Date: 26th August 2017 at 11:11pm
Written by: Vital York City

Skipper Sean Newton grabbed a late equaliser against third-placed Southport to extend York City’s unbeaten run to five games at Haig Avenue.

The Sandgrounders had taken an early second-half lead through Gary Roberts but striker Jack Sampson was then sent-off with ten minutes remaining. And Newton was to make them pay for it when his 82nd minute cross-shot from out wide sailed into the far corner.

There was earlier a single-change for the visitors with centre-back Hamza Bencherif replacing latest debutant Jassem Sukar, while veteran goalscorer Jon Parkin returned on the bench. Both Connor Smith and Theo Wharton dropped out completely.

Their unbeaten opponents were unchanged from last weekend’s narrow victory at Alfreton Town despite a number of pre-match injury concerns.

York actually threatened early on with the recalled Bencherif poking a Newton free-kick straight at former Everton and Scotland Under-21 goalkeeper Iain Turner.

The play continued to be scrappy as Michael Rankine sliced wide from distance before Adriano Moke suffered a suspected thigh injury and was replaced in midfield by Sukar – with Simon Heslop dropping deeper.

Substitute Sukar’s early volley soon lacked sufficient force and comfortably found its way towards Turner, whose opposite number Jon Worsnop was finally brought into routine action by Ethan Jones.

Former Southport loanee Louis Almond then had an angled, low effort blocked by Turner at a short corner, before the visitors only just scrambled away when Worsnop initially punched another set-piece

City right-back Josh Law next dangerously chested back to the diving Worsnop, while Newton’s 25-yard reply was turned over full-length by Turner – but the action continued to be decidedly untidy.

Returning defender Bencherif saw an early second-half header claimed by Turner from a Newton free-kick – but was ruled offside anyway.

Nevertheless it was hosts suddenly going in front when a simple ball forward from Curtis Jones witnessed experienced former Crewe Alexandra midfielder Roberts hooking over keeper Worsnop from around eight-yards.

Moments later Jones struck another opportunity wide before Newton proved wayward in response; manager Gary Mills soon making a double-change with Parkin and Sam Muggleton replacing Almond and earlier substitute Sukar.

Muggleton immediately had a trademark long throw caught by keeper Turner, while home substitute Alex Fletcher wastefully hoisted over after Worsnop only punched towards the edge of the area – and Sampson later similarly fired wide.

The Sandgrounders had Sampson dismissed though for allegedly elbowing Bencherif in the face with ten minutes remaining, before Newton struck wide and midfield colleague Heslop also had a further effort deflected behind.

However, Newton’s 82nd minute cross suddenly found the far corner to vitally level the score with his third goal in six games .

Substitute Parkin in turn glanced a header towards the keeper before also being denied by Turner at the expense of a corner following Muggleton launching another missile during injury-time.

Rankine then headed over from Newton’s cross as the visitors continued to search for a late winner, while Turner dropped Newton’s free-kick in the final seconds but was to escape further punishment.

Southport: Turner, Jackson, White, C. Jones, Dugdale, Smith, Jennings (Kpohomouh 84), Schumacher, Roberts (Fletcher 72), Sampson, E. Jones (Zama 75)

subs (unused): Roache, Sang

Goals: Roberts (52)

York City: Worsnop, Law, Parslow, Bencherif, Whittle, Heslop, Moke (Sukar 17, Muggleton 62), Newton, Almond (Parkin 62), Rankine, Morgan-Smith

subs (unused): Connolly, Felix

Goals: Newton (82)

Ref: M. Woods

Att: 1,177 (341 York)

Weekend Results: AFC Telford 1-4 Bradford PA; Chorley 0-0 Brackley; Curzon Ashton 0-3 Blyth; FC United of Manchester 2-1 Boston; Harrogate 3-0 Tamworth; Kidderminster 2-1 Alfreton; North Ferriby 1-1 Darlington; Nuneaton 4-0 Leamington; Southport 1-1 York City; Spennymoor 1-1 Salford; Stockport 1-0 Gainsborough

League Table (Top):

1. Harrogate 6 – 16 (+13)
2. Brackley 6 – 16 (+11)
3. Spennymoor 6 – 15 (+7)
4. Southport 6 – 14 (+7)
5. Salford 6 – 12 (+4)
6. YORK CITY 6 – 11 (+7)
7. Darlington 6 – 11 (+5)