REPORT FROM YORK FAN SITE
On a day which saw York celebrate their secured future at Bootham Crescent, Mansfield Town were in no mood to add to the home festivities. An assured performance from the Stags was enough to see off a below par York side by two goals to one. This was despite a bizarre Nogan goal from all of forty yards ,which, gave the Minstermen a second half lifeline their play had certainly not merited.
The visitors were on top from the opening minutes and Ovendale needed to be alert to turn an early Corden shot round his right hand post. The resultant in-swinging corner was then narrowly headed over by Iyseden Christie from three yards out.
Mansfield continued to trouble York, whose overworked defence were conceding an abundance of corner kicks. Leading scorer Liam Lawrence and Christie were causing the majority of the opportunities and City were only occasionally able to relieve the pressure, usually through the extra quality of Justin Walker.
On twenty-five minutes, a Lawrence cross was met by Craig Disley on the right edge of the York penalty area. His looping header looked to be heading for the net, but Ovendale arched his back superbly to palm the ball away.
The relief was to be short lived however, as two minutes later Town took the lead. Liam Lawrence again found space, some twenty-five yards out on the City right channel and his curling left foot strike beat Ovendale and into the top corner of the net. It was a magnificent goal, but hardly unexpected as by now, Mansfield had a firm grip on the game.
As half-time approached, York should have been two behind. Chrisitie and Corden again combined well down the left for Mansfield and Corden found himself with a clear one on one with Ovendale. However, the City keeper reacted brilliantly to block the shot from close range, only to see the ball rebound to Pacquette, fifteen yards out with the empty goal at his mercy. The big Town striker inexplicably opted for power when none was required and to his team-mates amazement, the ball blazed
high and wide of the unguarded net.
City went in at half-time relieved to be only a goal down. Their only sights of the Mansfield goal were restricted to two Yalcin shots from distance, and a strike by Mitch Ward, which flew inches wide after good work from Walker. What little the home side did create, largely emanated from the York loan player who showed that bit of extra class and linked well with Dave Merris down the York left wing.
The second half continued where the first left off and it was little surprise when the visitors added to their lead in the fifty-third minute. When Nogan was harshly adjudged to have fouled Lawrence down the right channel, the Mansfield striker himself delivered an almost perfect forty yard cross for Pacquette to head powerfully home from within the six yard box. Two-nil and seemingly no way back for the Minstermen, who up to that point had looked woeful.
On sixty-six minutes however, the whole tempo of the match turned on one bizarre incident. Bullock rather hopefully chased down a Mansfield back pass and under no real pressure, keeper Kevin Pilkington managed to slice his clearance to the feet of Lee Nogan. The York veteran showed himself to be instantly alert to the situation, with a first time clipped shot travelling all of forty yards, before nestling in the net to give York an undeserved lifeline.
This proved to be the lift the home side so desperately needed. From looking confident and in command, Town now looked vulnerable as City poured forwards. A series of good York attacks down the left saw both Walker and Bullock go close. Merris was supplying superb crosses from his area of the pitch and an equaliser looked probable.
Then with only ten minutes remaining, Merris himself cut into the box and drove his shot low and hard, the resultant deflection fell nicely for Justin Walker only ten yards out. However, with the City faithful already halfway off their seats, Walker pulled his shot fractionally wide and sank to the turf in frustration.
More chances were to follow. Fox was now on in place of Ward and at last, Walker was finding a worthy partner in central midfield. When the two combined with quick passing, Walker found himself through on goal, only to be thwarted by a brave save by Pilkington, at the City midfielder's feet.
Still City pressed, spurred on by the announcement that the referee had seen fit to prolong the match by a precious four minutes of added time. A free kick, awarded dead centre and only twenty yards out seemed to cry out for a happy ending to York's emotional reclaiming of their beloved Bootham Crescent. However it was not to be. The ball was worked to Dunning who blasted horribly, high and wide.
Injury time also saw Darren Edmondson go close, before a break away by Mansfield at the death almost resulted in a 3-1 score-line.
It was an exciting and rousing finish from the Minstermen and they were unfortunate not to snatch an equaliser in this period. But taken in the context of the whole 90 minutes, a 2-2 result would have been a travesty. Mansfield were simply the better side and up until that moment of Nogan magic, the visitors were winning the game at a canter.
York now slip to twelfth in the table, and are nine points from both the play-offs and the trap door to the Conference. In order to look upwards to promotion, rather than anxiously downwards, City are going to have to massively improve on the first hour of this performance, when frankly they were awful.
At least they have the Lincoln game in a mere three days time to put things right.
ATTENDANCE: 4068 (1063 away fans)
MAN OF MATCH: Dave Merris.
CITY PLAYER BY PLAYER PERFORMANCES:
Ovendale (7) Not at fault for either goal and a couple of superb stops prevented a rout.
Cooper (4) Played in his totally unsuited position of right back and was truly dreadful. All his passes found opposition players and nothing he attempted came off.
Smith (6) Average performance in an overworked York back-line.
Brass (7) Above average on sheer work rate alone. Even by his own heroic standards, the amount of pitch covered was amazing. Seems to be slowly finding some form.
Nogan (7) Good game from an excellent professional.
Ward (5) Substituted too late on, as he struggled to make any impact. Too tempted to play square and slow things down.
Yalcin (6) At least looked like he only had scoring goals on his mind. But some promising glimpses never materialised into more.
Dunning (5) Very average game from this usually consistent performer. Maybe needs a rest?
Merris ( 8 ) Man of the match. Took players on, provided all the telling City crosses and defended well.
Walker (7) Promising performance and showed a lot of determination plus skill. Not everything he tried came off, but for a loan player, he certainly does not lack commitment.
Edmondson replaced the woeful Cooper, thus allowing City to play down both wings.
Bullock added much needed quality to midfield.
Fox played the final ten minutes and looked good for a more lengthy role versus Lincoln.