COALVILLE Town fans’ chant of “Conference North? You’re Having a Laugh” was either one of the cheekiest or most depressing to have ever been heard at Bootham Crescent, depending on their motivation.

It came midway through a rather uninspiring first half but, whatever the catalyst for the taunt, the truth is life hasn’t been a barrel of fun for York City during their first-ever campaign of sixth-tier football.

The club have a reputation, though, for enjoying an FA Trophy run and began their campaign in the competition they won last season by sending their supporters home happy following a 3-1 triumph over the Leicestershire upstarts.

Jon Parkin has given the Minstermen faithful more to smile about than any other player this term and, in front of just under 900 hardy souls who had turned up to cheer their team on during a cold November afternoon, the 35-year-old veteran took his 2017/18 tally to 16 goals with a pair of penalties after teeing up Gary Martin to break the deadlock just before the interval.

The second spot kick, however, was followed by Daniel Creaney’s reply straight from the kick-off, which gave Coalville’s vocal travelling army something to celebrate and meant the hosts extended their sequence without a clean sheet to 12 matches.

Earlier, the contest had started at a slow tempo with City often over-deliberate in their attacking movements and manager Martin Gray showing the most purpose, retrieving the ball every time it went out of play close to his dugout.

Parkin headed the first chance of the afternoon over after 13 minutes from a Daniel Rowe corner, while Amari Morgan-Smith volleyed off target after being picked out at the far post by left-back David Ferguson’s cross at the end of a patient passing move.

A Rowe cross was also headed too high by Martin, who went on to play in Morgan-Smith through the right channel on the half-hour mark, but he blasted straight at Matthew Coton, defending his near post.

Josh Law, meanwhile, saw a 15-yard chance deflected away from the visitors’ goal and Sean Newton’s diagonal effort from the edge of the box was safely gathered by Coton.

Gaining encouragement from still being on terms, the visitors’ 15-goal leading marksman Nathan Watson then clipped the top of the crossbar after cutting in from the left flank and ghosting past Hamza Bencherif.

Dean Freeman also headed on to the top of the Longhurst Stand from Blair Anderson’s corner, before the Minstermen forged in front on 43 minutes.

After a 25-yard Parkin free kick that skidded off the surface was safely gathered by Coton, Martin exchanged passes with City’s talismanic attacker before bending an excellent edge-of-the-box effort into the away keeper’s top-left corner.

Undeterred, Coalville made a spirited start to the second period, as City began sluggishly.

Both Tom McGlinchey and Kyle Dixon shot narrowly wide from just outside the penalty area whilst, at the other end, Newton was off target with a 30-yard drive and Dan Parslow’s header following Rowe’s free kick floated straight into Coton’s arms.

But City were literally given a helping hand by sliding Ravens midfielder Dixon, who conceded a penalty after trying to block Newton’s left-wing cross.

Whether contact was deliberate seemed contentious.

Parkin was not interested in the rights or wrongs of the decision, however, sidefooting low and firmly into Coton’s bottom-left corner.

Sub Aidan Connolly went on to fire wide from 20 yards and, after Anderson had drove off target for Coalville, fellow replacement James Gray forced Coton into a near-post parry after driving through the left channel.

A Morgan-Smith header from Connolly’s corner, meanwhile, was too weak to extend Coton, but City stretched their lead on 77 minutes after Gray and Freeman both ended up in a heap chasing a ball through the right channel.

Referee Paul Brown again appeared to pause for thought before pointing to the spot and, this time, Parkin blasted high into the roof of the net.

Straight from the restart, though, Coalville’s consolation was converted by Creaney after he charged clear through the middle of the pitch, held off Law’s challenge and finished calmly past an exposed and onrushing Adam Bartlett.

The goal never looked like sparking a comeback, but it was still irritating for a side without a shutout since the 2-0 September 9 success over Stockport.

In search of his hat-trick, Parkin went on to test Coton with another free kick and saw a final attempt parried with Connolly unable to make meaningful contact to force in the rebound.

Victory meant the Minstermen have now won three and drawn one of their last four fixtures but, as their manager acknowledged afterwards, the performance was no better than alright.

After all, it had taken two penalties – both of which looked debatable – to see off a club who, until 1995, were known as Ravenstone and, 14 years ago, were plying their trade in the Leicestershire Senior League.


Adam Bartlett 6

Josh Law 6

Hamza Bencherif 6

Dan Parslow 7

David Ferguson 7

Daniel Rowe 6

Adriano Moke 6

Sean Newton 7

Amari Morgan-Smith 6

Jon Parkin 8

Gary Martin 7

Substitutes: Aidan Connolly 6 (for Moke, 55), James Gray 7 (for Martin, 63).

Subs not used: Sam Muggleton, Tyler Walton, Alex Whittle.

Star man: Parkin - set up first goal and converted penalties with aplomb


Matthew Coton, Danny Jenno, Dean Freeman, Lee Torr, Cleveland Taylor, Tom McGlinchey (Jermaine Hollis, 68) Kyle Dixon (Alex Howes, 68), Steve Towers, Blair Anderson (Ollie Bassett,74), Daniel Creaney, Nathan Watson. Subs not used: Kyle Bryant, Jamie Hannis.

Coalville star man: Coton – good saves and handling

Referee: Paul Brown rating: 6/10 – penalties looked a little harsh

Booked: Dixon 62

Sent off: None

Attendance: 1,001 (104 from Coalville)

Shots on target: City 10, Coalville 2

Shots off target: City 9, Coalville 6

Corners: City 7, Coalville 3

Fouls conceded: City 8, Coalville 7

Offside: City 0, Coalville 2