YORK City broke their four-match winless streak this afternoon with a crucial 2-0 victory at fellow Vanarama National League strugglers AFC Fylde.

First-half strikes from Scott Burgess and Ryan Fallowfield were enough to hand City a crucial three points in Lancashire in what was perhaps their best display under Neal Ardley to date.

In fact, the Minstermen converted both of their shots on target, both from flowing team moves.

Ardley commented on the Coasters’ pace ahead of kick-off, but City’s defenders were rarely beaten in a resolute defensive display, with returning goalkeeper George Sykes-Kenworthy, who was cup tied for last weekend’s Emirates FA Cup trip to Chester, making his only real save of the match with 10 minutes left to play.

The City boss made three changes from the Minstermen’s goalless draw at Chester, with Sykes-Kenworthy replacing David Stockdale in goal and Scott Burgess preferred to Quevin Castro in the front three.

City were noticeably boosted by the return of marksman Dipo Akinyemi, making his first appearance since mid-October, the talismanic striker at the heart of much of their fluent attacking play.

Fylde started the better of the two sides, with Sykes-Kenworthy having Tyler Cordner to thank for sparing his blushes after flapping at a dangerous cross into the box just two minutes into the contest.

But it was City who drew first blood against the run of play six minutes in following a flowing counter-attacking move.

A bullet pass from Alex Woodyard found Fallowfield, who turned a defender before fizzing a dangerous cross into the path of Burgess, who made no mistake to fire a first-time volley past Theo Richardson and into the back of the net.

That was his first City goal in an astonishing 1,726 days, a run that stretches back to the Minstermen's 2-1 victory against Kidderminster Harriers in February 2019.

Fylde responded in search of an equaliser, turning to the pace of Jon Ustabasi against makeshift left-back Paddy McLaughlin, but he found his final product lacking as he was crowded out by the City defence.

York squandered a fantastic chance to score a second on the 20-minute mark after Harrogate Town loanee Will Smith won a corner, but Cordner could not keep his effort on target after excellently controlling Fallowfield’s long ball forward.

But the Minstermen doubled their lead just before the half-hour mark in a similar vein to their opener, after Hull City loanee Olly Green found Akinyemi on the left wing.

Though Richardson did well to close down the angle, the prolific striker fizzed the ball across goal, with the onrushing Fallowfield left with the simplest of tap-ins at the far post to send the estimated 750 City fans into raptures.

Two almost became three for the Minstermen from the restart, with Fallowfield left in acres of space on the right wing to cross into Burgess, but he could not get the ball out of his feet, instead fouling Richardson in the process.

Fylde came close to halving the deficit seven minutes before the break after a cross from the left wing was missed by McLaughlin, but Joe Rowley could not keep his header on target.

The last chance of the half came the Minstermen’s way after Fallowfield found Woodyard on the edge of the box, but the ex-AFC Wimbledon midfielder blazed his effort over the bar.

City came out in the same vein after the break but found themselves ill-afforded the freedom that they had enjoyed prior in what was a much tighter second-half.

Fallowfield, again lively from right back, looked to have cushioned the ball superbly into the path of Burgess, but the forward slipped at the vital moment, allowing Fylde to clear.

Sensing a goal, the hosts continued to push forward, with Danny Whitehead seeing venomous strike from the edge of the box just clear the crossbar.

Woodyard earned the only booking of the match shortly before the hour mark after a right-wing trip from a Minstermen corner before a double substitution further empowered the hosts.

Former Cardiff City youth talent Siya Ligendza was lively from the off but could only fire into the advertising boards as he carved out space on the left wing before Sykes-Kenworthy was off his line quickly to claim Connor Barrett’s dangerous cross.

Fylde though maintained their threat on the break, the influential Nick Haughton winning a free kick on the edge of the box after being clipped. But thankfully for City, his set-piece left a lot to be desired, flying both high and wide of the target.

The hosts continued to grow into the game, Haughton trying his luck from 25 yards before Sykes-Kenworthy was forced into his first real save of the match, parrying a low goal-bound strike wide for a corner with 10 minutes left to play.

York had a fantastic opportunity to score a third after Burgess had been afforded space on the right wing to float a cross into the direction of substitute John-Lewis, but Richardson was able to gather at the second attempt.

The final opportunity went the hosts’ way in injury time when the ball fell kindly to Haughton on the edge of the box, but Callum Howe threw his body behind the ball to block well, ensuring that a deserved three points returned to North Yorkshire.

City will be hoping to deliver a similar performance against Vanarama National League North outfit Chester on Tuesday evening, with a televised FA Cup Second Round tie against Wigan Athletic the prize.

AFC FYLDE: Richardson, Barrett, Davis, Graham, Conway, Whitehead (Omotayo 70), Khumbeni, Haughton, Ustabasi, Rowley (Glynn 61), Charman (Ligendza 61).


YORK CITY: Sykes-Kenworthy, Fallowfield, Cordner, McLaughlin, Akinyemi (John-Lewis 75), Howe, Burgess (Dyson 90), Kennedy (Latty-Fairweather 75), Woodyard, Smith, Green.

UNUSED SUBSTITUTES: Stockdale, Castro.

YELLOW CARDS: Woodyard (60)


YORK’S STAR MAN: Alex Woodyard. The midfielder was everywhere for City this afternoon in what was undoubtedly his best performance since joining the club.

CORNERS: 6 | 5


REFEREE: Gary Parsons