FRIGHTFUL refereeing left York City boss Gary Mills horrified two days before Halloween.

The Minstermen paid the penalty for Joseph Johnson’s scarily controversial display, as the Liverpool official awarded two dubious spot kicks for opponents Sutton.

Visiting captain Jamie Collins consequently opened and closed the scoring in a 2-2 draw – securing a share of the spoils in the 89th minute with City losing yet more points late on.

In between, Daniel Nti had levelled midway through the first period and Daniel Galbraith had screamed a 25-yard effort past away keeper Ross Worner before the Surrey outfit were reduced to ten men after defender Dean Beckwith had flattened Kaine Felix to receive a second yellow card on 77 minutes.

Before his goal, meanwhile, Galbraith had seen the afternoon’s biggest shout for a foul in the box ignored by Mr Johnson although the Minstermen should have still taken control of their own destiny with Felix squandering a superb opportunity to put the outcome beyond doubt at 2-1.

Scott Flinders was also kept busy between the City sticks during an entertaining encounter which, despite the final outcome, suggested that Mills, four games into his second spell at Bootham Crescent, can soon bring an end to the club’s win-less run which now stands at 12 games.

The additions of Charlie Cooper and Sean Newton certainly helped his team keep possession in a manner that the former double Wembley-winning chief demands.

Sutton, though, made a purposeful start to the game, led by the probing of threatening winger Ross Stearn.

His corner, helped on at the near post by Collins’ bandaged head following an earlier aerial clash with Richard Brodie, forced a remarkable reflex save from Flinders on 11 minutes after Adam May’s point-blank effort.

Stearn’s firmly-struck free kick was also parried away by the recalled City keeper before Craig Eastmond, who was heading out of the area close to the left byline and presented no threat to the home goal, threw himself to the deck after feeling the breeze from Simon Heslop’s wafting arm.

Mr Johnson deemed there to be enough contact between the two players to point to the spot, however, with centre-back Collins finding Flinders’ bottom-left corner as the former Hartlepool net-minder dived the opposite way.

City went on to recover by equalising from their first chance on 24 minutes.

A ball through the right channel skidded off the top of George McLennan’s head and handed Nti a clear run on goal.

The former Worcester winger went on to display a previously unseen clinical nerve as he fired across Worner into his bottom corner from ten yards.

Matty Dixon then exchanged passes with Nti, but his edge-of-the-box effort was not powerful enough to extend Worner.

After Nicky Bailey and Stearn had also missed the target at the other end, Worner pushed Newton’s curling free kick around his left-hand upright and Shaun Rooney headed over from Dixon’s subsequent corner.

Mills made a reshuffle after the interval with Clovis Kamdjo dropping back into the home side’s three-man defence and Galbraith introduced for centre-back Jack Higgins, whose first-half yellow card means he will miss the trip to Eastleigh a week on Saturday due to suspension.

Sutton again started the second period brightly with Roarie Deacon dragging wide from 20 yards and Flinders standing tall as Dan Fitchett crashed a close-range volley into his midriff after Beckwith had headed down Stearn’s corner to the far post.

But Galbraith was left astounded when play was waved on after he was upended by Deacon close to the left byline and Cooper also fired over from distance.

Stearn still looked dangerous for Paul Doswell’s men, lifting a free kick just over before Flinders scooped his 15-yard drive to safety.

It was City, though, who grabbed the game’s third goal on 63 minutes when Galbraith received the ball from Cooper at the end of a flowing move and his left-footed drive dipped over the head of Worner in spectacular style.

Four minutes later, fellow replacement Felix should have joined him on the scoresheet but, after racing clear when advantage was played following Beckwith’s foul on Nti, his finish was weakly aimed at Worner.

Nti went on to shoot over on the turn from 15 yards after a miscued Galbraith attempt and, although Beckwith was given his marching orders after pole-axing Felix off the ball, the Minstermen did not create another opportunity with their numerical advantage.

The visitors, meanwhile, saw Stearn, Eastmond and Maxime Biamou all fail to trouble Flinders, until the latter’s 15-yard drive was pushed out by the home keeper.

As Fitchett followed up, Newton was then adjudged to have impeded him and, in front of a disbelieving David Longhurst Stand, Collins was given the chance to convert again from 12 yards.

He duly obliged - this time finding Flinders’ bottom-right corner as the Minstermen’s shot-stopper guessed wrongly again. Shortly afterwards, Mr Johnson was subjected to a torrent of abuse as his final whistle sparked fury from incandescent Main Stand regulars.


STAR MAN Scott Flinders: 8 – made an astounding save to deny May and also called on later in the game

Shaun Rooney: 7 – kept things uncomplicated at the back and coped with switch to a back three

Jack Higgins: 6 – caught out for his booking before making way at the break

Sean Newton: 7 – looked experienced in his decision making and possessed quality on the ball

Simon Heslop: 6 – found it hard to have an influence in wide-right role, but plugged away

Clovis Kamdjo: 7 – showed good positional sense in midfield anchor role and also sensible in defence

Matty Dixon: 6 – drifted out of the game for periods when needed to come to the fore

Charlie Cooper: 7 – expressed himself well and demonstrated that he can be a capable passer

Alex Whittle: 7 – gave a strong performance defensively, but conservative going forward

Daniel Nti: 7 – showed character with his persistence and deserved first City goal, which was well taken

Richard Brodie: 6 – found it hard to get into the game and didn’t threaten away goal

Substitutes: Daniel Galbraith 8 – bright (for Higgins, 46), Kaine Felix 6 – wasteful (for Brodie, 65).

Subs not used: Scott Fenwick, Franklyn Clarke, Alex Bruton.


Ross Worner, Kevin Amankwaah, Dean Beckwith, Jamie Collins, George McLennan (Brandon Haunstrup, 73), Adam May (Bedsente Gomis, 69), Craig Eastmond, Nicky Bailey, Ross Stearn, Dan Fitchett, Roarie Deacon (Maxime Biamou, 53).

Subs not used: Bradley Hudson-Odoi, Craig McAllister. 

Sutton star man: Collins – ice cool from spot and resolute at the back

Referee: Joseph Johnson rating: 4/10 – penalty decisions looked like guesswork

Booked: Higgins 15, Beckwith 67, Newton 79, Gomis 82 Rooney 88

Sent off: Beckwith 77

Attendance: 2,037 (148 from Sutton)

Shots on target: City 4, Sutton 7

Shots off target: City 3, Sutton 6

Corners: City 4, Sutton 4

Fouls conceded: City 14, Sutton 10

Offside: City 3, Sutton 1