SEAN Newton and Jon Parkin goals earned York City a 2-1 win during an entertaining derby clash at Darlington.

Home striker Reece Styche, who netted twice for Tamworth against the Minstermen earlier in the season, had given the hosts a half-time lead, but City hit back twice early in the second period to earn manager Martin Gray three points in his return to Blackwell Meadows.

A fast tempo was set from the first whistle with David Syers blazing an early effort over from a narrow angle for the hosts and Terry Galbraith’s edge-of-the-box half-volley fizzing just too high moments later after Jonny Burn and Hamza Bencherif had both failed to clear their lines.

At the other end, Amari Morgan-Smith’s brave far-post header was blocked by Quakers keeper James Talbot, with both players requiring treatment afterwards.

Josef Wheatley, meanwhile, curled just wide from a free kick, conceded by Burn after Greg Mills tried to turn the on-loan Bristol Rovers defender.

On the quarter-hour mark, Parkin had the ball in the back of the net when he beat Talbot with a first-time sidefooted finish from Aidan Connolly’s excellent left-wing cross, but the effort was ruled out for offside.

Styche suffered the same fate moments later after he had tapped in following Adam Bartlett’s parry from a firm Syers drive.

Midway through the half, Morgan-Smith’s header was deflected narrowly wide following a Newton centre, while Mills went close with a low edge-of-the-box attempt for Tommy Wright’s team.

Play continued to swing from one end to the other and Alex Pattison badly lofted off target after more good play by Connolly.

Styche’s low 15-yard drive was then punched away by Bartlett and Gary Brown headed just over following Galbraith’s inswinging cross from the right.

For the Minstermen, Parkin headed off target after a cross from Pattison, who went on to carry the ball to the edge of the box, before firing narrowly over.

Harvey Saunders also aimed too high after his initial shot was blocked by Bencherif, but Darlington forged in front on 43 minutes courtesy of Styche’s 16th goal of the season.

Latching on to a long ball upfield through the left channel, Styche powered past sub Dan Parslow and thundered a ten-yard strike in off Bartlett’s bar.

But the visitors were level less than a minute into the restart when a blocked Connolly shot looped into the air and Newton’s low 15-yard volley beat Talbot with the aid of a deflection off Josh Heaton.

Just six minutes later and City were in front after capitalising on a 3v2 counter attack.

Morgan-Smith released Connolly with a fine ball through the left channel and, as he skipped over a sliding Talbot, he was brought down for a penalty that Parkin duly despatched high to the home keeper’s left.

Darlington came back fighting with Bartlett pushing a low Stephen Thompson drive around his post and gathering a Heaton shot, while Parkin half-volleyed just over from eight yards.

Connolly was also too high from 15 yards and Morgan-Smith’s deflected 20-yard attempt spun just wide after a clever flick by Pattison, who went on to call Talbot into action at his near post after Parkin’s ball through the right channel.

Skipper Newton then ran half the length of the pitch with the ball, but his eventual 15-yard, right-footed shot was too tame to trouble Talbot.

For the Quakers, Thompson’s 25-yard drive was safely gathered by Bartlett and Galbraith curled over from a free kick.

Thompson also saw his free kick bounce just wide and hads a deflected opportunity miss the target. 

City also wasted two superb chances in stoppage time when Pattison blasted straight at Talbot after being released through the right channel by sub James Gray.

Gray then volleyed over in front of goal after Pattison returned his earlier favour with a right-wing cross, but City saw the game out for a third straight victory.