A POOR Shaftesbury Avenue show brought the curtain down on Gary Mills’ second spell in charge of York City.

The final act of Mills’ 11-month reign saw Gavin Cogdon’s stoppage-time header seal a 3-2 FA Cup victory for eighth-tier hosts South Shields just as both sets of supporters were contemplating an encore in the form of a Bootham Crescent replay.

Earlier, two goals in as many minutes from Sean Newton and Jon Parkin had seen City stage an unlikely comeback after Carl Finnigan’s penalty and Julio Arca had put Shields firmly in the ascendancy.

But, even though away midfielder Adriano Moke donned his gloves for a second half which ended up being played out in the South Shields September sun, it was Cogdon who delivered the 91st-minute knockout blow for the Evo-Stik North leaders. Despite the ultimately dramatic denouement, Graham Fenton’s men deservedly took their place in Monday’s hat following an awful first-half display from those players representing a once-proud club that reached the 1955 semi-finals.

Amari Morgan-Smith set the tone for 45 minutes of sloppy standards when, after Jon Shaw’s poor clearance gifted him a one-on-one opportunity just 32 seconds in, his heavy touch saw the ball roll straight to relieved home keeper Jack Norton.

The former Luton and Oldham striker did not have another chance all afternoon.

After Parkin shot wide from 20 yards, the home team were then not as wasteful when they gleefully accepted City keeper Jon Worsnop’s invitation to take the lead.

Conceding a penalty for the second weekend running, Worsnop inexplicably attempted to nudge the ball past Shields’ Jamie Holmes in his own box, lost the ball and had no option but to drag down the former Newcastle United under-23s attacker, as he prepared to find an unguarded net.

Two seasons ago, before the revision of the triple jeopardy rule, Worsnop would have arguably seen red in both of the last two fixtures, but he remained in between the sticks to dive the opposite way as Finnigan found his bottom-right corner to convert the ninth-minute spot kick.

At the other end, Parkin drilled a 30-yard effort straight at Norton, but left-back Anthony Callaghan was subsequently allowed to carry the ball to the edge of the City box before firing wide and, having not heeded that warning, the visitors fell further behind on 35 minutes.

Veteran former Middlesbrough and Sunderland midfielder Arca, now 36, passed to Rob Briggs and set off on a run that initially went unchecked by Moke.

As the former Glenn Hoddle Academy graduate then tried to recover, he only succeeded in colliding into team-mate Theo Wharton, allowing Arca to collect Briggs’ return pass in the left channel and fire across Worsnop into the bottom corner from 15 yards.

The reigning FA Vase winners continued to threaten with Cogdon calling Worsnop into near-post action and Barrie Smith firing wide after Hamza Bencherif had given away possession 20 yards from goal.

On the stroke of half-time, Cogdon also blasted wide from just inside the box after Worsnop clawed away a left-wing Callaghan cross.

A bristling Mills reacted by hauling off Simon Heslop, Wharton and Jassem Sukar and introducing Connor Smith, Louis Almond and Kaine Felix.

The changes did seem to inject a little more purpose into his side after Cogdon had prodded straight at Worsnop, having poked the ball in between Dan Parslow’s legs when he was picked out through the left channel by home sub Michael Richardson.

Seconds later, a fierce 20-yard drive by Alex Whittle whistled just over, while Parkin and Newton missed the target by greater margins from a similar distance.

Bencherif also headed over the Minstermen’s first corner of the match, delivered by Almond on 69 minutes, before two goalkeeping blunders in quick succession by the underworked Norton levelled the scoreline.

First, the former Bedlington Terriers and Newcastle Blue Star net-minder allowed a right-footed 20-yard effort from Newton to squirm under him after Felix’s lay-off on 76 minutes.

Then, Norton dropped a high Morgan-Smith cross from the right touchline and the predatory Parkin, positioned five yards out, was on hand to swivel and find the roof of the net.

Almond went on to curl narrowly wide from 20 yards, Newton flashed a deflected attempt across the face of goal and a tame Felix shot was comfortably gathered, as City looked to have found the temerity to snatch victory.

Instead, though, Shields broke and the defences were down at the other end of the pitch when Arca swung in a corner from the right, Dillon Morse met it high at the far post with a downward header and Cogdon glanced into the net from a couple of yards. Afterwards, Parkin leant back and directed the last shot of the match well wide from 30 yards, before Shields were left to celebrate reaching the competition’s fourth qualifying round for the first time since their most recent reincarnation in 1974.


Jon Worsnop 4 – penalty blunder was as baffling as it was costly

Dan Parslow 5 – joined in at right back and combative after break

Hamza Bencherif 4 – troubled by movement of home forwards

Jassem Sukar 5 – tried to stick to job before half-time withdrawal

Alex Whittle 6 – continues to provide most energy in team from left back

Simon Heslop 4 – made little impression prior to being subbed

Theo Wharton 4 – could not match home team’s tempo and also made way

Adriano Moke 4 – peripheral for long periods of the contest

Amari Morgan-Smith 4 – wasteful start to game set tone for a sloppy first half

Jon Parkin 5 – not at his best but in right place to punish Norton for second goal

Sean Newton 5 – didn’t penetrate after being employed as left-sided attacker

Substitutes: Louis Almond 6 – positive (Simon Heslop,46), Connor Smith 6 – lively (for Theo Wharton, 46), Kaine Felix 5 – shackled (for Jassem Sukar, 46).

Subs not used: Ryan Edmondson, Luke Simpson, Sam Muggleton, Aaron Haswell, Luke Simpson.

City star man: Whittle

South Shields

Jack Norton, Craig Baxter, Anthony Callaghan (Darren Lough, 90+3), Jon Shaw, Dillion Morse, Julio Arca, Rob Briggs, Barrie Smith (Andrew Stephenson 90+3), Gavin Cogdon, Carl Finnigan, Jamie Holmes (Michael Richardson, 45).

Subs not used: Liam Connell, Louis Storey, Matty Pattison, Luke Sullivan.

South Shields star man: Arca – no substitute for class

Referee: M Woods rating: 7/10 – kept his composure amid home excitement

Booked: Worsnop 8

Sent off: None

Attendance: 2,086

Shots on target: South Shields 5, City 4

Shots off target: South Shields 4, City 7

Corners: South Shields 3, City 3

Fouls conceded: South Shields 11, City 10

Offside: South Shields 2, City 1