A SMACK in the mouth will mean a visit to the dentist this week for York City’s star striker Richard Brodie.

But, encouragingly, Brodie’s fellow front men were far from toothless in his absence at North Ferriby United.

Brodie exited the action with one incisor less and a bloody mouth after just 35 minutes of Saturday’s penultimate pre-season fixture following a clash with home defender Sam Denton.

At any point in the last two seasons, such a sight would have struck fear into City supporters and management staff alike, such has been the Minstermen’s over-reliance on their talismanic forward in front of goal.

Against Evo-Stik League premier division hosts Ferriby, however, there were signs that his attacking team-mates could play stronger supporting roles in that respect during the coming campaign.

George Purcell’s arrival from Braintree Town certainly seems to have provided manager Martin Foyle with another player, like Brodie, who can make penetrating runs in behind defences, offering a greater tactical flexibility in terms of switching to a 4-3-3 formation.

Following his 73rd-minute introduction, Purcell might have claimed a hat-trick against the part-time Humbersiders having demonstrated a devastating turn of pace. His finishing was less impressive until he claimed the visitors’ third goal in clinical style but his cameo outing was eyecatching.

The man he replaced – Michael Gash – also carried a greater goal threat than in previous pre-season outings and, despite also squandering a couple of easy opportunities, doubled the lead with a powerful header.

Jonathan Smith – a regular marksman from midfield at Forest Green – had earlier broken the deadlock to open his account in City colours, suggesting the potential for greater potency in that area of the pitch too during 2010/11.

City might have taken the lead on 12 minutes but Gash missed his kick in front of an open net after good work by Brodie.

Michael Ingham was then called upon to make an excellent save at the other end, diving high to his right to keep out a deflected Chris White effort.

Moments later, Steve Wilson made a more comfortable save from Gash after a strong burst into the penalty box by Smith.

The pair combined again for City’s first goal on 27 minutes when Wilson could only parry a thumping Gash drive and an alert Smith followed up to tap in.

Early in the second half, centre-backs Daniel Parslow and David McGurk should have got on the scoresheet from successive Chris Carruthers corners.

First, Parslow could not beat Wilson from a couple yards out after McGurk had met Carruthers’ inswinging flag kick.

Then McGurk headed wide after another dangerous delivery.

Carruthers also provided the cross for the best move of the match with Michael Rankine’s clever back heel at the near post creating a great chance for Gash that he lifted over the bar from ten yards.

Just before the hour, Rankine fired high into the side-netting from an acute angle before Russell Fry, one of two ex-Minstermen in the home side along with Paul Harsley, flashed a 20-yard shot wide of Ingham’s goal.

But Gash’s towering 70th-minute header from a Peter Till right-wing cross settled the outcome.

A spring-heeled Purcell was then handed the baton off the bench, sprinting clear on goal three times during a lively substitute outing.

Playing on the left of a three-pronged strikeforce with Till on the opposite flank, Purcell first dispossessed Paul Ellender before disappointingly shooting straight at Wilson with lone central striker Rankine also in support.

Shortly afterwards, more direct running sent him clear of the home back four again but, this time, he fired wide of Wilson’s near post.

Seemingly not one to dwell on his misses though, Purcell crashed his third effort high into the roof of the Ferriby net after showing immaculate ball control to take Till’s pass in his stride before bearing down on the home goal.

North Ferriby: Steve Wilson, Paul Harsley, Paul Foot (Ryan Levsley, 74), Sam Denton (Paul Ellender, 62), Kevin Larvin (Ben Turner, 46), Ged Dalton (Rob Clarke, 46), Ben Morley (Alex Davidson, 64), Russell Fry, Chris White (Mark Whitehouse, 74), Chris Bolder, Gary Bradshaw (Gareth Owen, 83).

York City: Ingham, Courtney (Till, 59), Parslow, Young (McGurk, 46), Meredith, Lawless, Mackin (McDermott, 73), Smith (Barrett, 66), Carruthers, Gash (Purcell, 73), Brodie (Rankine, 35).

Attendance: 180.