Date: 6th January 2018 at 5:18pm
Written by: Vital York City

Martin Gray made a winning return to former club Darlington after recovered skipper Sean Newton and goalscoring hero Jon Parkin both struck early in the second-half.

Their opponents had taken the lead just before the break through Reece Styche, until Newton equalised right at the start of the second-half and Parkin decisively smashed in from the penalty spot five minutes later.

The Minstermen earlier made a single-change with Newton returning at the expense of on loan midfielder Sean McAllister, who instead reverted to the bench.

But it was their rivals with the first couple of efforts, both David Syers and Terry Galbraith hoisting over the crossbar before on loan goalkeeper James Talbot raced out ahead of danger-man Parkin.

Amari Morgan-Smith soon had a header blocked for the visitors from an Adriano Moke cross, while Joe Wheatley curled a free-kick beyond an upright after on loan Jonny Burn was penalised.

Chasing a third straight victory, York delivered the ball into the back of the net when Parkin turned in Aidan Connolly’s cross – but it was disallowed for offside. Styche then suffered the same fate after former Darlington keeper Adam Bartlett parried from Syers.

Bloodied defender Burn had to be replaced with apparent concussion and an accompanying eye injury following a challenge from Styche. That witnessed the experienced Daniel Parslow coming off the bench.

Morgan-Smith then had a header deflected behind from Newton’s cross before Greg Mills replied wide. Bartlett also blocked from Styche as his former club suddenly gained a trio of corners.

Gary Brown next headed narrowly over from Galbraith’s delivery, with Alex Pattison’s response too high before Harvey Saunders similarly lifted over for the home side.

However, Darlington went ahead immediately prior to the interval when Styche seized upon a long ball forward and drove in off the crossbar after avoiding substitute Parslow.

But York were to equalise when switching to a 4-4-2 formation at the start of the second period, courtesy of Newton’s deflected volley from the edge of the area after Connolly was initially blocked.

Five minutes later Morgan-Smith released Connolly on the break, until being taken down in the area by cautioned keeper Talbot. Parkin smashed the penalty into the top corner.

The hosts responded with Bartlett denying both Stephen Thompson and Josh Heaton, while Parkin only just cleared the bar when Newton’s cross was knocked back by Morgan-Smith.

Connolly’s free-kick was in turn deflected behind with Parkin waiting to pounce and Morgan-Smith also had a shot diverted wide.

Hamza Bencherif received the visitors’ first caution with the opposition frantically requesting a different colour, that following Pattison’s deflected attempt through to the keeper.

Captain Newton also drove wide with better options available, while Thompson’s reply was only tame towards Bartlett ahead of Connolly being booked. Galbraith swept the ensuing free-kick over.

Daniel Rowe was cautioned after replacing Connolly with twelve minutes remaining – and Thompson despatched the resultant free-kick just wide.

The visitors should really have made it safe in added time when Pattison broke from late substitute James Gray’s pass, only to fire against the keeper’s legs. The pair then exchanged roles with the former Darlington striker volleying over.

Darlington: Talbot, Collins (Portas 71), Galbraith, Wheatley, Heaton, Brown, Mills, Syers, Styche, Saunders, Thompson

subs (unused): Scott, Caton, Turnbull, Gillies

Goals: Styche (43)

York City: Bartlett, Law, Burn (Parslow 20), Bencherif, Ferguson, Moke, Newton, Pattison, Connolly (Rowe 78), Morgan-Smith (Gray 88), Parkin

subs (unused): McAllister, Simpson

Goals: Newton (46), Parkin (pen 51)

Ref: A. Herczeg

Att: 2,405 (780 York)