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Match report: York City 2, Grimsby Town 1
York City waited until the 86th minute for former Mariner Ashley Chambers to sink his old club Grimsby Town on Saturday.
But, on an afternoon dominated by wave after wave of exhilarating home attacks, nobody in the near 4,000-strong Bootham Crescent crowd could have complained about the final outcome.
The 2-1 winning margin might have been considerably less comprehensive than City’s 6-2 triumph over Braintree in their last home outing, but there was very little difference in the standard of performance between the two games.
In fact, the Minstermen’s tally of 13 on-target attempts represented four more than the hosts mustered seven days earlier on their way to putting six goals past a league rival for the first time since 1985.
The quality of football was also so engrossing and absorbing that, uniquely, it was quite easy to forget at times that Gary Mills’ men were either trailing or on level terms for all but the final four minutes of regulation time during a highly-entertaining encounter.
Chambers’ late strike, however, ensured City were not ruing the loss of another two points in their quest for promotion, following the avoidable midweek 1-1 draw at ten-man Southport.
Earlier, Grimsby captain Craig Disley had headed the visitors into a shock fourth-minute lead but that effort was cancelled out by a sensational goal from Jason Walker.
Think Pele in Escape To Victory and Wayne Rooney in last season’s Manchester derby and the comparisons would not be too far-fetched.
Enhancing his reputation as a scorer of great goals as well as a great goalscorer, Walker adjusted his body as the ball fell out of the sky on 34 minutes to fire a perfectly-timed overhead kick in off Mariners ’keeper James McKeown’s right-hand post from ten yards out.
His equaliser was also just reward for an undeterred City’s response to conceding a sloppy early goal.
Ensuring a fifth match passed without keeping a clean sheet, the Minstermen were caught flat-footed in the centre of defence before Rob Duffy’s right-wing cross picked out Disley’s dash into the penalty box.
The former Mansfield midfielder’s header then sailed over Michael Ingham from 12 yards out.
From the restart, City set about restoring parity with Chambers, Walker (twice) and Paddy McLaughlin all forcing saves from McKeown before quarter of an hour had elapsed.
A terrific move then saw McKeown make an excellent reflex stop to deny Walker on 17 minutes.
Scott Kerr released Matty Blair down the right flank, where sluggish Grimsby full-back Lee Ridley was given a torrid time all afternoon.
An inviting centre from Blair was, in turn, met by Walker but his six-yard header was instinctively beaten away by McKeown.
Another sweeping passage of play saw Andre Boucaud unleash left-winger Chambers, whose square pass was collected by Blair.
He then slid the ball to his right, where an over-lapping Walker saw his goalbound effort blocked by visiting midfielder Anthony Church.
Walker was not to be thwarted, however, with his next opportunity.
Trinidad and Tobago international Boucaud was again the architect, switching play effortlessly to right-back Jon Challinor, whose cross to the far post was headed up in the air by Town centre-back Scott Garner.
A quick-thinking Walker went on to display admirable athleticism to level the scores.
Despite rarely getting out of their own half since opening the scoring, Grimsby almost regained the initiative on the stroke of half-time when Disley ghosted into the penalty box again only for an alert Ingham to save at his feet.
There was a slight lull in proceedings at the start of the second half before Liam Hearn fired into the sidenetting for the visitors just past the hour.
At the other end, though, Walker displayed uncanny awareness with a dummy that almost resulted in a goal for Blair.
The City striker also fired in a low angled shot that McKeown parried into the path of Chambers, who drove over from 12 yards.
Grimsby substitute Anthony Elding then wasted a glorious chance to fire his team back in front just three minutes after climbing off the bench.
Given a clear shot on goal following a through ball from the impressive Disley, the former Leeds United striker dragged wastefully wide from ten yards.
City skipper Chris Smith also made a crucial tackle as Elding bore down on goal before the hosts forged ahead.
Walker’s right-wing cross to the far post found Adriano Moké, who was enjoying another lively substitute outing for the Minstermen.
The Glenn Hoddle Academy graduate then pulled the ball back for Chambers, who fired a low shot past McKeown from ten yards.
There was still time for Hearn to completely miskick in front of City’s goal in stoppage time and, with the last kick of the match, Chambers shot from inside his own half but his audacious effort bounced wide.
Nevertheless, moments later, City were left celebrating a third successive home win for the first time since March.
York City 2 (Walker 34; Chambers 86), Grimsby Town 1 (Disley 4)
York City: Michael Ingham 8, Jon Challinor 8, Chris Smith 8, Jamal Fyfield 8, James Meredith 8, Andre Boucaud 8, Scott Kerr 8, Paddy McLaughlin 8, Matty Blair 8, Jason Walker 9, Ashley Chambers 8.
Subs: Adriano Moké (for Boucaud, 77), Daniel Parslow (for Walker, 89).
Not used: McGurk, Reed, Potts.
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 – deserves all the superlatives after another goal to surely rival the best ever witnessed at Bootham Crescent.
Grimsby: James McKeown, Gary Silk, Darran Kempson, Scott Garner, Lee Ridley, Craig Disley, Anthony Church, Frankie Artus, Michael Coulson, Rob Duffy (Anthony Elding, 65), Liam Hearn. Subs (not used): Shaun Pearson, Bradley Wood, Andi Thanoj, Robert Eagle.
Yellow cards: Disley 45.
Shots on target: City 13, Grimsby 3.
Shots off target: City 7, Grimsby 4.
Corners: City 8, Grimsby 5.
Offsides: City 1, Grimsby 3.
Fouls conceded: City 4, Grimsby 7.
Referee: Scott Duncan (Newcastle). Rating: a little lenient but the players helped with a low foul count.
Attendance: 3,872 (897 away fans).
Save of the match: McKeown’s point-blank stop from Walker.
Pass of the match: Boucaud’s ball that released Challinor in the build up to Walker’s goal.
Shot of the match: Walker’s goal.
Head to head - Michael Ingham v James McKeown
Having been subjected to more than four times as many shots as his adversary, McKeown was by far the busier ’keeper.
His save from Walker’s first-half header was excellent and he had little chance with either goal.
Ingham might have felt he could have done better with Disley’s goal but redeemed himself with an alert stop from the same player just before half-time and handled well all afternoon.