YORK City are safely through to the next round of the FA Cup after a Clayton Donaldson double inspired a 2-0 victory over Whitby Town at the LNER Community Stadium.

Donaldson struck twice from close range in the first half to take his personal tally to eight goals from his last six games.

From then on, City were practically in complete control, barring a magnificent save from Pete Jameson early in the second period and a few shaky moments through a changed centre of midfield.

The Minstermen should really have scored more than the two they eventually managed, with Donaldson close to claiming his hat-trick on several occasions while Mackenzie Heaney was also not far off securing a goal his performance deserved.

For City, their finishing, or lack of it, will be their key takeaway, with others needing to contribute when Donaldson’s form slows, though there are few signs that that will come any time soon for the 37-year-old.

Perhaps most importantly, aside from Cup progression and their place in Monday’s draw, was the response City showed following the shock home defeat to Hereford in midweek.

Steve Watson made three changes from the team that were beaten that evening.

The fit-again Paddy McLaughlin came straight back into the starting 11 at left-back, with Michael Duckworth moving to his favoured right side and Olly Dyson pushed back into midfield.

Josh King dropped out through illness while midfielder Harrison Hopper and striker Jason Gilchrist made their first starts of the season, replacing Kurt Willoughby and Mark Beck respectively.

Joining those two on a youthful bench were City youngsters Luke Jones, Jonny Haase, Kyle Lancaster and Elliot Owen - all of whom are yet to debut for the Minstermen.

The first 10 minutes passed by without too much incident, with the persistent if light rain appearing as if it would limit much goalmouth action for the remainder of the match.

That was not to be though as City created a flurry of chances shortly after, culminating in Donaldson’s breakthrough goal.

Donaldson had his first sight of goal from a brilliant York counter attack, with Michael Woods racing upfield after making a tackle on the edge of his own box.

The City number 10 would later strike just wide from a deflected effort.

York continued down the left, though McLaughlin was only able to tamely to hit goal-wards from another wide move.

On 17 minutes, the Minstermen eventually broke the deadlock. The impressive Mackenzie Heaney broke down the flank and firmly saw his effort stopped by Shane Bland.

Gilchrist then hit against the keeper from point blank range before Donaldson finally turned the ball in.

Until that point, Pete Jameson had yet to be troubled but he was quickly called into action.

Stand-in centre back Akil Wright was beaten by forward Jacob Hazel and his curled shot was wonderfully saved by Jameson.

That was one of just two shots on goal by Town, with City soon back on the attack and the scoresheet.

Once more Donaldson had to thank the work of his team-mates as Woods streaked from halfway to the penalty area before cutting back for the striker.

Donaldson saw his first shot blocked but he steered in the second attempt to double City’s lead.

Before half-time, Heaney drilled the ball into Bland’s arms while Dyson’s deflected strike trickled inches wide of the post.

The last chance would go to Whitby though as Jameson pulled off another great save, denying Liam Cooke’s ramrod shot through a crowd of bodies.

After the restart, York created what would eventually prove to be the best of their second half chances.

Hopper made some space from himself outside the box and curled the ball towards the right corner, which looked certain to be goal-bound, only for Bland to make a terrific tipped save.

The second half then quickly fell into a pattern. With City’s tempo dropping, Whitby had possession, though they struggled to make much from it.

In essence, the main question seemed to be whether Donaldson would get his hat-trick. On 53 minutes, another City break saw the former Bradford City man denied by Bland’s near-post save.

Donaldson again came close after being teed up by the influential Heaney but the shot was blocked.

Sandwich in-between came Town’s best chance. Substitute Marcus Giles turned past Matty Brown in the box and struck towards Jameson’s near post where the keeper’s trailing leg prevented a potential comeback.

After a flat period in which neither side seemed like scoring, the final 10 minutes saw the game burst into life again.

Dyson’s blocked shot whistled past the post while Donaldson had a hat-trick of missed chances rather than a hat-trick of goals - again stopped by the legs of Bland after more good work in the build-up from Heaney.

Woods then rifled straight at the Whitby shot-stopper before Brown glancing a header wide.

In the dying stages, Heaney’s afternoon was rather summed up. He glided his way into the box after some crisp passing, which Whitby could not deal with at all after half time, before giving Bland a regulation save.

The midfielder, and City for large periods, had the run of Whitby all game but he, and his team-mates, could not find the target as often as they would have liked.

York: Jameson 7, Duckworth 6, Wright 7, Brown 6, McLaughlin 6, Dyson 7, Woods 7, Hopper 7, Heaney 8, Donaldson 8, Gilchrist 6 (Beck 76’). Subs not used: Campbell, Haase, Owen, Lancaster, Jones, Willoughby.

Goals: Donaldson (17, 31)

Star man: Clayton Donaldson. Twice in the right place to finish for York and could so easily have had a hat-trick.

Whitby: Bland, Dyer, Sunkar, Hawkins (Ritson 87’), Rowe (C), Burn, MacDonald, Griffiths, Hazel, Fewster (Giles 57’), Cooke (Hackett 73’). Subs not used: Gell, Shepherd, Cranston.

Referee: James Westgate

Attendance: 2,238 (371)


Shots (on target): 17 (12) / 5 (3)

Corners: 8 / 2

Offsides: 1 / 2

Fouls: 14 / 7