A hat-trick of wins for triumphant Terry Dolan and his revamped Minstermen and proof, if it were needed, that City's red revival of recent weeks is a real one.

When Colin Alcide swooped to conquer deep into stoppage time to give York victory there were some who no doubt felt City were lucky.

For 30 minutes in the second-half they were outplayed by one of the best passing sides witnessed at Bootham Crescent this season.

Indeed, had this been a boxing contest the referee may well have jumped in to save a reeling on the ropes York from further punishment.

But a totting up of the referees' score cards at the end of the contest may well have found City deserved points winners.

Because for all their fleet-footedness and neat approach play Hartlepool failed to find a knockout punch as City earned their fighting stripes in a test of mettle.

The Minstermen, now five matches unbeaten, are truly reborn.

City's first-half performance - too easily forgotten amid the backs to the wall stuff of the second period - was proof too that form and fortune is very much with Dolan's team now.

Playing before a bumper crowd and amid a crackling atmosphere York, starting from where they left-off on Tuesday night against Lincoln, were more than a match for their high-flying visitors in a cut and thrust opening.

John Williams gave an early indication that he had packed his shooting boots when he fired in a low curler that 'keeper Martin Hollund did well to clutch down low on a wet surface.

Minutes later and Williams at last broke his long goal duck at Bootham Crescent.

New boy Darren Edmondson, making his debut after signing from Huddersfield Town in midweek, missed out the short option of Barry Conlon and flighted in a careful ball to Mark Sertori on the edge of the Hartlepool area.

Sertori's cute knock down left Kevin Hulme not having to break stride. The midfield marauder advanced around Hollund but pulled his shot wide from an acute angle.

United's right-back Darren Knowles, obviously thinking the ball was going to run out for a goal-kick, stood and stared. Unfortunately for him, but not for City, Williams arrived late and unseen at the far post to turn the ball home from the tightest of angles.

Confidence boosted, passes were hit with purpose and poise rather than hoped and long. Tackles were crisp and determined and if possession was lost, the Minstermen were quick to rally back behind the ball.

Pool perhaps possessed the brighter talent in Tommy Miller, livewire Newcastle loan ranger James Coppinger and the prowling Paul Stephenson.

But it was to City's credit - epitomised by the midfield tandem of Hulme and Steve Agnew - that when Hartlepool did have possession they were never on easy street long enough to display their skills.

Only once did Alan Fettis have to make a save, when Chris Westwood headed down Paul Stephenson's corner, but otherwise that was it.

If a concentrated York didn't win the first ball they invariably won the second and when United did get a sniff of the City penalty area they were either crowded out or shepherded away from danger.

As a result, it was a half of zilch goalscoring chances.

But it remained fiercely competitive and was still much better than that witnessed at Bootham Crescent for much of this sorry season.

City started the second-half as bright as the blue sky that had now chased off the first-half downpour and almost doubled their advantage within minutes of the restart.

Hollund came out of the area to head clear a long punt from Fettis.

Sertori picked up the lose ball and picked out Barry Conlon with a fine cross only for the Hartlepool 'keeper to expertly tip the Irishman's bullet header over the bar.

The save seemed to stir the visitors from their slumber and within minutes the sides were level.

City had umpteen chances to clear a Stephenson cross but after Micky Barron's shot hit the back of Hulme's head Pete Hawkins could only slice his clearance high and mighty.

The ball dropped and Coppinger pounced to lift and loop his shot over Fettis from ten yards.

Hartlepool, prompted by the increasingly influential Miller breaking from midfield, upped the tempo and a rocking City were left to cling on.

But for all the visitors' fluid movement, rarely did they get a clear sight of goal and when they did Fettis was off his line smartly to cover and smother.

City's problems were up front where the ball was refusing to stick .

Dolan rung the changes, bringing on his full complement of substitutes and York at last took up some sort of residency in the Hartlepool half.

But as the 90 minutes mark passed a share of the spoils seemed certain, especially when Mark Bower's thunderous downward header from Agnew's corner was cleared off the line by Ian Clark.

The ball was only half cleared, however, and Christian Fox, out wide on the left, was able to pick out Peter Swan with a deep cross.

The unflappable veteran headed the ball back across the face of the goal and Alcide, showing impeccable timing, needed no second invitation to sweep it home for a just triumph.

Nationwide Division Three Saturday, March 25, 2000

York City 2 Hartlepool 1

YORK CITY: Alan Fettis 8, Barry Jones 7, Peter Swan 8, Mark Bower 8, Peter Hawkins 6 (Christian Fox 82mins), Kevin Hulme 7, Steve Agnew 7, Darren Edmondson 7, John Williams 7 (Colin Alcide 74mins), Barry Conlon 6, Mark Sertori 6 (Lee Bullock, 70mins, 6)

Subs, not used: Russ Howarth, Chris Fairclough

Goal: Williams 12mins, Alcide 90mins

Booking: Agnew, foul, 64mins

Sendings-off: None

Evening Press Unique Pub Man of the Match

Alan Fettis: On a day when City's outfield players were solid rather than spectcular, Fettis caught the eye with his safe handling in wet conditions. Came comfortably for crosses and his kicking was much improved

SHREWSBURY: Martin Hollund, Darren Knowles, Gary Strodder, Micky Barron, Chris Westwood, Ian Clark, Paul Stephenson, Lee Fitzpatrick (Thomas Tennebo 70mins) Tommy Miller, Chris Freestone (Kevin Henderson 86mins), James Coppinger (Paul Beavers 86mins)

Subs, not used: Andy Dibble, Paul Arnison

Goals: Coppinger, 53mins

Bookings: Barron, foul, 55mins

Sendings-off: None

Referee: Mark Cowburn (Blackpool)

Attendance: 4,079

York City Hartlepool United

Half-time 1 0

Corners 7 4

Shots on target 8 4

Fouls committed 13 10


City's next match: versus Southend United, at Roots Hall, on Saturday, April 1, kick-off 3pm

New deal for Thompson

Terry Dolan has moved quickly to hand a new deal to the Minstermen's latest home grown teenage talent, Marc Thompson.

And the City chief was hoping to confirm Peter Hawkins' Bootham Crescent residency until the end of the season today.

Wimbledon left-back Hawkins completed his initial one-month loan stint in Saturday's 2-1 win over Hartlepool.

Ironically, Thompson, in the second year of a three-year scholarship with City, was left out of Saturday's squad in favour of new signing Darren Edmondson.

It was the 18-year-old's first non-appearance since Dolan took charge last month.

But the City manager said he was keen to protect his young stars and believed the time was right to give Thompson his first rest since bursting onto the scene.

I had a chat with Marc on Friday and explained that I was going to leave him out. He is still young and a trainee in effect so he has got plenty of time ahead of him.

But I have told him he will be getting a new contract at the end of the season anyway.

Dolan is anxious to keep Hawkins for the rest of the season and was due to have further talks with Dons assistant manager Mick Harford today.

Maidstone-born Hawkins, who has caught the eye with a series of stylish displays in his seven appearances so far for the Minstermen, has already indicated his willingness to stay.

I spoke to Mick Harford earlier last week to set things in motion and our secretary (Keith Usher) is going to speak to their secretary today," said Dolan.

With deadline day having gone now they have just got to make sure they have everybody fit.

The Dons sank deeper into relegation trouble when they lost 2-1 at West Ham yesterday.