YORK City equalled their biggest league defeat at Bootham Crescent since 1957 following a 5-1 thumping by Accrington Stanley.

Goals by Billy Kee (two), Matty Pearson, Josh Windass and Shay McCartan also meant the Minstermen have now matched the club’s longest-ever run of eight consecutive losses.

New boss Jackie McNamara has been in charge for six of those matches during what has been an abysmal start to his tenure with 11 goals having now been shipped in the last two games following the 6-0 midweek mauling at Portsmouth.

McNamara’s decision to give full City debuts to four rookie under-21 players, along with a 25-year-old journeyman who had not played any football this season, was either bold or bonkers, depending on whose opinion you sought before the game.

Most observers had made their minds up, however, by the final whistle and there was a painful inevitability about the scoreline come 5pm.

On-loan Middlesbrough striker Bradley Fewster came off the bench for City’s 17-year-old youth-team graduate Ben Godfrey to score a second-half consolation for the hosts and, along with winger Kenneth McEvoy and left-back Mark Kitching, fared best among the fresh faces.

But Kitching’s performance was the exception during another calamitous defensive display.

Right-back Josh Lussey, 21, was given a torrid time on his professional debut by dangerous League Two campaigner Sean McConville and, with McNamara having publically expressing his dismay about his options in that position, he will have been disappointed that both of Stanley’s first-half goals emanated from that flank.

Stefan O’Connor, meanwhile, looked a good athlete, but deflected Pearson’s opening goal past Scott Flinders, gave away the penalty that Windass despatched for the third and, then, dallied in possession before being brushed aside by McConville, whether fairly or not, in the build-up to the fourth.

At 23, Femi Ilesanmi was the back four’s senior figure but he suffered mishaps too, most glaringly when the ball bounced off his head to tee up McCartan for Stanley’s fifth goal.

The club last suffered a heavier league defeat on their own soil when Carlisle left North Yorkshire 5-0 winners 58 years ago.

Saturday’s result, meanwhile, matched the 5-1 home reverse endured in the old third division against Walsall during November 1986 and a League Cup drubbing by Stoke in August 2000.

For a team that had been competitive, if not successful, in most fixtures this season, the last two games have represented an alarming drop in respectability and witnessed a proud club become Football League pushovers.

McNamara seems to be of the opinion that the changes he has made were necessary and will precipitate an improvement even if matters had to get worse before they become better.

But, in the meantime, City already look in danger of being cut adrift in a three-way fight for survival with Dagenham & Redbridge and Yeovil and cannot afford to affectively forfeit any more fixtures.

Put simply, this Stanley defeat must represent the season’s nadir.

This squad of players needs to now prove they can contest points at League Two level and, then in January, astute player recruitment will be vital.

The board MUST be confident that McNamara has the ability to bring in the right players to banish the unthinkable prospect of a return to Conference football as transfer market nous should be placed ahead of any other criteria when appointing a lower-league manager.

It would be a real surprise, for example, if Accrington boss John Coleman is a tactical genius but he has demonstrated the ability to identify appropriate signings on a shoestring budget.

The same probably applies to Jim Bentley at the equally-modest Morecambe.

Coleman’s team adopted an attacking 4-4-2 approach that City might be wise to copy, given the trouble they have had defending their flanks all season and the potential for a potent striking partnership in Fewster and Vadaine Oliver. Eight minutes into Saturday’s game, centre-forward Kee somehow shot wide of an open goal after Matt Crooks had outjumped Flinders to meet McConville’s curling free kick from the left, but the visitors did not have to wait much longer to forge in front.

Lussey received a yellow card after getting the wrong side of Windass and tripping the former Harrogate Railway striker.

His free kick was then blocked by City’s defensive wall but Pearson’s 25-yard drive deceived Flinders after catching O’Connor’s heel.

McConville skied a further chance over but then sped past Lussey too easily on the touchline and delivered a left-wing cross that Windass guided towards goal and Kee converted from a couple of yards at the far post.

The talented Windass went on to rattle a powerful shot high into the sidenetting after bursting through the right channel.

At the other end, a Michael Coulson header and Danny Galbraith’s drive were both blocked before they reached Jason Mooney’s goal.

Coulson also hit the roof of the David Longhurst Stand after being picked out at the far post by McEvoy’s left-wing cross.

After the interval, Flinders pushed away an edge-of-the-box Piero Mingoia effort but was sent the wrong way from the penalty spot by Windass, who found the City keeper’s bottom-left corner on 61 minutes after O’Connor had dangled out a leg for him to fall over.

A fourth was added on 72 minutes when McConville dispossessed O’Connor, amid appeals for a foul by City players and supporters, before driving on and forcing Flinders into a low parry, only for Kee to pounce from a couple of yards.

City replied three minutes later with their most encouraging moment of the game as Fewster showed pace and determination to sprint on to fellow sub Josh Carson’s lofted pass over the Stanley defence.

His decisive ten-yard finish into Mooney’s bottom-left corner was just as impressive.

But, after Ilesanmi’s ambitious 35-yard effort cleared the crossbar, the City defender’s 88th-minute mistake allowed McCartan to stride forward and shoot inside Flinders’ right-hand post from the edge of the penalty area.

City’s shocked supporters must now trust McNamara to deliver on his post-match promise of a much-improved display at Bristol Rovers in 13 days’ time.


Scott Flinders: 5 – suffered a few nervy moments on another 90 minutes spent as a sitting duck

Jordan Lussey: 4 – given a torrid time on full debut by the clever McConville

Stefan O’Connor: 4 – has good attributes but made poor decisions for third and fourth goals

Femi Ilesanmi: 4 – needed to inspire those around them but contributed to the chaos

Mark Kitching: 6 – started very positively and contained Mingoia for long periods

Ben Godfrey: 4 – found it hard to get involved prior to early second-half withdrawal

James Berrett: 5 – scrapped away but offered little as an attacking force

Michael Coulson: 5 – played with hip problem and short of his best standards

Danny Galbraith: 4 – lacked match fitness and the acceleration to go past opponents

Vadaine Oliver: 4 – caused Accrington’s centre backs too few problems

Kenny McEvoy: 6 – a real danger at times down the flanks and sent in some decent crosses

Substitutes: STAR MAN Bradley Fewster 7 – threatening (for Godfrey, 57), George Swan 4 – flat-footed (for Lussey, 68), Josh Carson 6 – keen (for Galbraith, 68).

Subs not used: Michael Ingham, Anthony Straker, Tom Platt, Callun Rzonca.

Accrington Jason Mooney, Brad Halliday, Tom Davies, Matty Pearson, Joe Wright, Piero Mingoia, Matt Crooks, Seamus Conneely, Sean McConville, Josh Windass (Shay McCartan, 66), Billy Kee (Terry Gornell, 77). Subs not used: Ross Etheridge, Antony Barry, Andrew Procter, Liam Wakefield, Adam Buxton.

Accrington star man: Windass – roamed around with intent and menace

Referee: Andy Madley rating: 6/10 – incurred wrath of City fans for fourth goal but not the worst

Booked: Lussey 14, Windass 61, Berrett 70, Halliday 73.

Attendance: 2,825 (239 from Accrington)

Shots on target: City 1, Accrington 12

Shots off target: City 2. Accrington 9

Corners: City 3, Accrington 10

Fouls conceded: City 9, Accrington 7

Offsides: City 0, Accrington 6