Date: 19th August 2017 at 5:08pm
Written by: Vital York City

York City threatened to throw away a three-goal lead after Michael Rankine and Simon Heslop had already both scored twice against Nuneaton Town at Bootham Crescent.

The Minstermen appeared totally in charge when Rankine, inside the opening minute of the game, and Heslop, courtesy of a brilliant volley, struck ahead of the break.

Heslop then added another early in the second period before former City striker Ashley Chambers and Rankine rapidly exchanged penalties; while Chambers and Jordan Nicholson netted again for the visitors as their opponents proceeded to collapse late on.

Defender Jassem Sukar was earlier handed a debut in place of the suspended Hamza Bencherif in an otherwise unchanged starting eleven and on another blustery afternoon.

His colleagues enjoyed the perfect start with Sean Newton’s cross immediately being headed in by Rankine within the opening forty seconds for his first goal since returning to the club in the summer

Returning Wembley hero Chambers then chased beyond Sukar and went down under his subsequent challenge inside the opposite area, but no favourable decision was forthcoming.

Amari Morgan-Smith’s headed reply from Louis Almond’s cross was next turned over by goalkeeper Tyrell Belford, who was though left completely helpless as York-born midfielder Heslop superbly volleyed in from the edge of the box following Newton’s corner.

Striker Rankine was soon inches away from converting another Almond delivery before Heslop’s weak back-pass suddenly placed keeper Jon Worsnop under pressure. His rushed clearance struck Brady Hickey and fortunately deflected wide.

Boro skipper Nicholson later fired tamely at Worsnop before then having another effort charged down, while experienced defender Jon Ashton headed over from a corner – until having to be replaced with an apparent neck injury.

The visitors were certainly having their best spell ahead of the interval and substitute Brad Gascogine couldn’t manage to direct his header on target from a Ryan Beswick free-kick.

York were playing against the wind and towards the deserted away end upon the restart – and Rankine had a shot deflected behind from the edge of the area. But Heslop then drove through a crowded box from the resultant corner to further increase the lead.

Almond soon had an angled strike deflected wide before Rankine headed Newton’s cross straight at Belford, while debutant Sukar cleverly turned his marker at a short corner but again could only find the keeper. Beswick also missed the target amid defensive uncertainty at the other end.

The hosts introduced Aidan Connolly at the expense of Adriano Moke with over an hour completed, but it was midfielder Tom Elliott going close from distance for the visitors.

Boro were then awarded a penalty when keeper Worsnop collided with former City striker Chambers, who duly converted from twelve-yards.

However, York were themselves presented with a spot-kick as Gascogine immediately pushed Rankine, who emphatically smashed down the middle.

Morgan-Smith in turn sliced wide and Almond wanted another penalty as the home side chased further reward; although it was their opponents suddenly reducing the deficit when keeper Worsnop badly mishandled Nicholson’s cross and Chambers easily tapped in his second.

The visitors even offered themselves late hope of a very unlikely point, Nicholson this time slotting in from an angle after Chambers supplied the pass with around sixty seconds remaining.

Two-goal Rankine rapidly headed over at the other end; that ahead of four minutes of added time being survived without any further incident.

York City: Worsnop, Law, Parslow, Sukar, Whittle, Heslop, Moke (Connolly 63), Newton, Almond (Smith 78), Rankine, Morgan-Smith

subs (unused): Felix, Muggleton, Wharton

Goals: Rankine (1, pen 69), Heslop (23, 52)

Nuneaton Town: Belford, L. Wildin, C. Wildin, Daniels, Ashton (Gascoigne 41), Heaton, Beswick, Elliott (Glover 78), Chambers, Hickey (Ball 78), Nicholson

subs (unused): Taylor, Henshall

Goals: Chambers (pen 67, 83), Nicholson (89)

Ref: S. Copeland

Att: 2,430 (101 Nuneaton)

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

League Table (Top):

1. Brackley 5 – 15 (+11)
2. Harrogate 5 – 13 (+10)
3. Southport 5 – 13 (+7)
4. Salford 5 – 12 (+5)
5. YORK CITY 5 – 10 (+7)
6. Darlington 5 – 10 (+5)
7. Spennymoor 4 – 9 (+3)