YORK City strengthened their Vanarama National League North play-off push with a 2-0 win over Farsley Celtic in a physical Yorkshire derby.

Second-half goals from Clayton Donaldson and Lenell John-Lewis secured three points for York in what was a feisty affair at The Citadel.

Both sides had their fair share of chances throughout the match, though neither team were able to really capitalise on them for so much of the game.

Kurt Willoughby and Clayton Donaldson started the game as John Askey made only two changes from the York side that beat Chester 1-0 on Tuesday.

They took the places of Jack McKay and Lenell John-Lewis, who both began the match on the bench.

It was almost the worst start imaginable for York when, scarcely even two minutes in, Farsley had the ball in the back of the net after a wonderful strike from Frank Mulhern.

Thankfully for City, the linesman had his flag raised and the goal was ruled out, with Mulhern having been offside.

The Minstermen, mere moments later, would go on to have their first look at goal when Maxim Kouogun met a corner delivery.

The defender was unable to make a solid connection, though, seeing his header glance well wide of the mark.

Farsley had the larger share of chances to begin the game, with Luke Parkin volleying over the bar and Jimmy Spencer coming close to creating a potential scoring opportunity for his side.

Much of the early stages of the match saw the ball seemingly in the air more than it was on the floor. Such a theme was apparent for a lot of the first 45 minutes of action.

City’s first true chance of the game came courtesy of Akil Wright. The midfielder released a thundering shot from range that forced David Robson into a solid save.

It seemed that York tried often to utilise their wing-backs to launch an attack. Scott Barrow played some brilliant long-balls forward, aiming for the likes of Willoughby and Donaldson.

It would be Willoughby that created York’s next big chance of the game, sending a dangerous cross into the Farsley box.

His delivery was just a bit too high for any of his teammates to latch on to, but the ball fell to Maziar Kouhyar who saw his shot blocked.

A follow-up shot was once again deflected off a Farsley body and the resulting corner came to nothing for City.

York were then denied by the defensive heroics of Farsley centre-back Adam Clayton.

Clayton was there to meet a Hancox header, blocking it off the line as it seemed destined to nestle in the goal.

It would be the hosts that created the next chance when, standing over a free-kick, Mulhern unleashed a curling strike that soared just over the bar.

The first-half was a highly contested affair, each team showcasing their physicality as they were forced into battles within the midfield.

A Willoughby strike curled just over the bar in what was York’s final clear cut chance of the half.

Farsley, though, would have a golden opportunity to open the scoring just before the half-time whistle.

Mulhern found himself open to shoot after a set-piece and he looked certain to score were it not for Sam Sanders.

The loanee was well-positioned and able to block Mulhern’s shot on the line. Spencer was able to connect for a follow-up shot, but could not muster a true strike of the ball.

The second-half began much as the first-half finished, a midfield battle that saw the ball spend as much time in the air as it did on the ground.

Farsley were forced into making an early substitution when Lewis Butroid made way for Sam Drake due to injury.

Moments later and the hosts produced some of the best chances of the match. An unmarked header from a corner forced Pete Jameson into a wonderful reflex save. 

The goalkeeper was called into action almost immediately afterwards when Mulhern’s effort forced him to poke it over the bar with yet another brilliant save.

After that, there was not much of great notice in the second-half. A lot of the play from both sides was long-ball driven or aerially focused.

Farsley squandered a golden opportunity when Jimmy Spencer blazed a shot over the bar, despite being clean through on the goal.

With three-quarters of the game gone, it was Clayton Donaldson that opened the scoring for York with his 12th goal of the season and his first in 13 games.

Donaldson did well to drive down the left before chipping an effort in at David Robson’s near post at a really tight angle.

A Farsley defender made an acrobatic effort to clear the ball away, but it had already crossed the line by the time he was able to make contact.

Moments later, a layoff from Kouhyar found an unmarked John-Lewis in the box who couldn’t miss the chance that presented itself.

It was the striker’s second goal in as many games for City and it was enough to ensure that the three points would be going to his side.

The win sees York remain sixth, although they are now only two points behind Chorley after they drew their game against Gloucester City.

The Minstermen have also extended their lead on seventh place by a point, now sitting three points ahead of Boston United.

Farsley: Robson, Digie, Butroid (Drake 51’ (Greaves 83’)), Clayton, Syers (C), Gratton, Turner, Spencer, Hayhurst, Mulhern, Parkin.

Subs not used: Trenerry, Ingham, Malumo

Yellow cards: Butroid (40’)

York: Jameson, 8, Dyson, 6, Kouogun, 6, Sanders, 7, Barrow, 7, Kouhyar, 7, Wright, 8, McLaughlin (C), 6,  Hancox, 6 (John-Lewis 72’, 7), Willoughby, 6 (Brown 85’), Donaldson, 8

Subs not used: Campbell,  McKay, Woods

Goals: Donaldson (75’), John-Lewis (86’)

York’s star man: Akil Wright. Wright was everywhere today, in attack and defence, seemingly winning everything in the midfield. A brilliant performance.

Shots: 11 (5) | 8 (6)
Yellow cards: 1 | 0
Fouls committed: 3 | 8
Offsides: 2 | 0
Corners 3 | 2

Referee: James Westgate