YORK City pushed Premier League Sunderland all the way before going down 2-1 at Bootham Crescent last night.

Jamie Reed opened his City account for the pre-season by netting a 64th-minute penalty after first-half goals from Phil Bardsley and Oumare Tounkara had put a strong Sunderland side in the ascendancy.

On another night, though, City might have had greater reward for an entertaining performance with Liam Henderson also hitting the bar and fellow striker Jason Walker seeing appeals for an earlier spot-kick turned down.

But it was Sunderland that wasted the first chance of the evening after only two minutes when one-time England international Kieran Richardson fell over in front of goal after Chris Smith had surrendered possession to Steed Malbranque.

The Minstermen enjoyed some polished spells of one-touch football in the first half with the best, orchestrated by Andre Boucaud, leading to a Matty Blair cross that proved just too long for Smith to convert at the far post.

But the Black Cats forged ahead on 13 minutes after Scott Kerr’s pass was easily intercepted by Lee Cattermole.

Malbranque and Richardson then combined to feed an overlapping and untracked Bardsley down the left.

The ex-Manchester United full-back went on to cut on to his right foot and blast a powerful low drive past Michael Ingham from 15 yards.

At the other end, Henderson’s edge-of-the-box effort was gathered at the second attempt by Simon Mignolet with Walker waiting to pounce.

Moments later, Walker’s excellent curling 20-yard shot beat Mignolet but clipped the top of his netting and the former Barrow forward also saw strong penalty appeals rejected when he tumbled to the ground after racing on to a perfect Boucaud through ball and looked to round the Sunderland stopper.

City survived a scare on the half-hour mark when Jack Colback’s corner struck an unwitting David McGurk and was cleared off the line by Patrick McLaughlin and, three minutes later, the visitors doubled their advantage.

Cattermole released Frenchman Tounkara down the left channel and he capitalised on a back- tracking home defence by curling into Ingham’s bottom left-hand corner from 15 yards.

The home side should have reduced the deficit on 36 minutes but Henderson headed against the crossbar from three yards after Blair had met McLaughlin’s corner to the far post.

Sunderland summer signing Craig Gardner though forced Ingham into a fine save from his 30-yard free-kick with the last action of the first half.

Henderson sidestepped a Michael Turner challenge before bending a 15-yard attempt wide early in the second period while Gardner again tested Ingham from distance and Richardson also went close for the visitors.

The hosts, though, pulled a goal back when Reed charged past Titus Bramble and the hapless former Newcastle defender’s outstetched leg felled the City striker.

Reed dusted himself down to sidefoot the penalty powerfully down the middle of the goal as substitute ’keeper Trevor Carson dived to his right.

Looking for a second goal, Reed’s 25-yard drive on 77 minutes called Carson into action again but Ingham also needed to display sharp reflexes to deny Black Cat’s substitute Craig Lynch with his first touch late on.

City: Ingham, Oyebanjo, McGurk (Fyfield, 62), Smith (Parslow, 62), Meredith, Kerr (Potts, 62), Boucaud, McLaughlin (Moké, 62), Blair (Reed, 58), Henderson (Chambers, 58), Walker (Purcell, 58).

Sunderland: Simon Mignolet (Trevor Carson, 46), Anton Ferdinand (Louis Lang, 83), Michael Turner, Titus Bramble, Phil Bardsley (Blair Adams, 73), Steed Malbranque (Ahmed Elmohamady, 62), Lee Cattermole (Adam Reed, 80), Craig Gardner (Liam Noble, 80), Jack Colback, Kieran Richardson (Craig Lynch, 80), Oumare Tounkara (Jordan Cook, 62).

Attendance: 5,148 (2,574 from Sunderland).