YORK City are through to the first round of the FA Cup with a deserved 2-0 win over Stockport County.

A pair of quick-fire goals from Alex Kempster and Sean Newton midway through the half were the difference on a thoroughly entertaining evening.

It was a performance York fans can be proud of. After somewhat lacklustre displays at Buxton and Telford, City were right back on top form, and every player did his part.

Stockport were by no means bad and - on another night - might have nicked something from the game. They had the chances, they just did not do enough to overcome their spirited hosts.

But it was more than fortune that saw City through. From front to back, hardly a foot was put wrong all night.

There was also a hugely encouraging return for Dan Maguire up front who - from the first whistle to his 70th-minute replacement - was every bit the pest up front he looked in pre-season and saw a couple of chances come his way. 

Kempster had the opportunity to put the icing on the cake going into injury time but put a tricky chance wide after doing well to reach a through ball.

At the other end, Nyal Bell fired over from a bouncing ball. It was not Stockport's night and Joe Leesley's late straight red made certain of it.

Hatters manager Jim Gannon started the 30-year-old Ben Hinchcliffe in goal with the immensely experienced Paul Turnbull in the back four in front of him. His three defensive compatriots – Ash Palmer, Sam Minihan and Jordan Keane – have a goal each so far this season.

Salford City loanees Devante Rodney and Tom Walker started up front backed by attack-minded midfielders Joe Leesley and Sam Walker. Until tonight, the latter was the only County player to have picked up a red card this season.

With three goals each this term, Adam Thomas and Elliott Osborne began the day on the bench.

York boss Steve Watson was able to name a strong starting 11 and bench thanks to the long-awaited return of livewire striker Dan Maguire and right-back Kallum Griffiths. Maguire supported strikers Jordan Burrow and Alex Kempster up top.

Steve McNulty started his second game in a row after returning from a hamstring injury last week, while keeper Peter Jameson was making his first FA Cup appearance of the campaign.

McLaughlin and Dyer were displaced to the bench, where they started the day alongside new signings Kyle McFarlane and Elliott Durrell.

York began the game with an intensity which seemed to surprise their higher-tier opponents.

Maguire, looking no worse for his two-month lay-off, got the better of Palmer and crossed in in the first minute, and it was not long before Griffiths was sent haring down the right and put in a good challenge to nearly get away in the area. It was cleared but Sean Newton – who was pretty determined going forward – looked to make a barnstorming run into the area.

The first effort on goal came 10 minutes in and was made between the two returning players. Maguire held off his man and fed Griffiths, who fired well over.

Stockport’s first real controlled attack of the game yielded a Tom Walker shot. Newton got a key block in from the low effort. Played in by Rodney in the area, it was soft but on-target.

Maguire had a glorious sight of goal in the 13th minute. Newton skipped through two Stockport men and delivered firmly to the near post, where a stretching Maguire put it wide.

By no means was it all York going forward, but they seemed to have the edge across the park, and that edge only increased as the half progressed.

Nyal Bell had a tame effort from distance easily held by Jameson before a corner from a deflected Sam Walker produced a scramble in the box and strong handball shouts from the Stockport technical area.

City took the lead in the 27th minute. A perfectly-timed Griffiths challenge on Leesley on the corner of the York area broke up Stockport attack and allowed York to get up the other end, where Kempster’s ball into the area evaded everyone and nestled in the far corner.

A minute later it was two. Pressure from Maguire forced Keane to put the ball out for a throw, which found its way to the other side of the area and from 25 yards drove a left-footed piledriver in, via a slight deflection from Festus Arthur.

With a couple of minutes to go before half-time, Andy Bond received a verbal warning for a scything challenge on Minihan. From the resulting dinked free kick, David Ferguson was called on to clear off the line to protect the lead going into the break.

The second half almost started in an ideal fashion for York, with Kempster cutting in from the right and cracking the corner of the goalframe with a tight-angled effort.

Four minutes in, Turnbull went down in the area under Moke’s challenge but nothing was given. Three minutes on – after a pair of ineffectual corners – Turnbull put a bobbling effort wide from range.

There was no let-up in pace for the early portion of the second half. Ferguson and Maguire had efforts saved at one end – the latter earning York their first corner of the match, from which Newton got away a shot from a training ground-style move – before Stockport broke up the other end. Jameson held the eventual cross.

Stockport came the closest to a goal yet when a deflected effort wrong-footed Jameson and spun off the foot of the post.

With both defences tightening up around the hour mark, chances were fewer and further between. Miscommunication between Jameson and Joe Tait earned Stockport a corner from nothing while Ferguson almost sheepishly shot from range into the hands of Hinchcliffe, with Palmer hurt on the deck.

An overhead kick from Maguire set up an attack with Kempster and Burrow leading the charge, but the former’s ball was cut out.

Leesley was shown a late red card for a crunching tackle on Griffiths.

York: Jameson 8, Griffiths 9, Ferguson 8, Newton 9, McNulty 9, Tait 7, Moke 8, Bond 8, Burrow 8, Maguire 8 (McLaughlin 8 70), Kempster 9. Subs not used: Dyer, Spratt, Langstaff, Durrell, Whitley, McFarlane.

Goals: Kempster, Newton

Star man: Sean Newton. Showed as good an attacking threat as he has all season, cracking in a fine goal, and assisting in a clean sheet.

Stockport: Hinchcliffe, Minihan, Turnbull (Osborne 80), Palmer, Keane, Walker (Hammill 80), Leesley, Bell, Arthur, Walker, Rodney (Thomas 74). Subs not used: Cowan, Mulhern, Ormson, Garratt.

Sent off: Leesley

Referee: Mr Daniel Middleton

Attendance: 2,870 (485 away supporters)