YORK City's youth team today kicked off their National League Football Academy season with a 2-1 defeat to Chester.

The visitors opened the scoring at Wigginton Road through Tom Ruffer before Nathan Dyer equalised with a half-volley 53 minutes in.

Despite an improved second-half showing, Regan Rubin capitalised on a defensive mix-up to give Chester the points.

Charlie Jebson-King - who made a handful of appearances in pre-season - was among those on the cusp of the senior team making an appearance, alongside Kiari Ventura and Reiss Harrison. They joined right-back and regular first-team substitute Dyer in the starting 11.

The Minstermen are one of just 22 teams league-wide set to benefit from the National League Academy Licence programme, which seeks to protect teams and young players at Steps 1 and 2 from League sides’ advances.

It is hoped the scheme will also encourage development of player s and coaching staff, as well as being able to offer a certified academy structure that could, in turn, attract a higher calibre of young talents.

Of the scheme, York boss Steve Watson said: "Gary Owers leads up the recruitment and organisation side of it and he had a good chat with us about it in the league managers' meeting (at the start of the season).

"It's to protect clubs like us at this level - or should be - so we're not building players up for somebody to just come and cherry-pick.

"That has to be good news for clubs like us."

Watson also said he believes looking to the Academy for first-team reinforcements over the course of the season will be a good morale boost for the youngsters.

“What we try and do is get a good mixture of experience and youth and that shows there is a route into the first team,” he said.

“Nathan (Dyer) and Ryan (Whitley) have proved that. You might get more Academy lads coming through this season.

“Charlie (Jebson-King) is doing fantastic things for (youth team coach) Tim’s (Ryan) team.

“That’s not to say we won’t look to bring in a bit of help in different departments but I’m not going to bring in people for the sake of it to sit and watch games. I’m a big believer in using everybody.

“We are quite stretched, in all honesty, but if it comes to the stage where we need a couple of bodies, I’ll certainly go into the youth because I want them to know there’s a chance of moving forward with York.”