JOHN ASKEY enjoyed his return to York City in the opposition dugout, as Hartlepool United cruised to a comfortable 3-1 victory at the LNER Community Stadium, seeing the Minstermen drop into the Vanarama National League relegation zone.

A goal in the opening seven minutes saw Jake Hastie hand Hartlepool the lead, racing through on goal before sliding the ball past George Sykes-Kenworthy.

Hartlepool doubled their advantage just eight minutes later, with Tom Crawford being allowed the space within the box to open his body up, before hammering a pinpoint effort into the bottom corner.

Injuries forced York into using all three of their substitutions before the beginning of the second half, but the replacements were unable to change City’s fortunes, as Nicky Featherstone capitalised on a counter-attack to solidify an important three points for the visitors.

Tyler Cordner did net a consolation for York in stoppage time, but it wouldn’t be enough to deny Hartlepool just their second victory in their last ten matches.

York on the other hand will be disappointed to have not continued their good vein of form, after back-to-back victories and escaping the National League relegation zone, which Neal Ardley’s side have now fallen back into.

Ardley made three changes to the York side that defeated Chester in the Emirates FA Cup first round replay, and opted to remain with the five at the back formation.

Thierry Latty-Fairweather, Scott Burgess and the injured David Stockdale all dropped out of the starting eleven, with Paddy McLaughlin, Kai Kennedy and George Sykes-Kenworthy being introduced.

New signing Will Davies went on to make his debut from the substitution bench, and will be donning the kit number seven for the Minstermen.

Askey’s Hartlepool side are currently hampered with injuries, but two former City faces were amongst the squad in the form of former loanee Kieran Wallace, and promotion hero Pete Jameson, who was only on the bench for City.

Hartlepool captain and former York defender David Ferguson was unavailable for the match today due to suspension, but had told the Hartlepool Mail prior to kick-off that any hopes of three points would require a minimum of two goals from the visitors.

Ferguson would have been pleased to see the Poolies dominant start to the first half, with City failing to stick to their markers.

Sykes-Kenworthy was immediately called into action, handling an early half-volley from Wallace on the edge of the box.

But the York shot-stopper wouldn’t be able to keep Hartlepool at bay just seven minutes in, with Askey’s side taking the lead.

A pass down the right-hand side saw Hastie race through on goal and past Paddy McLaughlin, before sliding a low strike beneath Sykes-Kenworthy and into the far corner.

York’s first opening of the clash came 15 minutes in when some nice footwork from Olly Green allowed Kennedy to feed McLaughlin the ball inside the box, but the veteran midfielder could only bend his effort well over Joel Dixon’s goal.

Just one minute later, City were pegged back again with Hartlepool doubling their advantage.

Some poor defending from the Minstermen allowed former Notts County midfielder Crawford space just inside the box, before opening his body and expertly dispatching the chance into the bottom left corner.

It was nearly three for the away side just 21 minutes in, but Sykes-Kenworthy was on hand to produce a captivating stop, palming Crawford’s header onto the post from close-range, before City scrambled clear.

The Minstermen were quickly forced into the first of their first-halve changes, with Burgess being introduced for the injured Will Smith.

Hartlepool were again made to rue a missed opportunity, with Callum Cooke being allowed space on the edge of the box, before his goalbound strike was bravely blocked by Tyler Cordner.

With the half-time whistle approaching, Ardley was forced into another early substitution, with caution being taken on Alex Woodyard after a suspected concussion and seeing Latty-Fairweather introduced.

Heading into that second forty-five, Ardley made his third and final change; with the addition of Davies from the bench, making his debut in the red of York.

It was nearly a dream start for the City striker, with Ryan Fallowfield’s teasing cross narrowly evading his head in front of goal, before Dipo Akinyemi missed out on a crucial touch just eight-yards from goal.

And it would be a chance that York would regret missing, with Hartlepool adding their third of the afternoon just two minutes later.

After a short pass from Akinyemi, Hartlepool initiated a counter-attack with City short at the back, before the experienced Featherstone found space between the defenders to poke the ball beneath an outstretched Sykes-Kenworthy.

Hartlepool did take their foot of the steam after adding a third to their scoreline, with chances being shared at either side of the pitch, as Brody Patterson saw a drilled effort well-held by Sykes-Kenworthy, before Callum Howe glanced a header over the bar from a Burgess free-kick.

Howe was again involved at the attacking end of the pitch, with Akinyemi delivering a teasing cross into the six-yard area, before Howe saw his scuffed effort bobble into the post and wide after a Hartlepool deflection.

The visitors again tested the York goalkeeper with former Tadcaster Albion defender Kieran Burton being allowed space in the box, but Sykes-Kenworthy was on hand to parry the strike wide.

City did net a consolation goal and took away a first potential clean sheet in two months for Hartlepool, with Cordner meeting Burgess’ perfectly-placed corner to glance a powerful header into the far corner.

But it would be too little too late for York after a 3-1 defeat to Askey’s Hartlepool, who now have their first win in six matches.

York are back in action on Tuesday night, November 21 (7.45pm) for the visit of Oxford City to the LNER Community Stadium.

York City: Sykes-Kenworthy 7, Fallowfield 5, Howe 5, Cordner 7, Smith 6 (Burgess 6, 27), McLaughlin 5, Woodyard 6 (Latty-Fairweather 6, 45), Green 6, Kennedy 6, John-Lewis 6 (Davies 6, 46), Akinyemi 6

Subs not used: Kouhyar, Watson

Goals: Cordner (90+4)

Yellow cards: Green (65)

Hartlepool United: Dixon, Johnson, Wallace, Onariase, Mattock, Paterson (Grey, 78), Hastie (Burton, 63), Featherstone, Cooke (Umerah, 86), Crawford, Dieseruvwe

Subs not used: Wreh, Jameson

Goals: Hastie (7), Crawford (15), Featherstone (51)

York’s star man: Tyler Cordner. In a match with not a lot of positives, Cordner looked confident and was at the heart of the defence, playing some impressive passes and often tried to get the ball forward. A late goal too.

Referee: Paul Marsden

Attendance: 6265 (1502)

Shots (on target): 4 (3) | 3 (8)

Corners: 4 | 5

Offsides: 3 | 1

Fouls committed: 9 | 8