Date: 23rd January 2018 at 3:01pm
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York City’s reserves are still without a point after six games in Central League North despite striker James Gray’s first goal for the club in a 3-1 defeat to Mansfield Town at a blustery Rainworth Miners Welfare.

The former Northern Ireland Under-21 international cancelled out Johnny Hunt’s first-half opener soon after the interval, only for one-time York defender George Taft to reclaim the lead with eighteen minutes remaining. Ex-Lincoln City marksman Lee Angol added a late third.

The Minstermen included both Amari Morgan-Smith and Josh Law after coming off the bench during their entertaining weekend 2-2 draw with Spennymoor Town at Bootham Crescent.

Midfielder Theo Wharton was also selected following his return from a loan spell at Tamworth, but teenage youth-team winger Noah Jackson missed out due to recently suffering a broken metatarsal.

Former City loan duo Bobby Olejnik and Taft both lined up for their opponents, who had already comfortably triumphed 5-0 in the reverse fixture back in November.

However, the visitors saw the first opportunity with Morgan-Smith volleying narrowly wide before Jimmy Spencer similarly went close at the opposite end.

York right-back Law next struck a free-kick into the home defensive wall, while ex-Accrington Stanley front-runner Gray – still without a goal in thirteen senior appearances – failed to test keeper Olejnik from distance.

Experienced Scot Zander Diamond replied off-target at a corner, with Spencer – scorer of two goals during that earlier meeting – soon being thwarted by goalkeeper Luke Simpson.

Youth-teamer Flynn McNaughton drove wide after advancing in the other direction; Will Atkinson immediately replying over the crossbar, until former Wrexham and Chester left-back Hunt made a 39th minute breakthrough when beating Simpson from around twenty-five yards.

Leeds-born striker Spencer then dragged a further attempt wide before also heading Omari Sterling-James’ delivery behind as the hosts pressed for another.

Nevertheless, York were level five minutes into the second-half, Gray’s deflected effort finding the corner from the edge of the area following a trademark long throw by Sam Muggleton.

Home goalscorer Hunt was next wide from distance, while Morgan-Smith headed Muggleton’s free-kick at Olejnik before McNaughton similarly glanced Gray’s cross past an upright.

Both Gray and Lee Angol exchanged further attempts, until the hosts reclaimed their earlier advantage when big centre-back Taft was on the end of Hunt’s 72nd minute cross.

And they were to add a third goal ten minutes later through Angol’s half-volley before midfielder Calum Butcher was denied by keeper Simpson at the end.

Mansfield Towm: Olejnik, Digby, Diamond, Taft, Hunt, Thomas, Butcher, Atkinson, Spencer, Angol, Sterling-James

subs (unused): Wilson, Gibbins, T. Blake, N. Blake, Ward.

Goals: Hunt (39), Taft (72), Angol (82)

York City: Simpson, Law, Muggleton, Wharton, Rogerson, Rowe, Thompson, Smith, Gray (Haswell 80), Morgan-Smith (Berry 80), McNaughton

subs (unused): Kemp, Wilton, Lawrence

Goals: Gray (50)