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Match report: Grantham Town 1, York City 1
YORK City midfielder Paddy McLaughlin cracked in his fourth pre-season goal at Grantham Town but the Evo-Stik League premier division hosts fought back for a 1-1 draw.
Jason Walker , who failed to convert two of his five penalties for City last season, had earlier seen a first-half spot kick saved, meanwhile, by home ’keeper Jimmy Lindley during a lacklustre offering in Nottinghamshire.
A 30-yard blockbuster by McLaughlin broke the deadlock just past the hour mark in Saturday’s game but Town striker Karl Demidh, who also hit the bar with a header, earned his team a share of the spoils with an emphatic 77th-minute strike.
Danny Blanchett’s sloppy third-minute pass led to the first opportunity of the game with Jamie McGhee’s right-wing cross finding Gio Carchedi, whose sidefooted effort was saved by Michael Ingham .
Shortly afterwards, however, Blanchett turned provider for his own side when his centre from the left flank saw last season’s leading marksman Matty Blair , still searching for his first pre-season goal, glance a header wide.
But Blair’s pace and determination down the right flank proved City’s sole attacking threat during the opening 45 minutes with his 13th-minute cross clawed away from under his own crossbar by Lindley.
Otherwise, a midfield triumvirate of Dan Parslow, Jonathan Smith and Lee Bullock struggled for rhythm, while Michael Coulson and Walker were also subdued.
The best move of the half saw Demidh head against the bar after Ashley Robinson had spread play for Lee Potts to deliver an inviting cross in from the left.
McGhee also hit the outside of a post from a narrow angle moments later and centre-back Grant Brindley headed just wide.
City were handed the chance to forge ahead, though, on 33 minutes when Blair raided down the right and Walker teed up Bullock for a goalbound effort that was handled by Grantham skipper Phil Watt.
But Walker’s penalty lacked power and conviction and was comfortably saved low to his left by Lindley, who recovered to gather the striker’s follow-up attempt.
Blair then saw a 15-yard looping header tipped over before he exited the action at half-time along with seven other visiting players.
One of the half-time replacements – Jamie Reed – should have announced his arrival with a 53rd-minute goal but scuffed his close-range shot, allowing Paul Grimes to clear off the line, after the chance had been created by Ashley Chambers charging on to a sublime McLaughlin pass.
Paul Musselwhite , on for Ingham, then reacted smartly to save Carchedi’s low effort before McLaughlin found Lindley’s top left-hand corner with a missile of a 62nd-minute shot, teed up by John McReady.
Grantham, however, finished the match strongest and, after Lanre Oyebanjo headed out McGhee’s cross from the right, Demidh drove powerfully past Musselwhite from 15 yards.
The same player went closest to winning the match, calling Musselwhite into action at his near post on 82 minutes.
Mills will now be hoping for better from his team as they tackle Leicester, Middlesbrough and Sunderland sides during their last three pre-season encounters.
City: Ingham (Musselwhite, 46), Challinor (Oyebanjo, 46), C Smith (Platt, 60), Doig (McLaughlin, 46), Blanchett, Parslow, Bullock (McReady, 46), J Smith (Johnson, 46), Blair (Reed, 46), Walker (Knowles, 46), Coulson (Chambers, 46).