HAVING seen their sixth-tier team win one and lose four of their last half-dozen away outings, it is little wonder York City supporters have resorted to alternative methods to lift spirits on their road trips.

A small group of the travelling army even smuggled a pineapple into the away end at Boston United and took turns dancing with it on their head but, on the pitch, the visiting players produced another fruitless performance during a 2-1 defeat at the hands of their second-bottom hosts.

The afternoon had started promisingly when midfielder Adriano Moke ended a remarkable 93-game drought with his first goal in two years and ten months on 19 minutes.

But clean sheets are almost as scarce for the Minstermen these days and a poorly-conceded goal from a corner – a much more common theme in 2017/18 – saw the otherwise anonymous Jordan Keane level the scores early in the second period, condemning Martin Gray’s side to a 13th match without a shut-out.

Worse was then to follow as sub Aidan Connolly, who had just squandered a one-on-one chance, gave away a penalty that Ashley Hemmings converted to seal City’s fate.

Against opponents nicknamed the Pilgrims, City then struggled once more to find any purpose on their travels and left Lincolnshire having dropped out of the play-off positions.

Despite their first-half advantage, the Minstermen never looked entirely at ease against a no-nonsense Boston side who played direct football and encouraged forwards Reece Thompson and Greg Smith to harass and unsettle the City back four at every opportunity.

The early exchanges saw a Sean Newton shot deflected wide and Dan Parslow also flash a downward header past George Willis’ left-hand upright from the City skipper’s subsequent corner.

In response, James Clifton curled a 30-yard free kick narrowly wide, but Newton again went close with a firmly-drilled effort and James Gray fired straight at Willis after charging on to a David Ferguson ball though the left channel.

Gray also played a part in City’s opening goal, laying the ball off to Moke after Jon Parkin had won an aerial ball.

The former Glenn Hoddle Academy graduate then fired emphatically inside Willis’ left-hand post with a fierce, first-time 25-yard finish.

Still Boston threatened though and winger Jay Rollins could have done better with a hat-trick of opportunities before the break.

First, a weak edge-of-the-box effort failed to extend City keeper Adam Bartlett.

Then, he headed off target following a partially-cleared corner and, finally, he snatched at a chance from an unfavourable angle after Hamza Bencherif had surrendered possession in sloppy and dangerous fashion.

Equally, just like London buses, Moke could have been celebrating an unlikely second goal, but he allowed Adam Curry to block his far-post shot after Newton had sent in a left-wing cross, having retrieved a pass from Parkin that had appeared to roll out of play.

On the stroke of half-time, Parkin also curled a tame, 20-yard attempt into Willis’ arms.

After the break, Ferguson lifted an edge-of-the-box chance over after Newton had attacked the byline once more.

But, on 54 minutes, the scores were level when Hemmings’ corner to the near post saw a clutch of City players, including Newton, Bencherif and Parslow, all seem to get in each other’s way, as the ball dropped for Keane, who swept a close-range shot across goal and into Bartlett’s bottom-right corner.

Bartlett did well just before the half-hour mark to hold on to Smith’s firm, 15-yard half-volley, before City broke up the other end and Willis produced a fine instinctive save to deny a sliding Amari Morgan-Smith following another low Newton cross.

Just three minutes after being hailed from the bench, Connolly was then sent clear through the left channel by a Parkin pass.

After momentarily considering a lob with Willis out of his goal, the Scotsman instead delayed his shot and could not then beat the Boston keeper at his near post.

Connolly’s next contribution was even more costly, chasing rampaging right-back Clifton into the penalty area, he appeared to get a nick on the ball with a sideways challenge, but referee Sam Barrott pointed immediately to the spot.

Former Dagenham winger Hemmings went on to sidefoot his penalty down the middle of the goal as Bartlett dived right.

Gray threw on out-of-favour pair Sam Muggleton and Connor Smith immediately afterwards, but there was a desperation and little structure to City’s play for the remainder of the game and the visitors could only muster a wildly wayward 20-yard shot from Ferguson.

In fact, Clifton went closest to adding to the scoring, with his swerving low drive, forcing Bartlett into a stoppage-time parry.


Adam Bartlett 6

Dan Parslow 6

Hamza Bencherif 5

Jonny Burn 5

David Ferguson 5

Amari Morgan-Smith 5

Daniel Rowe 4

Adriano Moke 6

Sean Newton 6

Jon Parkin 5

James Gray 5

Substitutes: Aidan Connolly 5 (for Morgan-Smith, 65), Connor Smith (for Moke, 75), Sam Muggleton (for Gray, 75).

Subs not used: Luke Simpson, Josh Law.

Star man: Newton – provided a steady stream of dangerous crosses throughout the game


George Willis, James Clifton, Bradley Beatson, Brad McGowan, James Curry, Jay Rollins, Jamie McGuire (Paul Walker, 72), Jordan Keane, Ashley Hemmings, Greg Smith (Kabongo Tshimanga, 84), Reece Thompson. Subs not used: Harry Vince, Tyrell Waite, Kyron Stabana.

Boston star man: Clifton – carried game to City in second half

Referee: Sam Barrott rating: 5/10 – looked unsure and tried to atone for errors

Booked: Rowe 22

Sent off: None

Attendance: 1,126

Shots on target: Boston 5, City 5

Shots off target: Boston 4, City 5

Corners: Boston 6, City 9

Fouls conceded: Boston 14, City 13

Offside: Boston 4, City 3