RETURNING striker Clayton Donaldson scored on his York City homecoming as the Minstermen began their pre-season preparations with a 2-1 comeback win at Whitby Town.

It was a deserved win for City, who were far more joined-up than in this fixture last year while a good number of players acquitted themselves well.

Youngsters Jonny Haase and Jack Degruchy were particularly impressive in the first half. In a completely revamped second-half side, Akil Wright and Donaldson were on form too.

A few trialists shone for Steve Watson's side and, indeed, it was one of the unnamed players who got City's equaliser after Bradley Fewster put Whitby ahead at the end of the first half.

Having grown consistently into the game over the 90 minutes, City finished the job in the dying stages.

City’s first-half 11 featured four trialists, with youngster Degruchy among the attackers in support of new permanent signing Jason Gilchrist, with Haase at left-back.

Pete Jameson was back between the sticks for the first time since February 16, backing up central-defensive pairing Sean Newton and Matty Brown. Olly Dyson provided the midfield spark but .

The Seasiders went into Saturday’s game having ostensibly contested two matches, winning without breaking too much of a sweat against local grassroots sides Fishburn Park and Whitby Fishermen’s Society by an aggregate 20-0 margin.

Former Minstermen Dan Rowe and Bradley Fewster were in the Whitby starting 11 along with Jameel Ible, who spent six months at Bootham Crescent.

Jameson was drawn into an early save from a stretching Jacob Hazel but was not unduly troubled. The City stopper then watched Fewster head high and wide from an excellent Hazel centre.

Degruchy was bright up front for York, who were busy up front without much coherence or penetration in the opening quarter of an hour.

At the back, Haase – who has just signed his first professional deal with the club – did well to guide Coleby Shepherd away from goal following an incisive through ball. Brown was caught out of position, having been held up by Fewster clambering on him to reach keeper Shane Bland’s earlier clearance.

Another who has just penned his first deal, Degruchy got away City’s first shot on goal. Laid off inside the area by Dyson, the youngster’s decent effort from a very tight angle was saved.

Gilchrist had a golden chance to get his first goal as a City player 10 minutes before the break. Keeper Bland spilled a knock-down from left-back James Martin near the left-hand edge of his penalty area and York’s trialist right-back dinked a ball across the six-yard box. With a gaping net in front of him, the under-pressure former South Shields striker could not make headed contact.

Fewster gave Whitby the lead just before half-time. A Sean Newton free kick, following a foul on City’s impressive attacking midfield trialist, rebounded out of the area. Hazel fairly comfortably held off York’s young right-back and laid off Fewster, who curled high into the net beyond the stranded Jameson.

York could and probably should have been level within five minutes of the restart. Akil Wright glided across the pitch and nipped past Lewis Ritson to cut the ball back into the middle of the area, from where a left-sided trialist scuffed wide.

Donaldson will be disappointed not to have reopened his York account minutes later, playing straight at Bland when through on goal.

Of the second-half side, Wright was the stand-out. Donaldson’s class skill and experience were evident but a slip or a misplaced touch stopped him from running the show against the Whitby back-line on the day.

He might have been played in had Paddy McLaughlin’s low cross from the left been better directed but as it was, the ball trickled into the area to be collected easily.

York’s left-sided trialist was brought down fractionally just outside the area for a 76th-minute free kick. He curled it left-footed inside the near post to bring the scores level.

With three minutes to go, the ball broke to Donaldson inside the area, he shimmied past a defender and curled beyond Bland, who guessed and dived the wrong way.

Whitby: Bland, Trialist ‘A’, Martin, Rowe, Ritson, Ible, Suddick, Hawkins, Fewster, Hazel, Shepherd. Subs: Trialist ‘B’, Burn, Cooke, Trialist ‘C’, Giles.

Goals: Fewster (44)

York first half: Jameson, Newton, Brown, Dyson, Trialist ‘A’, Gilchrist, Trialist ‘B’, Trialist ‘C’, Degruchy, Trialist ‘D’, Haase.

York second half: Jameson, Duckworth, Barrow, King, Wright, Jones, Donaldson, McLaughlin, Trialist ‘E’, Trialist ‘F’, Trialist ‘G’.

Goals: Trialist ‘G’ (76), Donaldson (87)

Attendance: 523