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Match report: Cambridge United 0, York City 1
TEN-MAN York City kept their Blue Square Bet Premier play-off push on track with a 1-0 win at Cambridge United.
Jason Walker grabbed his 18th goal of the season to earn the Minstermen maximum points after Ben Gibson had been sent off on 40 minutes.
City’s victory in the face of adversity was made all the more impressive with the visitors also having to contend with injuries to Chris Doig and Lanre Oyebanjo.
Musselwhite became the oldest player to turn out for the Minstermen’s first team at 43 years and 116 days.
He beat a 62-year-old club record held by fellow ’keeper Matt Middleton, who was a mere 42 years and 194 days old when he played his last game for City.
Gibson, Walker, Ashley Chambers and Jon Challinor were the other changes to Gary Mills’ starting line-up, with Dan Parslow and Jamie Reed dropping to the bench, Adriano Moké injured and Danny Pilkington left out completely.
The hosts included former City striker Michael Gash in their starting 11.
Musselwhite got an early touch of the ball when he caught a Jonathon Thorpe cross in his six-yard box, following a positive charge down the flank by the U’s right-back.
The former Scunthorpe ’keeper then made his first save of the night on five minutes, but was not severely stretched by Gash’s ten-yard header.
Musselwhite will have been relieved, however, to have seen Liam Hughes’ edge of the box volley flash narrowly wide of his right-hand post moments later.
At the other end, Chambers drove wide from 20 yards after a Walker lay-off.
Oyebanjo then prodded into the sidenetting after bursting into the penalty box to beat advancing Cambridge ’keeper Danny Naisbitt to the ball following a Chambers pass.
On 14 minutes, Chambers wasted a promising opening when his curling shot was comfortably caught by Naisbitt with Walker, who was in a much more favourable scoring position, screaming for a return pass after winning the initial header.
A couple of Harry Pell long-range efforts missed the target for the hosts shortly afterwards, while in between City lost an injured Doig, who was replaced by Parslow.
Gash then called Musselwhite into action at his near post after James Meredith had presented him with a shooting opportunity.
For City, Chambers fired over from 25 yards but, moments later, Gibson received his marching orders when he slid in to win the ball on the edge of Cambridge’s penalty box but appeared to follow through with his challenge on Thorpe.
On the stroke of half-time, Chris Smith then forced Naisbitt into his best save of the first period when he clawed away the City skipper’s header from a Paddy McLaughlin free-kick.
City continued to look the most likely side to break the deadlock after the interval with Naisbitt tipping over a Walker shot following Matty Blair’s cross.
Smith then went close with a header from Oyebanjo’s corner.
The Minstermen suffered another injury setback on the hour when Oyebanjo limped out of the action and was replaced by Michael Potts.
But the former Blackburn Rovers midfielder made an immediate impression when he released Walker, who sprang the hosts’ offside trap through the right channel before going on to drill a terrific angled shot into Naisbitt’s bottom right-hand corner from 15 yards.
On 73 minutes, Challinor fired narrowly wide from 25 yards and Chambers also made a lightning burst through the middle of the hosts’ defence before back-heeling to Potts, who fired wide.
But City held firm to preserve their lead with few scares until the final whistle.
Cambridge United 0, York City 1 (Walker 65)
York City: Paul Musselwhite 7, Jon Challinor 8, Chris Smith 8, Chris Doig 7, Ben Gibson 6, Lanre Oyebanjo 8, James Meredith 8, Patrick McLaughlin 8, Matty Blair 8, Jason Walker 9, Ashley Chambers 9.
Substitutes: Daniel Parslow 8 (for Doig, 19), Michael Potts 8 (for Oyebanjo 60), Matthew Blinkhorn (for Walker 90).
Not used: Jamie Reed, Erik Tonne.
Key: 10 – Faultless; 9 – Outstanding; 8 – Excellent; 7 – Good; 6 – Average; 5 – Below par; 4 – Poor; 3 – Dud; 2 – Hopeless; 1 – Retire.
Star man: Walker – another moment of class at a crucial stage in City’s season.
Cambridge: Danny Naisbitt, Jonathon Thorpe (Jack Eaves, 46), Rory McAuley, Blaine Hudson, James Jennings, Liam Hughes, Tom Shaw (James Brighton, 81), Ross Jarvis, Harry Pell, Luke Berry, Michael Gash.
Subs (not used): Ashley Corker, Robert Ambrussics, Liam Hurst.
Booked: Jennings 45, Shaw 50, Meredith 62.
Sent off: Gibson 40.
Shots on target: United 3, City 3.
Shots off target: United 4, City 6.
Corners: United 7, City 6.
Fouls conceded: United 7, City 6.
Offsides: United 2, City 0.
Referee: Mike Bull (Essex).
Attendance: 2,211 (226 away fans).