s fingers and into the top right-hand corner.
Moments later, Mitchley shot inches wide from 30 yards while Michael Rankine’s firm edge-of-the-box effort was saved by Grof after good approach play by Kerr.
With City still struggling to impose themselves on proceedings at the start of the second half, Mills took action on 56 minutes and replaced Racchi with Reed.
Mills could not have hoped for a better response with Reed scoring his third goal in City colours moments after Rankine had dragged a poor 20-yard shot wide.
During City’s next attack, Rankine sent in a cross from the right and Chris Smith, who had charged into the penalty box, headed down for Reed and he took one touch to control the ball before firing a well-struck low shot past Grof from 12 yards.
Reed, brimming with confidence, then crossed for Jonathan Smith, whose header lacked the power to beat Grof.
The home side continued to press forward with Rankine firing a flashing drive wide before trying his luck with another powerful attempt that led to City’s second goal on 69 minutes.
His low angled drive deflected off Stags defender Steve Foster and bounced back into play off the crossbar.
Till kept his cool at the far post to pull the ball back for Reed, who made no mistake from four yards out.
Midfielder Jonathan Smith then shot across the face of goal after bursting through the right channel as City looked to put the outcome beyond doubt.
Mansfield had been on the back foot throughout the second half but ex-Minsterman Adam Smith, who was a peripheral presence for the majority of the evening, called Ingham into action on 80 minutes.
Shortly afterwards, Rankine’s ambitious attempted lob sailed into the David Longhurst Stand with Grof stranded off his line and City saw out four minutes of stoppage time to claim yet another three points in front of their own fans.
York City 2 (Reed 59, 69), Mansfield Town 1 (Naylor 28)
York City: Michael Ingham 6, Liam Darville 7, Daniel Parslow 7, Chris Smith 6, James Meredith 7, Scott Kerr 7, Jonathan Smith 7, Danny Racchi 7, Peter Till 7, Michael Rankine 7, David McDermott 7.
Subs: Jamie Reed (for Racchi, 56, 8) Will Hatfield (for McDermott 75) Andre Boucaud (for Till 79).
Subs not used: David McGurk, Leon Constantine.
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: Jamie Reed – made the difference when brought on scoring two well-taken goals.
Mansfield: David Grof, Dan Spence, Steve Foster, Tom Naylor, Paul Stonehouse, Ashley Cain (Louis Briscoe 65), Steven Istead, Adam Murray, Adam Smith, Niall O’Rafferty (Paul Connor 57), Danny Mitchley (Kyle Nix 75).
Subs (not used): Alan Marriott, Kevin Sandwith.
Booked: C Smith 4, Kerr 15, Mitchley 71.
Sent off: None.
Shots on target: York 7, Stags 4.
Shots off target: York 4, Stags 5.
Corners: York 5, Stags 5.
Fouls conceded: York 8, Stags 14.
Offsides: York 1, Stags 1.
Referee: Peter Bankes (Bootle).
Attendance: 2,261 (128 from Mansfield).