YORK City suffered their first defeat since New Year’s Day as the club’s relegation worries deepened with a 3-1 home loss to Gateshead.

A confident Heed secured a fourth straight win to enhance their play-off prospects but City remain six points from safety and are without a league game this weekend as they return to FA Trophy action.

City got off to the worst possible start at Bootham Crescent, falling behind to former trialist Danny Johnson’s 15th goal of the season in the first minute.

But Vadaine Oliver levelled only to concede a penalty on the stroke of half-time that former Minstermen favourite Paddy McLaughlin converted.

As the hosts struggled for second-half invention and inspiration, Neil Aspin’s side wrapped up the points on 76 minutes through Wes York.

City, fielding a 3-4-3 formation with Danny Holmes operating in Yan Klukowski’s sweeping role, conceded after just 33 seconds when keeper Kyle Letheren was caught completely unware by Johnson’s speculative, 35-yard pot-shot that beat him low to the left at his near post.

But the Minstermen responded well to the setback with Sean Newton blasting wide from the edge of the box twice in quick succession after being teed up by Oliver and Amari Morgan-Smith.

A Shaun Rooney cross from the right was also hooked off target by Jon Parkin, while York showed an impressive turn of pace to sprint through City’s left channel only for his shot to be parried to safety by Letheren.

The hosts drew level, though, on 14 minutes when Parkin contested an aerial battle from Dan Parslow’s left-wing free kick and, when the ball dropped to Oliver, he fired low past James Montgomery from ten yards.

Another Parslow free kick from the same position then saw Hamza Bencherif’s header saved at the far post by Montgomery.

The Gateshead keeper was fully extended, meanwhile, when he got his fingertips on Newton’s powerful header from Alex Whittle’s left-wing cross.

Parkin went on to fire wide after the ball sat up for him 25 yards from goal, while McLauglin shot high and wide at the other end under pressure from a back-tracking Morgan-Smith.

But the former City favourite did get on the scoresheet on 44 minutes after Oliver, in a similar position to Morgan-Smith moments earlier, got the wrong side of George Smith and put in a challenge from behind that brought the left-wing back down close to the byline.

McLaughlin calmly despatched the resulting spot kick to Letheren’s left.

City could still have gone into the interval on terms but Bencherif got under his header from Newton’s inswinging free kick and cleared the crossbar. The tempo of the game dropped after the break, although McLaughlin saw a ten-yard effort deflect wide off Rooney and Johnson’s firm 20-yard attempt was gathered by Letheren.

With City failing to create opportunities, the Heed then broke on the counter to add a third goal on 76 minutes.

The blisteringly-fast York was sent clear of a high City back-line by Jordan Burrow and, with Whittle unable to catch him, the right winger finished confidently past Letheren.

With the clock ticking down, Letheren was equal to a Jamal Fyfield free kick and Oliver glanced a header across the face of goal from a left-wing cross by sub Aidan Connolly but it was too little, too late for the home side.


Kyle Letheren 5

Hamza Bencherif 6

Danny Holmes 7

Dan Parslow 7

Shaun Rooney 5

Simon Heslop 6

Sean Newton 6

Alex Whittle 7

Vadaine Oliver 6

Jon Parkin 5

Amari Morgan-Smith 6

Subs: Adriano Moke 6 (for Rooney, 55), Aidan Connolly 7 (for Parkin, 60).

Subs not used: Luke Simpson, Scott Fenwick, Lanre Oyebanjo.

Star man: Parslow – valiant endeavour


James Montgomery, James Bolton, Liam Hogan, Manny Smith, Jamal Fyfield, George Smith (Mitch Brundle, 83), Gus Mafuta, Paddy McLaughlin, Wes York, Jordan Burrow, Danny Johnson (Tom Beere, 70). Subs not used: Toby Ajala, Shaun MacDonald, Luke Hannant.

Referee: Martin Coy rating: 6/10

Booked: G Smith 45+3, Oliver 85.

Attendance: 2,320 (184 from Gateshead)

Shots on target: City 4, Gateshead 6

Shots off target: City 6, Gateshead 2

Corners: City 6, Gateshead 4

Fouls conceded: City 9, Gateshead 13

Offside: City 3, Gateshead 0