YORK City’s Football League status is still hanging by a thread following a surprise 3-1 victory over Portsmouth.

Goals from Bradley Fewster, Lewis Alessandra and Luke Summerfield put City in a commanding position after 48 minutes and, even though Pompey hit back almost immediately through Gareth Evans, following a Scott Flinders blunder, the home side held on for a first win in 13 contests.

It leaves Jackie McNamara’s men nine points from safety with three games left to play and a goal difference 11 inferior to Newport.

Put simply, if the Minstermen could win their remaining three games by two-goal margins and the Welsh club succumb to similar defeats, then relegation would be avoided.

That still seems a severely remote and forlorn hope, of course, with last night’s performance and still result a real source of frustration for City supporters due to its probable irrelevance. Earlier, a low-key opening saw Josh Carson, recalled at left back, see a second-minute, edge-of-the-box effort deflected wide only for referee Nigel Miller to award a corner to the derision of the sparse home crowd.

At the other end, Evans’ right-wing cross sailed over Flinders’ crossbar, an Enda Stevens 15-yard attempt was crowded out and Adam Webster’s diving header missed the target from a Kyle Bennett corner.

Fewster, meanwhile, called Paul Jones into action at his near post with a 15-yard blast following right-back Luke Hendrie’s purposeful forward surge.

A curling Luke Summerfield free kick was also parried with by a panicked Jones before Fewster made the breakthrough on the half-hour mark.

Having waited five-and-a-half months for a goal from a corner under McNamara, two have now been scored in as many matches with Scot Bennett heading back across the goal from Summerfield’s right-wing flag kick and Fewster jumping brilliantly to nod in from a couple of yards.

City then doubled their advantage four minutes later when another driving run down the right by Hendrie ended with a perfect low cross that Alessandra guided past Jones from three yards.

In response, Bennett lifted a 20-yard shot over for the visitors following a determined diagonal run, but another dangerous cross by Hendrie was punched away by Jones as far as Summerfield whose mishit volley bounced back up off the turf and over the Pompey keeper only for Adam Barton to head clear in first-half stoppage time.

Summerfield added a spectacular third goal, however, three minutes after the restart when he belted a 30-yard wonder strike into Jones’ top left-hand corner following Alessandra’s lay-off.

The visitors were spurred into life by the City midfielder’s thunderbolt with Michael Smith curling narrowly wide from 12 yards after getting in behind Bennett.

Paul Cook’s men went on to reduce the deficit on 55 minutes courtesy of a Flinders howler.

The City keeper stooped low at his near post to gather Evans’ hopeful edge-of-the-box effort, but the ball squirmed through him and over the line.

Play began to swing from end to end with Evans volleying into the sidenetting from a corner and James Berrett forcing Jones into a low save after being played through the left channel by Fewster.

Ben Davis also curled a free kick narrowly wide and Fewster went close twice from Russell Penn’s pass and a left-wing Carson cross.

An ambitious 35-yard Danny Galbraith lob, meanwhile, sailed over and, on 87 minutes, Jones pulled off a brilliant double save to prevent a fourth goal.

Fewster’s mazy dribble took him into the away box before his low ten-yard drive was saved and the Pompey net-minder also kept out Galbraith’s follow-up effort.


Scott Flinders: 5

Luke Hendrie: 9

Scot Bennett: 7

Kyle Cameron: 8

Josh Carson: 7

Russell Penn: 8

James Berrett: 7

Luke Summerfield: 8

Lewis Alessandra: 8

Bradley Fewster: 8

Danny Galbraith: 7

Substitutes: Kenny McEvoy (for Galbraith, 90+1).

Subs not used: Michael Ingham, George Swan, Reece Thompson, Matty Dixon, Derek Riordan.

Star man: Hendrie – charged forward with intent and quality


Paul Jones, Ben Davies, Adam Webster (Adam Barton, 45), Matt Clarke, Enda Stevens, Michael Doyle, Danny Hollands, Gareth Evans, Marc McNulty (Conor Chaplin, 74), Kyle Bennett , (Ben Tollitt, 66), Michael Smith. Subs not used: Adam McGurk, Kai Naismith, Kieron Freeman, Brian Murphy.

Referee: Nigel Miller rating: 5/10

Booked: Davis 58, Carson 86.

Attendance: 3,214 (841 from Portsmouth)

Shots on target: City 9, Portsmouth 1

Shots off target: City 6, Portsmouth 9

Corners: City 6, Portsmouth 4

Fouls conceded: City 13, Portsmouth 9

Offsides: City 2, Portsmouth 5