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Match report: York City 3, Barrow 1
York City continued their 100 per cent start to the season with a 3-1 home victory over Barrow.
First-half goals by former Barrow favourite Jason Walker and Patrick McLaughlin gave the hosts a deserved advantage at the break following an exciting opening period.
Ex-City striker Adam Boyes then pulled a goal back for the Bluebirds but Matty Blair made the points safe in the fifth minute of stoppage time after visiting right-back Kelvin Lomax had been sent off.
The only disappointment on an otherwise excellent night for City was the sight of Walker hobbling out of the action following Boyes’ goal after landing awkwardly from an aerial challenge.
City were unchanged from the side that started and finished Saturday’s 2-1 victory at Ebbsfleet with Scott Kerr and David McDermott still sidelined.
The injury-plagued visitors, who were only able to name four substitutes, included Boyes and another former Minsterman Andy Ferrell in their side while evergreen 43-year-old Darren Sheridan – the joint-player manager – also lined up in midfield.
City were positive from the first whistle with Walker, who was central to all the hosts’ attacking moves in the opening 45 minutes, forcing the first save after just 37 seconds.
The 27-year-old forward displayed excellent anticipation to capitalise on Phil Bolland’s weak header back to Danny Hurst but his low shot was kept out by the Cumbrians’ goalkeeper.
A smart free-kick routine then ended with Walker firing a deflected 25-yard shot wide and, from the subsequent seventh-minute corner, the Minstermen forged ahead through another intelligently-worked set-piece.
McLaughlin’s flag-kick to the near post was expertly guided with one touch into Ashley Chambers’ path by Walker.
The former Leicester winger then made space for a low 15-yard drive which cannoned back off Hurst’s right-hand post with Walker pouncing from six yards despite the Barrow ’keeper getting his body in the way of his attempt.
Walker, overflowing with confidence, teased a backtracking Bolland on 12 minutes before trying an audacious 15-yard chip that drifted narrowly wide.
Another ambitous 30-yard drive by Walker flashed narrowly wide moments later before the former Bluebird sent the hard-working Blair clear through with one touch after a drop ball.
Blair, though, sidefooted wide with only Hurst to beat and, on 20 minutes, completely mis-kicked eight yards out after Walker had tricked his way to the byline.
Barrow reminded City how slender a one-goal lead whatever any team’s level of dominance when Boyes dispossessed Chris Smith on the edge of the home box and Ferrell forced a near-post parry from Michael Ingham.
Paul Rutherford also called Ingham into action on 37 minutes after Louis Almond had charged at the City defence on the counter.
On 44 minutes, Adam Quinn was fortunate to escape with only a yellow card after clattering through the back of Walker on the halfway line but justice was perhaps done in first-half stoppage time when McLaughlin netted an overdue second goal.
Chambers found an overlapping James Meredith charging down the left flank and his cross was controlled by McLaughlin who found Hurst’s bottom left-hand corner from 12 yards on the turn.
Following a familiar first-half theme, Sheridan was cautioned little more than two minutes after the restart having flattened Walker from behind.
The second-half tempo unsurprisingly dropped but Adriano Moké, still making energetic bursts forward, curled over from the edge of the box on the hour mark.
Walker also tested Hurst from 20 yards after more tireless running by Blair before Boyes put a towering header into Ingham’s top left-hand corner in the 81st-minute.
Barrow then lost Lomax after he kicked the ball at City substitute Jamie Reed and Blair grabbed himself a deserved goal, sidefooting in from six yards after good work from Michael Potts.
York City 3 (Walker 7, McLaughlin 45+2, Blair 90+5), Barrow 1 (Boyes 81)
York City: Michael Ingham 8, Lanre Oyebanjo 8, David McGurk 8, Chris Smith 8, James Meredith 8, Adriano Moké 8, Andre Boucaud 8, Patrick McLaughlin 8, Matty Blair 9, Jason Walker 9, Ashley Chambers 8.
Subs: Michael Potts for Moké (79) Jamie Reed for Walker (82) (not used): Daniel Parslow, Liam Henderson, Jamal Fyfield.
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: Walker – shaded it from Blair due to a superb first-half display.
Barrow: Danny Hurst, Kelvin Lomax, Phil Bolland (Mike Pearson 76), Adam Quinn, Gavin Skelton, Paul Smith, Darren Sheridan (Andy Cook 61), Andy Ferrell, Louis Almond (Jack Mackreth 72), Adam Boyes, Paul Rutherford.
Sub (not used): Shaun Pearson.
Booked: Lomax 29, Quinn 44, Sheridan 48, Bolland 69, C Smith 71, Ferrell 90+4.
Sent off: Lomax 90+2.
Shots on target: City 8, Barrow 4.
Shots off target: City 5, Barrow 5.
Corners: City 5, Barrow 2.
Fouls conceded: City 5, Barrow 17.
Offsides: City 5, Barrow 1.
Referee: Seb Stockridge (Gateshead).
Attendance: 3,075 (140 from Barrow).