YORK City remain without a pre-season win this summer as falling to a closely-contested 1-0 defeat at Guiseley.

A second-half header from Guiseley’s Trialist ‘C’ was all that separated the two sides and keep York without a friendly win after three attempts, following 3-2 and 4-1 losses at home to Middlesbrough and Bradford City respectively.

As last summer proved, pre-season results should not be read into too closely. Wins over Boro, Newcastle United, and Notts County this time in 2021 were subsequently followed by three straight Vanarama National League North defeats.

Plus, as City prepare to return to the National League, they are seeking their best combinations and line-up as seven changes proved.

Ethan Ross, Gus Mafuta, Olly Dyson, Lenell John-Lewis, Luke James, a trialist and Michael Duckworth, re-signed this week, came into the team in place of Ryan Whitley, Ryan Fallowfield, Maziar Kouhyar, Scott Boden, Scott Burgess, AJ Greaves and Mitch Hancox.

The Minstermen had the first chance of the game and it came just moments after the match had kicked off.

The ball was played to Luke James on the left-wing, who did well to beat his markers and drive into the space available.

He was able to find Manny Duku with his cross but the Dutch forward, who had been deployed on the right-hand side against the Lions, could not make a proper connection with his header.

Guiseley were able to get themselves into good positions as they looked to score, but never seemed able to find the final touch in the first half. So often, their crosses missed the target or hit the first man.

City would have the next true attempt at goal, which was their best effort of the half. 

Duku won the ball back within his own half and charged forward, thundering down the wing and beating Guiseley left-back George Smith as he did so.

The 29-year-old swung in a good cross which, though it did not meet the head of a teammate, was one Guiseley struggled to clear.

The ball rolled out to Gus Mafuta on the edge of the box, who rifled a shot towards goal that blitzed just over the bar.
The first 45 minutes were not necessarily filled with action, though York looked much calmer than they had done in their prior two pre-season games.

City looked assured and comfortable on the ball, playing short, intricate passes or calculated long-balls forward, often aiming for one of John-Lewis or Duku.

John-Lewis’ presence was noticeable, his physicality offering the York attack something more.

He was at the centre of an attacking move when, after just over half-an-hour had been played, he took the ball down and laid it off to Duku.

The forward tried to find John-Lewis with a quick return pass, but the striker was unable to remain onside.

Guiseley’s maiden chance of the match came mere moments before half-time.

The ball was swung in towards Trialist C, who couldn’t control his diving header as it sailed over the bar.

Guiseley’s trialist, who seemed to be their main creative spark, looked to forge an attempt on goal just seconds before half-time, but saw his cross blocked after some brilliant work to get into the box.

The Minstermen made only one change at the break, with Adam Crookes replacing Whittle.

After play resumed, Duku continued his impressive performance by winning a free-kick in a threatening position.

Before it could be taken though, Kouogun was substituted, replaced by academy graduate Ben Dale.

The forward could only drive his effort into the Guiseley wall before James’ follow-up was blocked.

On the hour mark AJ Greaves, who came on to replace York’s trialist, found Duku with a brilliant through ball.

Duku’s strike, however, was denied by a fantastic save from Lions goalkeeper Scott Moloney, who was brought on for Kyle Trenerry after half-time.

Only moments later, the hosts had a throw-in in York’s half that would lead to the game’s only goal.

The throw-in was long and far reaching, entering the City box. The York defence were unable to clear the danger and Trialist C for Guiseley was able to scramble a strike beyond Ross.

Duku tried to restore his side’s recently gained deficit just two minutes after the goal, but could only sky his effort on the turn.

With just over 20 minutes to play, on came Hancox, Hurst, Boden, Fallowfield, Kouhyar and Burgess for John-Lewis, Duku, James, Duckworth, Mafuta and Dyson respectively.

York defended resolutely for the remainder of the game, but often found their attacks prevented in the final third.

Hurst and Hancox had some nice link-up play down the left wing with just under 10 minutes to go, but Hurst was dispossessed at the byline.

In the final minute, Kouhyar and Hurst played a nice one-two that allowed Kouhyar to cross into the box.

The ball found the head of Hancox, but the 29-year-old could only sky his header.

The hosts had a chance to score again in the game’s dying embers and would’ve were it not for York’s defensive heroics.

Ross made a brilliant save to deny the first strike and Dale was well positioned on the goal line to block the second shot.

York: Ross, Duckworth (Fallowfield 68’), Kouogun (Dale 55’), Sanders, Whittle (Crookes 45’), Trialist ‘A’ (Greaves 58’), Dyson (Hancox 68’), Mafuta (Burgess 68’), Duku (Hurst 68’), John-Lewis (Boden 68’), James (Kouhyar 68’).

Unused subs: Whitley, Kerr, McLaughlin.

York's star man: Lenell John-Lewis. The striker showcased the best aspects of his game against Guiseley, causing trouble for the defence with his physicality and link-up play.

Guiseley: Trenerry (Moloney 45’), Trialist ‘A’, Smith, Cartwright, Sikora, Ible, Johnston (Crofts 69’), Dean, Cassidy (Haw 85’), Trialist ‘B’ (Trialist ‘D’ 75’), Trialist ‘C’ (Trialist ‘E’ 69’).

Unused subs: Nkem, Tuton, Garder, Hebda, Trialist 'F', Leigh.

Goals: Trialist ‘C’ ‘(62’)

Referee: Sam Clayton

Attendance: 399

Shots (on target): 8 (3) | 8 (1)

Fouls committed: 6 | 11

Offsides: 2 | 4

Corners: 3 | 3