Date: 9th September 2017 at 5:00pm
Written by: Vital York City

York City moved into fifth place in the table with an entertaining 2-0 triumph against Stockport County at Bootham Crescent.

Recalled midfielder Simon Heslop gave them an early lead that was improved by former County marksman Amari Morgan-Smith inside the opening half-hour.

The return of Heslop after completing a one-game suspension was the only change from the side that had won 4-2 at Spennymoor Town in midweek – defender Jassem Sukar switching onto the bench.

The Minstermen wore black armbands in tribute to former player David Longhurst, who tragically collapsed and died during a home fixture against Lincoln City twenty-seven years ago.

Sean Newton delivered an early free-kick which Jon Parkin briefly threatened to take advantage of before Louis Almond’s 25-yard drive was taken at the second attempt by keeper Ben Hinchcliffe.

Morgan-Smith then dragged an opportunity across the face of goal while Parkin was only just denied a point-blank header by Michael Clarke from Newton’s cross.

But York went ahead on seventeen minutes, Newton’s long throw being helped on by a defender and stabbed in by the recalled Heslop for his third goal of the season. He immediately raced towards manager Gary Mills and was completely engulfed by his team-mates.

Skipper Newton struck a 25-yard free-kick wide but a second goal soon followed with Morgan-Smith curling brilliantly into the top corner following more decent work from Heslop.

Appropriately there was an immediate minute’s applause in memory of another popular striker, the always fondly recalled Longhurst, while the visitors suffered a further blow with defender Clarke being stretchered off.

Home striker Almond next had a shot claimed by Hinchcliffe, although County suddenly had an effort disallowed following Parkin’s sliced clearance eventually being diverted into his own net by Hamza Bencherif.

And York went straight up to the other end with Morgan-Smith left one-on-one, but Hinchcliffe crucially saved and also collected Newton’s effort from distance.

The visitors’ reply from early substitute Dan Cowan was too high before Newton dragged narrowly wide at the other end – and ahead of a deserved standing ovation at the break.

Stockport began the second period well in terms of possession and Sam Warburton called Jon Worsnop into early action before leading scorer Jason Oswell struck wide.

Former County player Newton curled another free-kick behind in now increasingly heavy rain, while Warburton’s reply was directly at Worsnop – who later dangerously cleared straight towards an opponent.

But Worsnop – revealed as having suffered a dislocated finger – then saved at point-blank range from Warburton, who was though flagged offside, and also collected from Ball as the visitors were responding particularly well.

Morgan-Smith turned wide an Almond cross at the other end while the latter’s next effort lacked sufficient force on its way through to the keeper.

The hosts made a double-change with thirteen minutes remaining, Michael Rankine and Kaine Felix being introduced for forward pair Parkin and Almond.

However, County kept pressing onwards and there were a couple of narrow escapes with the ball flashing invitingly across the home area, until left-back Alex Whittle’s deflected attempt was tipped over by Hinchcliffe.

Substitute Felix also had a weak shot saved before later being dragged back on the edge of the area, while the final visitors’ attack was initially scrambled clear ahead of Sam Walker driving at Worsnop.

York City: Worsnop, Law, Parslow, Bencherif, Whittle, Wharton, Heslop, Newton, Almond (Felix 77), Parkin (Rankine 77), Morgan-Smith

subs (unused): Muggleton, Smith, Sukar

Goals: Heslop (17), Morgan-Smith (28)

Stockport County: Hinchliffe, Minihan (Cowan 25), Duxbury, Ball (Thomas 76), Clarke (Smalley 30), O’Halloran, Stephenson, Winter, Oswell, Warburton, Walker

subs (unused): Hampson, Smith

Ref: D. Underwood

Att: 3,011 (770 Stockport)

Weekend Results: AFC Telford 1-5 Harrogate; Alfreton 4-1 Gainsborough; Blyth 5-2 Boston; Bradford PA 1-1 Nuneaton; Curzon Ashton 1-0 FC United of Manchester; Darlington 0-0 Leamington; North Ferriby 0-2 Chorley; Salford 2-0 Brackley; Southport 0-3 Kidderminster; Tamworth 3-1 Spennymoor; York City 2-0 Stockport

League Table (Top):

1. Harrogate 10 – 23 (+18)
2. Salford 10 – 23 (+9)
3. Brackley 10 – 21 (+11)
4. Blyth 10 – 18 (+6)
5. YORK CITY 10 – 17 (+7)
6. Tamworth 10 – 17 (+3)
7. Southport 10 – 17 (-1)