YORK City’s love of late winners earned Neal Ardley’s side a crucial three points in the Minstermen’s hopes of clawing further away from the Vanarama National League relegation zone.

Substitute Lenell John-Lewis’ 88th minute strike handed York a crucial three points over Southend United at Roots Hall, in a 1-0 triumph for the vistors.

An important victory for City means that Ardley’s side are now four points clear of the National League relegation zone, leapfrogging Southend to move into 17th position.

Ardley made one change from the York side that were held to a 1-1 draw with Maidenhead United last Saturday, with Billy Chadwick dropping out of the eleven in place of debutant Danny Amos.

Amos joined the Minstermen on Tuesday in a season-long loan from Grimsby Town, and was brought straight into the starting eleven, with Ardley electing to switch back to a five at the back formation.

Dan Batty remained on the bench with Ardley alluding that he was ready to start in a match, instead coming on as an 84th minute substitution, whilst Tyler Cordner was reinstated onto the sidelines in place of Lenell John-Lewis.

Southend made three changes of their own after back-to-back defeats to Chesterfield and then Gateshead, with Danny Waldron, James Morton and Adam Crowther all being added into the starting eleven.

Prior to kick-off, Ardley had suggested that despite Southend’s league position, the hosts were a team capable of reaching the play-offs, if it hadn’t have been for their ten point deduction earlier in the season.

And the hosts would take charge of the contest early on, with Amos being forced into an exceptional challenge to deny Gus Scott-Morriss a route through on goal.

Waldron was making his home debut for Southend and almost found a breakthrough from Jack Bridge’s looping cross, with the striker’s header dropping onto the roof of the net.

Paddy McLaughlin has impressed as of late and almost broke the deadlock from Scott Burgess’ free-kick, with the midfielder forcing Collin Andeng Ndi into a reactionary save.

City were finding their feet in the match after Ryan Fallowfield’s excellent threaded pass saw Dipo Akinyemi race through one-on-one, but the retreating Morton made a perfectly-timed challenge to stop Akinyemi before he was able to pull the trigger.

And York’s best chance of the match would come from the resulting free-kick, with Andeng Ndi’s scuffed clearance being intercepted by Fallowfield, whose drag back eventfully fell into the path of Will Davies who was somehow unable to hit the target from six-yards out, striking the post from close-range.

Nathan Ralph went close for the hosts with a half-volley from the edge of the area, before Southend dangerman Harry Cardwell flicked Scott-Morriss’ cross narrowly over the crossbar.

Heading into the second-half, Southend found themselves on the front foot again with Scott-Morriss’ pinpoint cross being struck narrowly wide by the onrushing Ralph.

Scott-Morriss then saw a free-kick from a prominent area bravely blocked by the York wall, before Sykes-Kenworthy was called into action with a brilliant stop.

A teasing cross from Bridge found an unmarked Crowther at the back post, who powered a header goalwards only to be kept out through an acrobatic save from Sykes-Kenworthy.

York nearly opened the scoring with 20 minutes remaining, as Amos’ corner was kept alive by Callum Howe, with Akinyemi’s flick on well-held by Andeng Ndi.

Southend were left ruing their missed opportunities as some nice link-up play from Henry Sandat and Crowther saw the latter one-on-one with Sykes-Kenworthy, but his attempted pull back for Cardwell was cut out before the City shot-stopper gratefully clutched the loose ball to his chest.

But with two minutes of normal time remaining, City did what they do best and struck home a late winner.

Debutant Amos deliver a corner towards the back post, with Howe testing Andeng Ndi, before the loose ball dropped into the path of John-Lewis to slam the ball home from close-range.

John-Lewis’ late winner earned City a hugely-important three points to move into 17th position, with Ardley’s side back in action in the first of three consecutive home matches on Tuesday night, for their rescheduled match with Dorking Wanderers (7.45pm).

Southend United: Andeng Ndi, Scott-Morriss, Crowther, Kensdale, Ralph, Bridge, Husin, Miley, Morton (Dackers, 82), Waldron (Sandat, 73), Cardwell

Subs not used: Wood, Fonguck, Demetriou

Yellow cards: Ralph (51)

York City: Sykes-Kenworthy 7, Fallowfield 6, Howe 6, Smith 6, Crookes 7, Amos 8, Woodyard 6, McLaughlin 7, Burgess 6 (Chadwick 6, 73), Davies 6 (John-Lewis 7, 61), Akineymi 6 (Batty, 84)

Subs not used: Cordner, Barnes

Goals: John-Lewis (88)

Yellow cards: Davies (53)

York’s star man: Danny Amos. A very encouraging start from the wing-back who defended well and produced some impressive crosses. An assist to add too.

Attendance: 6754 (254)

Referee: Callum Walchester

Shots (on target): 7 (4) | 3 (5)

Corners:  4 | 4

Offsides: 0 | 5

Fouls committed: 10 | 15