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Match report: York City 2, Cambridge 2
STAR striker Jason Walker earned York City a late point after his 14th goal of the season clinched a 2-2 draw with Cambridge United.
Earlier, Walker had also cancelled out Harrison Dunk’s opening goal before Michael Gash became the fourth City old boy to score at Bootham Crescent this season to give Cambridge an unlikely lead.
Aside from their goals, the U’s did not manage another shot – on target or off target – all night, while City registered 22 and, after Walker deservedly levelled the scores with a free-kick, Jez George’s men were hanging on at the death with left-back James Jennings sent off in stoppage-time for a second yellow card.
City fielded the same starting line-up for the fifth successive game but handed the visitors a goal start during the opening exchanges for a second consecutive match.
After Jon Challinor and Paddy McLaughlin had both cleared the crossbar for the Minstermen, Dunk gave Cambridge an eighth-minute lead.
The U’s winger charged clear on goal through the left channel after latching on to Gash’s header and beat Michael Ingham with a low, 12-yard finish.
At the other end, Walker drove inches over following a McLaughlin corner and Ashley Chambers forced Danny Naisbitt into his first save of the night moments later with a rising effort.
City were level, however, on 21 minutes when excellent opportunism from Walker resulted in his 13th goal of the season.
Matty Blair was crowded out after making inroads into the visitors’ penalty box but the ball broke loose for McLaughlin, who embarked on a brilliant run, evading three challenges before unleashing a low drive that could only be parried by Naisbitt.
City top scorer Walker then reacted remarkably quickly to stoop low and head in from eight yards.
But the Minstermen were behind again on 31 minutes when Ashley Carew’s cross from the right was met by an unmarked Gash, who beat Ingham with his head from five yards.
The hosts continued to forage forward with Challinor firing an angled shot across the face of goal.
Chambers also had a weak edge-of-the-box effort comfortably saved after a flowing home move, while McLaughlin narrowly missed the target from 15 yards in first-half stoppage time.
The Minstermen maintained their dominance of possession after the break with Chambers calling Naisbitt into action low to his left on 47 minutes following Boucaud’s through ball.
Walker headed just off target from McLaughlin’s subsequent corner and Naisbitt also made an over-elaborate flying stop from a 20-yard Boucaud strike.
Just past the hour, Chambers went close with a 30-yard free-kick and McLaughlin and substitute Adriano Moké also tested the overworked Naisbitt.
The hard-working Chambers then chanced his luck with a 15-yard overhead kick, prompting good-natured chants of “there's only one Jason Walker” from the David Longhurst Stand in reference to the latter’s wonder goal over Grimsby Town at Bootham Crescent on Saturday.
Moké, drifting in from the left flank drilled over from 25 yards on 79 minutes.
Ex-Cambridge midfielder Challinor also dragged wide of goal after exchanging passes with Walker and bursting into the penalty box.
Moké continued to cause Cambridge all kinds of problems with his positive running and won his team a crucial free-kick on the edge of the penalty box in the 89th minute.
Cometh the moment, cometh the man and Walker stepped up to curl the free-kick beyond Naisbitt's dive to his right.
City then went in search of a winning goal but, after Jennings was sent off for a second bookable offence for handling Chambers’ cross, Walker proved he is fallible when he hoisted a 15-yard shot out of the ground after being picked out by the latter’s free-kick.
York City 2 (Walker 21, 89), Cambridge 2 (Dunk 8, Gash 31)
York City: Michael Ingham 7, Jon Challinor 7, Chris Smith 7, Jamal Fyfield 7, James Meredith 7, Andre Boucaud 8, Scott Kerr 8, Patrick McLaughlin 8, Ashley Chambers 8, Jason Walker 9, Matty Blair 6.
Subs: Adriano Moké (for Blair, 54, 9).
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 – another astounding display of marksmanship from City’s top scorer.
Cambridge: Danny Naisbitt, Jonathon Thorpe (Michael Wilde 78), Josh Coulson, Rory McAuley, James Jennings, Ashley Carew, Rossi Jarvis, Tom Shaw, Harrison Dunk (Peter Winn 65), Luke Berry (Ryan Charles 86), Michael Gash.
Subs (not used): Kieran Murtagh, Jordan Patrick.
Booked: Jennings 24, Dunk 36, Fyfield 69, Naisbitt 84.
Sent off: Jennings 90.
Shots on target: City 11, United 2.
Shots off target: City 11, United 0.
Corners: City 6, United 1.
Fouls conceded: City 6, United 13.
Offsides: City 2, United 0.
Referee: Richard Clark (Morpeth).
Attendance: 2,711 (190 Cambridge fans).