Leading scorer Wes Fletcher snatched a dramatic injury-time winner as York City produced a tremendously determined performance in atrocious conditions at big-spending Fleetwood Town.
Fletcher grabbed his twelfth goal of the season following a low cross from substitute Michael Coulson to earn his side a first triumph in six games over their opponents.
The Minstermen earlier took a late first-half lead when full debutant Will Hayhurst’s wind-assisted corner was turned into his own net by Conor McLaughlin.
But on loan Sunderland striker Mikael Mandron equalised after York goalkeeper Nick Pope mishandled a cross with just under twenty minutes remaining.
Manager Nigel Worthington earlier made a single-change with on loan winger Hayhurst replacing the injured David McGurk. Midfielder Russell Penn took over the armband in a revised formation while Fleetwood recalled former City striker Jon Parkin.
However, York made a lively start with the swirling wind at their backs during the opening half. Josh Carson soon saw an effort charged down following a Lanre Oyebanjo free-kick. Adam Reed then had a great chance but his shot was blocked after Hayhurst linked with Fletcher.
The visitors continued to push hard and Oyebanjo struck into the side-netting from a Hayhurst cross. David Ball forced Pope into action at his near post just past the half-hour while Oyebanjo crucially headed away an inviting cross from ex-York loanee Charlie Taylor. Nathan Pond then might have done better when scuffing wide for the home side after their opponents failed to clear.
But with a scoreless first-half seemingly inevitable, York struck in added time when Hayhurst’s inswinging corner from the right was turned into his own net by McLaughlin.
With the fierce wind against them in the second period, the visitors could though expect a seriously torrid session ahead. Even so they threatened again when Fletcher was only just denied following a mix-up between goalkeeper Scott Davies and Mark Roberts from a long ball forward.
Fleetwood soon recovered and Steve Schumacher proved wayward from distance before Pope tipped over Alan Goodall’s 25-yard drive. Reed was then booked and Schumacher’s free-kick was headed comfortably wide by Roberts as the visitors continued to face heavy pressure.
A double-change from the home side injected further urgency into their play, with the rugged Parkin using his immense frame to good effect and regularly bringing colleagues into play. Reed did slice badly in reply from more decent work between Hayhurst and Fletcher.
However, Goodall delivered a 73rd minute free-kick that was spilled by Pope and eventually driven past the on loan Charlton Athletic keeper by substitute Mandron for an equaliser.
His fellow replacement Junior Brown then supplied a corner six minutes later and Ball’s header glanced the crossbar as the title-hopefuls now pressed forward for a winner.
But Keith Lowe and new centre-back partner John McCombe continued to stand tall at the back for the visitors despite both Ball and Taylor hoisting over.
And it was they who sensationally claimed a dramatic winner in added time when Ryan Bowman headed on for Coulson to run and deliver a low cross that was crucially despatched by Fletcher – directly in front of the joyous travelling supporters.
Fleetwood Town: Davies, McLaughlin, Pond, Roberts, Goodall, Taylor, Schumacher (Brown 66), Murdoch (Mandron 65), Ball, Parkin, Sarcevic
subs (unused): Evans, Hogan, Cresswell, Jordan, Maxwell
Goals: Mandron (72)
York City: Pope, Oyebanjo, Lowe, McCombe, Davies, Carson, Penn, Reed, Hayhurst (Coulson 83), Bowman, Fletcher
subs (unused): Allan, Platt, McDonald, Dickinson, Puri, Ingham
Goals: McLaughlin OG (45), Fletcher (90)
Ref: F. Graham (Essex)
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