Minstermen condemn Avenue to back-to-back defeats
York City 2-1 Bradford Park Avenue
Goals either side of half-time from Jon Parkin and Amari Morgan-Smith saw off a valiant Avenue despite a stoppage-time strike from Adam Boyes.
Avenue were boosted by the returns of Shane Killock and Nicky Clee to full fitness, and both were recalled to the starting eleven for the club’s first clash with York City since 1969.
It was the visitors that started on the front foot, pressing high up the pitch and looking to force mistakes at every opportunity. Jamie Spencer was the first to direct an effort towards goal, but saw his shot deflected wide.
York, however, grew into the game and caught their first sight of goal when captain Sean Newton’s chipped effort forced Steven Drench to tip the ball over the crossbar.
A marauding run from Aidan Connolly down the left then allowed him to pick out Adriano Moke, who could only find the side-netting with his low-struck effort.
York were beginning to ask questions of Avenue’s defence, but Mark Bower’s side remained very much in the game. Wayne Brooksby saw a speculative drive from distance held by Adam Bartlett, and Clee’s effort from a similar range also came close to nestling in the bottom corner.
The encounter was wide open in the latter stages of the first-half, and both Connolly and Matt Hill nearly opened the scoring for their sides with audacious long-range efforts. Connolly’s in particular looked destined to fly past Drench, and the ‘keeper did extremely well to hold a shot that swerved and dipped.
Avenue were dealt a blow when ever-present defender Mark Ross was forced out of action with a hip problem, but continued to pose a threat going forward. Spencer’s close-range strike was parried by Bartlett, who scurried across to blast the ball out of play before Clee could pounce.
However, Ross’ absence was felt soon after his departure when Connolly threaded through to the lumbering Parkin, who burst through on the left before coolly steering past Drench to give York the lead.
Avenue were keen to overturn the 1-0 deficit after the break, the second-half’s first chance fell to them when Spencer rifled towards goal and skimmed the crossbar with his long-range piledriver.
Vastly-experienced attacking talent Amari Morgan-Smith entered the fray for the hosts early in the second-half, and his introduction saw York regain control of the game. He troubled the Avenue defence with a mazy run that saw him skip past three defenders, before getting in behind minutes later and catching his first glimpse of goal with an over-hit effort.
It was Amari-Smith that eventually doubled York’s advantage, bundling home at the back-post from a teasing cross to settle a few nerves in the crowd.
Avenue responded by piling forward in droves, leading to Brooksby and Johnson having chances to pull one back. Both failed to capitalise, with the latter’s strike taking a series of deflections before going wide.
An injury to Brooksby forced Mark Bower’s hand once again, but Adam Nowakowski’s introduction added energy to a frontline becoming increasingly frustrated by denials at the hands of Bartlett and the woodwork.
Boyes came agonisingly close to netting on his former stamping ground, but his header could only draw another fantastic save from the Minstermen stopper.
Boyes did manage to get on the scoresheet against the club he came through the ranks at, reacting quickest to pounce on a parried Johnson effort, but it proved to be nothing more than a consolation.
Mark Bower confirmed in his post-match interview that Brooksby had tweaked his hamstring, and that the winger could face a spell on the sidelines lasting ‘a couple of weeks at least’. Regarding Mark Ross, he stated that the defender has been suffering from a hip problem for the past few weeks, and that the club ‘will have to see how quickly it settles down’.
Avenue return to the Horsfall Stadium next week, welcoming Gainsborough Trinity.
York City: Bartlett, Law, Ferguson, Bencherif, Burn, Moke, Newton (c), Rowe (Morgan-Smith 52’), Parkin, Correia (Gray 82’), Connolly (Parslow 90+4’)
Unused substitutes: Smith, Simpson.
Booked: Burn, Connolly.
Bradford Park Avenue: Drench, Ross (Vidal 29’), Hill, Wroe (c), Killock, Havern, Brooksby (Nowakowski 68’), Spencer (Boshell 78’), Boyes, Johnson, Clee.
Unused substitutes: Hall, Knight.
Booked: Johnson, Spencer, Boyes, Vidal.
Referee: Simon Mather