Date: 28th March 2017 at 9:43pm
Written by: Vital York City

York City completed their first league double of the season with a fine 3-1 victory against forthcoming Wembley opponents Macclesfield Town at Moss Rose.

The Minstermen made an absolutely brilliant start with skipper Simon Heslop immediately lashing home before Vadaine Oliver soon added a second.

But their hosts were suddenly back in the contest when Daniel Parslow was adjudged to have handled inside the area with over an hour played – and Danny Whitaker converted from the spot.

However, York secured only their second away league victory of the season when Jon Parkin netted his tenth goal since returning to the club in November.

The visitors were unchanged after ever-present Heslop passed his fitness check on a groin problem. Macclesfield recalled centre-back John McCombe and also included fellow former York duo Scott Flinders and Luke Summerfield.

Mitch Hancox’s early cross almost set up their leading scorer Chris Holroyd but it was the visitors suddenly forging in front when Heslop superbly drove Parkin’s lay-off past Flinders and into the top corner from twenty-yards.

Adriano Moke then struck wide from distance before York crucially doubled their advantage as Scott Loach’s long clearance was clinically finished by Oliver over advancing opposite number Flinders.

Rhys Browne shot wide in reply after Moke surrendered possession while visiting striker Amari Morgan-Smith similarly proved wayward.

Former England Under-21 international goalkeeper Loach was though called into action when a quickly-taken free-kick by Summerfield allowed in Anthony Dudley.

Goalscorer Oliver reacted by volleying at Flinders following a great move in the opposite direction, and Sean Newton did likewise after Parslow had covered well at the back. Flinders then rushed out to meet the challenge of Oliver when Andy Halls under-struck a back-pass.

Alex Whittle was in turn only denied by a last-ditch clearance from Browne, who was moments later pulled back by the cautioned Newton before Loach parried from Hancox and Whitaker drilled narrowly wide.

Earlier doubt Heslop was replaced by Danny Holmes for the start of the second-half but it was Hamza Bencherif instantly meeting the threat of Dudley before Loach expertly thwarted Summerfield having initially punched away. George Pilkington could then only find Loach from the resultant corner.

Morgan-Smith had a deflected reply blocked by Flinders and Parkin also directed Newton’s free-kick wide. Flinders next made a superb double-stop to keep out Parkin and Oliver in rapid succession.

Macclesfield suddenly received a way back as Parslow was penalised for handball inside the area after Dudley headed a 63rd minute cross by Whitaker, who slotted in from the spot.

But York should have restored their earlier two-goal lead when Newton’s free-kick was blasted wide by Parkin after Bencherif knocked across. On loan Sam Muggleton had already replaced Oliver by then.

Home midfielder Whitaker struck tamely at Loach and Dudley similarly found his clutches as the visitors were coming under increasing pressure.

However, the relegation-fighters finally won a throw in an advanced position that was launched massively by substitute Muggleton, helped on by Bencherif and eventually bundled over the line by the relentless Parkin.

It still required a fine double-save from Loach to counter both McCombe and Hancox before Norburn drove wide in the closing stages – but fiercely determined York were always the richly-deserved winners.

Macclesfield Town Flinders, Halls, McCombe, Pilkington, Hancox, Browne, Summerfield (Mackreth 70), Norburn, Whitaker, Holroyd, Dudley

subs (unused): Ross, Fitzpatrick, Byrne, James

Goals: Whitaker (pen 64)

York City: Loach, Parslow, Bencherif, Newton, Heslop (Holmes 46), Moke, Hall, Whittle, Morgan-Smith, Parkin, Oliver (Muggleton 67)

subs (unused): Rooney, Fenwick, Connolly

Goals: Heslop (7), Oliver (15), Parkin (83)

Ref: M. Coy

Att: 1,318 (320 York)