YORK City picked up a vital first three points of the National League North season with a 3-1 win at Spennymoor Town.

The Minstermen rode their luck at times, an uncertain defence - which faced yet more disruption before kick off - relieved to see Spennymoor waste some excellent chances, and there was a hint of the smash-and-grab about it.

York were not without their own goal threat, and took their chances well when they presented themselves to each one of their front three. Kurt Willoughby will want to claim the opener, before Sam Fielding netted an unfortunate own goal, and Clayton Donaldson restored City's advantage before the break.

After Spenny had missed a glorious trio of chances, Mark Beck poked home from Matty Brown's headed knock-down.

But the manner of the win was not important for previously luckless York, who will hope this serves as a much-needed springboard for their campaign.

York boss Steve Watson was forced into a late reshuffle during the warm-up, Michael Duckworth suffering a suspected flare-up of the groin injury that kept him out at Gloucester. In his stead came Olly Dyson, who had previously been slated to start on the bench.

Steve Watson made two other changes from Saturday’s 2-1 defeat to Brackley Town, solidifying the midfield and bringing in extra support up front by replacing Mackenzie Heaney and Dyson with Kurt Willoughby and Michael Woods.

The back line was otherwise unchanged, the weekend’s yellow-carded defenders Matty Brown and Sam Fielding continuing in the middle of a back four with Jaden Charles in the left-back berth.

There were three changes for Spennymoor, who lost 2-1 at Leamington on Saturday. Adriano Moke missed out on the trip to the Brakes but returned for the visit of his former employers, coming into the side along with striker Frank Mulhern and Carl Magnay.

Rob Ramshaw, who scored a late consolation in Warwickshire, kept his place in midfield behind the usually reliable striker Glen Taylor, who missed a penalty at Leamington.

On the bench was former Middlesbrough youngster and ex-York back-up keeper Harry Flatters. Also a former City man, Joe Tait started at centre-back for Spenny.

In a competitive hundred-mile-an-hour start, both sides enjoyed half chances as well as a battling midfield display. Mulhern had a tame early shot from an angle easily stopped by Jameson before Woods was called on to head away a Ramshaw’s ball in after the midfielder benefited from a Brown slip.

Willoughby, with the ball at his feet following a Paddy McLaughlin corner, had time in a crowded area but saw his effort comfortably blocked in the end.

But by the 13th minute, York were ahead. York broke well with McLaughlin from a period of home pressure and released Donaldson, who delivered into the area. The ball beat the keeper and Willoughby slid in before wheeling away in celebration when the ball hit the net.

Only lightning reactions from Dale Eve prevent it from being two to York five minutes later. Dyson’s free kick into the area was met by Donaldson, saved on the line and Willoughby had a close-range effort from the rebound well stopped again.

Spennymoor were level midway through the half when a cross bounced wickedly in front of Jameson. The keeper palmed it away but only as far as Fielding, who diverted it into the back of the net.

Jameson made a couple of good saves in quick succession. First, Charles – who was struggling against John Lufudu – was beaten down the left. The ball was whipped in and Jameson did fantastically to make himself big to deny Ramshaw’s strike.

The City stopper then tipped away a long-range effort from Taylor, who should have put Spennymoor ahead shortly after in the 26th minute when he arrived quickly into the area and headed over from a superb ball in.

Just after the half-hour was the first real chance either side had had to breathe in a contest played at a breath-taking pace. Since City’s opener, Spennymoor had been on top, their agile attack of Taylor, Ramshaw, Mulhern and Lufudu pressing and forcing chance after chance.

City regained the lead just before the break through Donaldson. A ball in from the left after patient work from McLaughlin and Charles – who had earlier teamed up to dispossess the determined Jamie Chandler – took a nick and Donaldson powered home from very close range.

Both sides had decent chances to start the second half with but it was Spennymoor who should really have added to their tally. The City defence was split by a through ball to Ramshaw, who squared it to Taylor. The striker, from six yards out with the goal gaping, glanced it wide.

Then, Mulhern, running onto a lovely ball over the top, had only Jameson to beat but the York keeper came out and smothered it very well.

In the 67th minute, Chandler had a good chance after Spennymoor again scythed through York. This time, Ramshaw laid off to Chandler, who – aiming for the Jameson’s top-left corner – curled just wide.

Five minutes on, York made them pay for their spurned chances. Substitute Heaney whipped a left-footed free kick to the back post from where Brown headed back across goal and Mark Beck looked to have got the final touch to turn it in.

City had not been bereft of chances prior to the goal – Woods seeing a decent effort from range well stopped and Beck having a rising chance from inside the area tipped over – but they had been on the ropes. No more the case after the goal, and it seemed the stuffing had been knocked out of Spennymoor leading into the final 10 minutes.

Spennymoor: Eve, McLean, Tait, Curtis, Magnay, Lufudu, Ramshaw, Moke, Chandler, Mulhern (Anderson 64), Taylor. Subs not used: Flatters, Kennedy, Thompson, Hall.

Goals: Fielding (OG, 21)

Yellow cards: Curtis, Tait, Chandler

York: Jameson 7, Dyson 6, Brown 6, Fielding 6, Charles 6, Wright 7, McLaughlin 6, Woods 6, Donaldson 7, Willoughby 6 (Heaney 7, 69), Beck 7. Subs not used: Campbell, Hopper, Heaney, Gilchrist.

Goals: Willoughby (13), Donaldson (45), Beck (72)

Yellow cards: McLaughlin

Star man: Mark Beck. Made life hard for the Spennymoor defence and will be delighted to have his first competitive goal in City colours.

Attendance: 2,635