YORK CITY safely navigated their way through a potential banana skin after overcoming Irlam 2-0 in the second qualifying round of the FA Cup.

Goals from Alex Kempster and Kyle McFarlane in either half secured York's name in the hat for the next round.

They were made to thoroughly work hard for the victory, with ninth-tier Irlam putting in a good showing to those watching on the BBC stream and being particularly dominant at the start of the second half.

While competitive, there only ever looked to be one winner. 

City manager Steve Watson lived up to his pre-match promise of fielding a strong team, making just four changes to the starting 11 that won at Darlington last weekend.

Ryan Whitley, Andy Bond and Wes York came in, as did Tom Allan after serving his month's loan at Farsley Celtic.

Kieran Green, Peter Jameson, Harry Spratt and Jordan Burrow dropped out - the latter three being included on the bench.

However, any thoughts that the strong York side would simply over-run Irlam were very quickly dispelled.

Defenders Joe Tait and Sean Newton each sent speculative efforts over the stands in opening quarter of an hour. 

It took 24 minutes for the National League North side to register a shot on goal.

City's run-away man of the match David Ferguson sent a chipped ball over which Wes York latched on to, putting him one-v-one against the goalkeeper, though he could only tamely hit it straight at Lee White.

Had York coverted, it would have proved to be a hat-trick of assists for Ferguson.

After half an hour, Irlam centre back Karl Cassell rounded a couple of York players before sending a wild shot over the crossbar.

It did little to dampen the spirits of the jubilant home crowd though - instead drawing the loudest cheer of the afternoon.

Minutes later though it was the York fans who were celebrating.

Ferguson showcased what's now becoming a trademark break down the left side and then put a perfect low cross into Kempster's path, who duly applied the finish.

That was how it would remain come the half-time break, though there was time for Jordan Buckley to squander a half-chance, hitting a first-time shot straight at Whitley after City lost the ball at the back.

Seconds after the restart, the Irlam number nine had an even better chance. A long ball put him in the clear in the York penalty area before he dragged the shot wide of the far post.

That set the tone for a bright start by the hosts, with York decidedly flat in response.

In the space of nine minutes early in the half, Ryan Ledson headed a free-kick over, Marcus Perry dashed clear but shot straight at goal and Dylan Allan-Meredith flashes a strike inches wide of the far post. 

It was a pivotal spell for the North West Counties League premier division side and the proficiency in front of goal ultimately proved to be the difference.

With 15 minutes left, York struck against the run of play. New striker McFarlane (formerly of Birmingham) came off the bench to make his York debut and quickly made an impression.

Again it stemmed from Ferguson - brilliantly taking Whitley's punt forward - who put the ball in the right area and McFarlane steered it home.

It was very much game over at that point.

Watson was able to hand out another maiden York appearance, this time to 17-year-old Charlie Jebson-King, replacing Ferguson who came off to a merited ovation in the dying stages.

By that point, the job had been done. City are through to the next rouund and all attentions now turn to next Saturday's clash with third-placed King's Lynn.

York: Whitley 6, Dyer 5 (McFarlane 7, 57), Ferguson 8 (Jebson-King 5, 85), Newton 7, Allan 6, Tait 7, Moke 7, McLaughlin 6, Bond 6 (Burrow 6, 57), Kempster 7, York 6. Subs not used: Jameson, Langstaff, Spratt, King.

Goals: Kempster (33), McFarlane (75).

Yellow cards: Allan, McFarlane.

Star man: David Ferguson. Two assists and could easily have had a hat-trick of them.

Irlam: White, Stewart, Meredith, Doyle, Ledson, Cassell, Perry (Martin, 71), Nicholas, Buckley, Morrison (Icely, 63), Southworth (Farrelly, 86).

Subs not used: Dulson, Russell, Eyres, Pollitt.

Yellow cards: None

Attendance: 798

Referee: Peter Shacklady.