York City earned their first win of the season as Wes Fletcher struck twice in a hard-fought 3-2 victory at ten-man Stevenage.
The visitors appeared totally in command at the break, with early goals from Michael Coulson and Fletcher securing them a two-goal advantage.
Stevenage were further compromised by the dismissal of Andy Bond just after the half-hour – but recovered well following the interval as Chris Whelpdale and Tom Pett replied.
However, Fletcher scored his second of the afternoon from a 75th minute penalty after Marvin McCoy was brought down inside the area.
The Minstermen earlier named an unchanged starting line-up from their midweek defeat to Barnsley, with striker Fletcher recovering from a slight hamstring problem to continue.
And the visitors enjoyed a perfect start when their former target Darius Charles received an early booking for fouling Coulson, whose 25-yard free-kick beat goalkeeper Sam Beasant on its way into the corner.
Anthony Straker then saw another effort blocked by the covering Charles as Coulson linked well with Russell Penn, while Cameron Lancaster sliced a Whelpdale assist in reply before Charlie Lee headed over Ronnie Henry’s cross.
York soon added another and in some style on fifteen minutes, with Penn intercepting possession for Coulson to set-up Fletcher to finish clinically and low into the far corner.
Further problems for Stevenage arrived with skipper Bond being sent-off for a bad challenge on Fletcher on the half-hour.
Tame headers from John Ashton and Whelpdale were followed by Coulson’s reply being deflected wide. Simon Walton’s longer-range strike was similarly diverted behind as the hosts forced two quick corners – with Ashton producing a routine save for Michael Ingham from the second.
Luke Summerfield tried an effort from distance following the restart while Pett curled wide at the other end. Penn also saw his drive charged down as the visitors pressed again before Straker picked up a caution for dissent and John McCombe volleyed over.
York continued to appear dangerous on the break but it was Whelpdale stealing in to head home after Henry’s 59th minute free-kick was knocked on.
And the contest was suddenly levelled just six minutes later when Pett took advantage of a favourable deflection from Henry’s cross to fire in an equaliser.
Boosted by their unlikely recovery, Lee soon curled behind and Walton shot narrowly wide – with the home crowd now firmly behind their side having jeered them off at the interval.
Manager Nigel Worthington responded by introducing Jake Hyde for Straker before his charges went back in front with fifteen minutes remaining when McCoy was tripped inside the area by Pett; Fletcher confidently sending the keeper the wrong way from the spot, directly in front of the travelling fans.
Stevenage replied with Walton’s low free-kick being taken by Ingham, who also gathered from Pett before substitute Hyde was booked for dissent.
The Minstermen came under more pressure during the closing stages with Keith Lowe clearing well and then blocking another before they could finally celebrate an overdue victory.
Stevenage: Beasant, Henry, Ashton (Zola 83), Charles, Okimo (Dembele 46), Whelpdale, Walton, Bond, Pett, Lee, Lancaster (Marriott 59)
subs (unused): Day, Calcutt, Deacon
Goals: Whelpdale (59), Pett (64)
York City: Ingham, McCoy, Lowe, McCombe, Ilesanmi, Meikle (Jarvis 88), Penn, Summerfield, Straker (Hyde 71), Coulson, Fletcher
subs (unused): Mooney, Parslow, Winfield, Montrose, Hirst
Goals; Coulson (3), Fletcher (15, pen 75)
Ref: D. Sheldrake (Surrey)
Att: 3,090 (442 York)
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