The last time York City won four league games in a row was in March 2014 – but they were facing a mighty challenge if they were about to turn that into a fifth.
The last time York City won four league games in a row was in March 2014 – but they were facing a mighty challenge if they were about to continue that run.
Michael Coulson struck an early winner as the visitors surged into the play-offs with a fifth successive victory over ten-man Portsmouth at Fratton Park.
Scarborough-born Coulson drilled into the far corner for his fourth goal of the season, to the delight of almost eight-hundred travelling supporters behind the same goal.
Portsmouth later had skipper Ben Chorley sent-off in what proved a bruising and physical encounter that witnessed both Josh Carson and Wes Fletcher suffering suspected medial ligament injuries.
Manager Nigel Worthington earlier named an unchanged side for a fifth successive game and witnessed the perfect start when Coulson took advantage of the available space to superbly crash his finish into the corner.
Moments later John McCombe’s hooked volley was saved at his near post by Trevor Carson, with the follow-up also being blocked. York winger Carson then appeared to be tripped on the edge of the area from Adam Reed’s delightful through ball, but no decision was forthcoming.
However, Pompey were slowly beginning to get back into it with Ryan Taylor heading a Jed Wallace cross straight at Nick Pope, who then denied Jake Jervis at his near post following ex-England international Nicky Shorey’s delivery.
Taylor also headed a corner over midway through the opening half, while McCombe importantly blocked from Wallace and Lanre Oyebanjo cleared well. Wallace also scuffed wide before the visitors suddenly lost Carson on a stretcher. He was replaced by thirteen-goal top scorer Wes Fletcher, who was himself to suffer later misfortune.
On loan goalkeeper Pope punched clear in Pompey’s next attack, before denying a good run from the lively Wallace as the 2008 FA Cup winners continued to press forward.
The confident Pope was straight in action upon the restart when parrying from Wallace and Bondz N’Gala headed over from the corner.
But the contest took another turn when Chorley was dismissed for a bad 50th minute challenge on Fletcher, who was unable to continue and replaced by Ryan Jarvis.
York keeper Pope next gathered a long-range effort from danger-man Wallace and then a speculative overhead by Toumani Diagouraga – and he soon escaped further punishment for following through on Oyebanjo.
The visitors went close again when Will Hayhurst’s whipped free-kick was glanced wide by Jarvis before Carson parried from Coulson as the travelling fans continued to roar their favouries on.
The outcome should certainly have been decided with just ten minutes remaining when Bowman inexplicably miskicked from six-yards after Jarvis released Ben Davies inside the area.
Seeking to make instant amends, Bowman headed a Hayhurst cross directly at Carson and Reed’s delivery was in turn deflected into the side-netting.
Match-winner Coulson and Jarvis both had late efforts charged down as the visitors completed another famous win and pushed troubled Pompey deeper into the relegation mire.
Portsmouth: T. Carson, Alfei, Shorey (Drennan 80), Whatmough, N’Gala, Chorley, Diagouraga, Wallace, Jervis (Agyemang 80), Taylor, McCabe (Holmes 71)
subs (unused): Smith, Devera, Bradley, Fogden
York City: Pope, Oyebanjo, Lowe. McCombe, Davies, J. Carson (Fletcher 35, Jarvis 53), Penn, Reed, Hayhurst, Coulson, Bowman
subs (unused): McGurk, Montrose, Platt, Puri, Ingham
Goals: Coulson (5)
Ref: R. East
Att: 14,814 (794 York)
Video Link: officialpfc