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Match report: Stockport County 1, York City 2
PROLIFIC striker Jason Walker became the quickest player in York City history to hit ten league goals in a season during Saturday’s 2-1 triumph at Stockport.
Walker’s 86th-minute effort saw him reach double figures on October 1, which is a day earlier than the previous record shared by post-War heroes Arthur Bottom and Jimmy Weir.
The former Barrow forward has achieved the landmark in 13 matches and only the late Paul Aimson can better that in City colours, having racked up his first ten league goals during the 1965/66 campaign in a dozen games.
If he continues in his current vein, Walker might soon be held in similar esteem to the above Minstermen legends having produced another virtuoso performance at Edgeley Park.
Walker always looked the game’s biggest attacking threat during a low-key first half, giving home ’keeper Matt Glennon an early scare, having a convincing case for a penalty rejected and putting the ball in the net only to see his effort disallowed.
After the restart, Walker then delivered a terrific 52nd-minute touchline cross to tee up Matty Blair for the opening goal before the latter returned the favour, spotting his team-mate’s determined run into the six-yard box to double the visitors’ advantage.
Stockport’s Michael Paton replied in stoppage time but that was scant consolation for the Hatters, who have now won just one of their last 11 matches.
Blair, on his return to the City starting line-up, played a strong supporting role for Walker with his willing running.
Left-back James Meredith also impressed, carrying the ball forward with confidence and defending with alertness throughout while, in midfield, Scott Kerr anchored admirably and Michael Potts, given his longest run out for the Minstermen due to Andre Boucaud’s first-half groin strain, was energetic, enthusiastic and expressive in possession.
Walker was almost rewarded for his persistence in the 12th minute when, as Glennon left his penalty box to shepherd out Michael Ingham’s long goal kick, the City striker retrieved the ball before it crossed the byline.
The angle proved too acute, though, for Walker to find the vacated net.
On 22 minutes, the Minstermen might have then been awarded a penalty when Walker appeared to be barged from behind by Joe Edwards after he had collected Ashley Chambers’ through ball but referee Darren Bond remained unmoved.
Walker had the ball in the net seconds later but his effort was rightly ruled out for a shove on Glennon following Blair’s deflected right-wing cross.
Australian full-back Meredith also saw a 15-yard effort deflected wide before a Stockport side, comfortable in possession but lacking incision, managed their first goal attempt of the afternoon on 35 minutes when ex-Everton striker Nick Chadwick headed over from a Paton cross.
The first save of the game then saw Ingham safely gather Jon Nolan’s free-kick and the City ’keeper also pushed Paton’s rising 25-yard shot over the bar on the stroke of half-time.
After the restart, Antonio German shrugged off a Jon Challinor challenge to call Ingham into action again at his near post but it was City who broke the deadlock.
An excellent crossfield pass by Potts picked out Walker on the left flank.
City’s leading marksman then delivered an inviting cross to the far post where a charging Blair headed past Glennon.
An unmarked Chadwick should have equalised on 55 minutes when Paton’s cross sailed over Jamal Fyfield but the former Toffees striker was having a sticky afternoon and headed over from five yards, prompting calls from the frustrated home fans to substitute him.
German also went close twice from the edge of the box before clinical City clinched the points with their second and final on-target attempt in the 86th minute.
Recalled club captain Chris Smith sent Blair racing down the right flank and Walker then charged into the home box to meet a perfectly-delivered low centre and beat Glennon from six yards.
The Minstermen then momentarily switched off and substitute Tom Elliott was unfortunate to be penalised for a foul on Ingham before Nolan put the ball in the net.
Shortly afterwards, in the fourth and final minute of stoppage time, Paton provided the only minor irritation on an otherwise highly satisfying day for the visitors when he headed into Ingham’s top right-hand corner from a Danny Whitehead cross.
Stockport County 1 (Paton 90+4), York City 2 (Blair 52; Walker 86)
York City: Michael Ingham 7, Jon Challinor 7, Chris Smith 7, Jamal Fyfield 7, James Meredith 8, Andre Boucaud 7, Scott Kerr 8, Patrick McLaughlin 7, Matty Blair 8, Jason Walker 9, Ashley Chambers 7.
Subs: Michael Potts 8 (for Boucaud, 39), Daniel Parslow (for McLaughlin, 74). Not used: Jamie Reed, Liam Henderson, Adriano Moké.
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 – irrepressible again on his way to making club history.
Stockport: Matt Glennon, Joe Edwards, Nabil Brahim-Bounab, Carl Piergianni, Euan Holden, Michael Paton, John Miles (Danny Whitehead, 60), Chris Blackburn (Sam Sheridan, 66), Jon Nolan, Antonio German, Nick Chadwick (Tom Elliott, 66). Subs not used: Ian Ormison, Ryan McCann.
Yellow cards: Kerr 43, Blair 73.
Shots on target: County 6, York 2.
Shots off target: County 5, York 6.
Corners: County 4, York 6.
Offsides: County 2, York 2.
Fouls conceded: County 9, York 14.
Referee: Darren Bond (Wigan). Rating: odd aberration but generally good.
Attendance: 3,753 (680 from City).
Pass of the match: Potts switched play excellently to help create City’s first goal.
Cross of the match: Walker’s left wing delivery for Blair’s deadlock breaker.
Miss of the match: Chadwick’s 55th-minute header.
Head to head - Matty Blair v Euan Holden
City’s recalled winger caused Euan Holden countless problems with his surging runs down the right flank.
Blair beat Holden to Walker’s cross for the day’s opening goal and also burst past the Hatters’ left-back to tee up his team-mate and help double the visitors’ lead.
With his constant threat, Blair kept Holden occupied all afternoon and the latter was rarely able to forage forward.
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