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Match report: Grimsby Town 2, York City 3
JAMAL Fyfield’s 93rd-minute winning goal clinched a thrilling 3-2 victory for York City at Blue Square Bet Premier play-off rivals Grimsby last night.
During a rampant performance that ranked alongside any this season from Gary Mills’ men, it looked like the visitors might pay for a host of missed chances when goals from Jamie Reed and Chris Smith were cancelled out by Anthony Elding and Michael Coulson.
But left-back Fyfield, who had been at fault for the Mariners’ first goal, struck from the edge of the box in front of a delirious away end.
The result was Grimsby’s first defeat in ten league games at Blundell Park.
Mills’ team, meanwhile, have entered the Bootham Crescent history books in belting style – an 11th league game unbeaten on the road breaking a record set during the 1973/4 season.
City made three changes to the side that started Saturday’s 1-0 FA Trophy semi-final, first leg win over Luton with top scorer Jason Walker returning from injury and Matty Blair and Paddy McLaughlin both recalled.
The injured Lanre Oyebanjo dropped out, along with strikers Matthew Blinkhorn and Moses Ashikodi, who were both named on the bench.
Grimsby, meanwhile, were missing 28-goal top scorer Liam Hearn due to a heel problem.
An excellent, competitive first half saw both sides play at a high tempo with a host of chances created at both ends.
In only the second minute, Michael Ingham was forced to tip a looping Elding header over his crossbar and then clawed a 20-yard effort from the same player out of the air after Daniel Parslow’s clearance had cannoned kindly into the former Leeds striker’s path off Louie Soares.
On 11 minutes, Reed scuffed a great far-post opportunity from a cross by Walker, who then shot wide from 15 yards after James Meredith had won a header.
At the other end, Peter Winn hit the roof of the stand after Reed had lost possession in his own half while Walker wasted a promising counter attack when his ambitious 30-yard drive deflected wide off team-mate McLaughlin.
The Minstermen, however, forged ahead in the 19th minute when Mariners left-back Conor Townsend got his feet in a muddle after Blair’s through ball hit a bobble.
A predatory Reed, breathing down Townsend’s neck, capitalised fully when he prodded the ball into James McKeown’s bottom right-hand corner from eight yards.
Blair might have doubled City’s advantage moments later, but shot wide of the near post from a Walker pass and Coulson’s firm drive was well saved by Ingham before a moment of light relief was provided by left-back Fyfield who, following a rush of blood to the head, caught the ball while on the floor and was cautioned by ref Wayne Barratt.
On-loan Stevenage midfielder Winn called Ingham into action again with an edge-of-the-box volley that the former Northern Ireland international pushed around his left-hand upright.
Shortly afterwards, McLaughlin should have extended City’s lead when Blair and Walker both dummied a Fyfield through ball, sending the ex-Newcastle reserve midfielder clear on goal. But McLaughlin fired straight at McKeown from eight yards and then lifted a second chance over when the ball fell straight back to him.
Another weak far-post effort saw Blair fail to extend McKeown and the winger then headed over from three yards but his blushes were spared by an offside flag.
Ingham was again at full stretch, however, to tip over a rising Soares drive and he then caught Ian Miller’s header from the resultant corner under his own crossbar.
City took just two minutes of the second half to claim their second goal with determined skipper Smith shinning the ball over from a yard after McKeown had saved Meredith’s header following McLaughlin’s corner.
Walker should have put the game beyond doubt on 57 minutes but fired wide with the goal at his mercy after Blair had burst down the right and pulled the ball back perfectly into his path.
The Mariners were then handed a 74th-minute lifeline when Fyfield’s poor clearance only found Winn on the left wing. His cross was met by Elding, whose downward header from six yards crept inside Ingham’s bottom right-hand corner despite the City ’keeper’s best efforts to keep it out.
The goal rejuvenated Grimsby and their previously crestfallen fans and, on 81 minutes, Ingham could only punch a Townsend cross up in the air and a lunging Coulson headed in from an acute angle.
Miller then headed narrowly wide from a 90th-minute corner before Fyfield surged forward and found McKeown’s bottom left-hand corner to cue the wild celebrations.
Grimsby Town 2 (Elding 74; Coulson 81), York City 3 (Reed 19; Smith 47; Fyfield 90+3)
York City: Michael Ingham 9, Jon Challinor 8, Daniel Parslow 9, Chris Smith 9, Jamal Fyfield 8, Scott Kerr 8, Patrick McLaughlin 9, James Meredith 9, Matty Blair 9, Jason Walker 8, Jamie Reed 9.
Subs: Matthew Blinkhorn (for Walker, 80).
Not used: Danny Pilkington, Scott Brown, Chris Doig, Moses Ashikodi.
Key: 10 – Faultless; 9 – Outstanding; 8 – Excellent; 7 – Good; 6 – Average; 5 – Below par; 4 – Poor; 3 – Dud; 2 – Hopeless; 1 – Retire.
Star man: James Meredith – a revelation again in midfield for the Minstermen.
Grimsby: James McKeown, Gary Silk, Shaun Pearson, Ian Miller, Conor Townsend, Michael Coulson, Craig Disley, Andi Thanoj (Bradley Wood, 50), Peter Winn, Louie Soares (Rob Duffy, 50), Anthony Elding.
Subs (not used): Dayle Southwell, Charlie I’Anson, Kiernan Hughes-Mason.
Booked: Fyfield 25, Disley 56, Townsend 70, Walker 77, Challinor 90.
Sent off: None.
Referee: Wayne Barratt (Worcs).
Attendance: 4,250 (266 away fans).
Shots on target: Town 7, City 9.
Shots off target: Town 3, City 11.
Corners: Town 6, City 2.
Fouls conceded: Town 12, City 11.
Offsides: Town 5, City 1.