On Saturday York City have another vital away trip to Sutton United. Therefore we rewind exactly three years to when they were maintaining a brilliant surge in League Two.
On Saturday York City have another vital away trip to Sutton United. Therefore we rewind exactly three years to the day when they were maintaining a brilliant surge into the League Two play-offs under the wily leadership of Nigel Worthington.
Battling York continue to close in on the play-offs following a fourth straight away victory at Mansfield Town. Striker Ryan Bowman scored their winner from a 32nd minute penalty before substitute Wes Fletcher later saw a second spot-kick saved in added time.
The Minstermen have incredibly won five of their six away games since the turn of the year to now find themselves just a couple of points short of the play-offs. And they once more displayed superb mental resolve to survive a hostile and deeply intimidating atmosphere.
Manager Worthington earlier named an unchanged side from that which had earned maximum points at AFC Wimbledon on Saturday.
Bowman saw a fifteen-yard shot taken at his near post by Alan Marriott during the opening exchanges while Jamie McGuire’s reply was deflected wide for a corner; initially misjudged by on loan goalkeeper Nick Pope and John McCombe forced away on his return to Field Mill.
Determined work from Michael Coulson as Marriott tried to clear his lines soon earned the visitors their first corner of the evening. But it was from the next moments later that Adam Reed exchanged passes with Carson and fired into the side-netting.
Mansfield defender Darryl Westlake had already taken a hefty knock and despite bravely playing on was forced to finally make way for Lee Beevers around the half-hour.
However, it was York who then surged in front when Carson was adjudged to have been fouled by John Dempster inside the area. With memories of missing an absolute sitter at the weekend still doubtless fresh in his mind, Bowman kept his nerve and converted the penalty directly in front of the baying home supporters.
Those same fans were soon trying to get goalscorer Bowman red-carded following a challenge on former Hereford United colleague Sam Clucas – but there was no punishment ruled by the official.
Either side of that incident Stags midfielder McGuire saw a couple of speculative attempts, while on loan City winger Will Hayhurst had an effort blocked and a later cross gathered by Marriott.
His opposite number Pope collected a tame Matt Rhead header and Clucas also scooped over from outside the area after Martin Riley had become the first player booked for a foul on Coulson.
The Minstermen knew their opponents would come out with renewed intent after the break and Pope soon gathered Rhead’s attempt from outside the area. The Charlton Athletic shot-stopper was then barely tested by Lindon Meikle before McCombe tried a deflected reply. Stags substitute Beevers was in turn booked for tripping Carson.
Home boss Paul Cox had seen enough and decided to withdraw centre-back Dempster in favour of striker Ollie Palmer and revise his formation. But York were standing firm against a fiercely partisan crowd, with young keeper Pope handling superbly.
Their manager Worthington brought on Fletcher for Bowman and then Lewis Montrose in place of Reed, while Pope was soon gathering again – this time from another delivery hoisted underneath his crossbar.
The visitors weren’t really an attacking threat as they concentrated instead on repelling their route-one opponents, although Coulson struck wide inside the final ten minutes and Hayhurst crossed straight at Marriott.
Teenage left-back Ben Davies then conceded a couple of late free-kicks before Ryan Jarvis came off the bench to lend his experience. And York should really have wrapped it up in added time when James Jennings handled inside his own area but Fletcher’s spot-kick was saved by Marriott – to lift the home crowd once again.
However, Fletcher determinedly won another free-kick to move the clock a little further onwards as his side remained resolute to the last on their way to another superb maximum points haul.
Mansfield Town: Marriott, Westlake (Beevers 29), Riley, Tafazolli, Dempster (Palmer 58), Jennings, McGuire, Murray (Cain 74), Clucas, Rhead, Meikle
subs (unused): Stevenson, Dyer, Clements, Daniel
York City: Pope, Oyebanjo, Lowe, McCombe, Davies, Carson, Penn, Reed (Montrose 77), Hayhurst, Coulson (Jarvis 85), Bowman (Fletcher 72)
subs (unused): McGurk, Platt, Puri, Ingham
Goals: Bowman (pen 32)
Ref: D. Drysdale (Lincolnshire)
Video Link: Mansfield Town FC