MICHAEL DUCKWORTH put the icing on the cake for York City at home to Newcastle United by heading home the winning goal in a 1-0 pre-season victory.

It was the second win from two warm-up matches for Steve Watson's men, who deserved this auspicious victory at the LNER Community Stadium.

The first half was a hugely encouraging performance from a team that will surely be just one or two players away from this season's preferred starting line-up.

Out of possession, City were disciplined and quick to close down, with Paddy McLaughlin having one of his best games for a while in the middle.

There is promise in the partnership of Clayton Donaldson and Kurt Willoughby, while Mackenzie Heaney and Olly Dyson complemented each other nicely on each wing.

Even against top-tier Newcastle, City carved out decent half-chances. It will be interesting to see this team against sides lower down the ladder.

The second half was more one-way traffic in Newcastle's favour as City lost some fluency with changes while the Magpies gained the attacking prowess of Allan Saint-Maximin.

Newcastle had plenty of good chances to score - but it fell to Duckworth to give City the win.

Ryan Whitley was between the sticks today for City, replacing Pete Jameson following his 90 minutes at Whitby Town.

This starting 11 took on a more familiar look than that which took to the field at the Turnbull Ground and provided 2021/22’s first look at new striker Kurt Willoughby, who was released from coronavirus-contact isolation earlier this week.

Usual full-backs Scott Barrow and Michael Duckworth lined up either side of Sean Newton and young centre-back Josh King, in in place of Matty Brown.

Newcastle were lining up for their first games of pre-season, their first team at York and their under-23s at Harrogate Town.

At York, the Magpies wasted no time in getting their Premier League stars on the pitch. Callum Wilson, Matt Ritchie and Republic of Ireland international Jeff Hendrick all started at the Community Stadium.

Mackenzie Heaney, starting against his old club, was lively from the off and almost pulled off an audacious give-and-go with himself around Jacob Murphy. He then whipped in a fine left-wing cross after Paddy McLaughlin intercepted a weak Jamaal Lascelles clearing header.

Ryan Fraser came the closest to breaking the deadlock in the first 20 minutes, hunting down a stray ball and curling it around the oncoming Whitley onto the outside of the keeper’s left-hand post.

The stadium sprung to life when Newton released Olly Dyson down the right with a pinpoint cross-field ball and the nippy attacker drilled at goal. Dan Langley, Newcastle’s 20-year-old 6ft 7ins shot-stopper, was not unduly troubled.

It kicked the tempo up a notch, though. It certainly showed that this was the visitors’ first game of pre-season, playing at little more than jogging pace. Though they occasionally threatened to unlock City with their Premier League class, Newton – with close tabs on Wilson – and McLaughlin – busy breaking up play in midfield – shone out of possession.

A threatening attacking move from Newcastle was well read by Whitley, who stretched to gather Murphy’s low centre.

Heaney had a golden chance to put York ahead in the 37th minute. He got behind Lascelles and met Willoughby’s right-wing cross but could not direct his header goalwards.

Hendrick was having some joy getting in behind the defence on the left. When Akil Wright was dispossessed in midfield, he was played through but denied by a combination of Whitley and Newton.

Goalless at half-time was no less than City deserved and, after that intriguing first-half match-up, it was a delight that manager Steve Watson did not ring the changes at the break, with just Newton being replaced by the no-nonsense Brown.

He sailed quite close to the wind with challenges to make his presence known to Dwight Gayle and half-time substitute Allan Saint-Maximin.

Michael Woods, on for Wright, almost made an immediate impression by teeing up Donaldson in the middle, from where the striker’s glancing side-footed effort was blocked.

Gayle should have given Newcastle the lead in the 70th minute when he found himself with too much space in the centre of the area. He did not get enough contact on the header.

Newcastle were a different prospect with Saint-Maximin in the attack. Seemingly propelled towards goal by an invisible force absent from the rest of the side, the Frenchman powered forwards and played a neat one-two with Gayle before unleashing an effort from inside the area which was destined for Whitley’s net but for the vital last-second sliding block from Josh King.

With 87 minutes on the clock, after determined work from an attacking midfield trialist, Duckworth looped a header over Langley from left-back Scott Barrow’s cross and watched it nestle in the back of the net.

York: Whitley, Duckworth, King, Newton (Brown HT), Barrow, Wright (Woods 60), McLaughlin, Heaney (Trialist ‘D’ 60), Dyson (Trialist ‘A’ 75), Willoughby (Gilchrist 60), Donaldson (Trialist ‘C’ 79). Subs: Trialist ‘B’, Degruchy, Whitfield, Jones.

Newcastle: Langley, Murphy, Fernandez (Dummett 69), Lascelles, Watts, Ritchie, Hayden, Hendrick (S Longstaff 60), Fraser (M Longstaff 60), Joelinton (Gayle 18, Muto 79), Wilson (Saint-Maximin HT). Subs: Thompson, Clark, Lewis.