York City 4-3 Nuneaton Town
Boro fight-back but just miss out on any points reward...
YORK City survived a late fight back from Nuneaton Town as Ashley Chambers scored a brace in a 4-3 loss for the Boro'. Jordan Nicholson, who captained the side, added the third as Nuneaton came close to stealing a point at Bootham Crescent. Michael Rankine and Simon Heslop both scored twice for hosts as they won at home for the first time this season.
Rankine got the Minstermen off to a flyer, heading home from close range inside the first minute following a teasing cross from Newton. Things could have gotten much worse but for Courtney Wildin's timely challenge on Amari Morgan-Smith, as the forward almost latched on to a cross from the left.
Rankine proved a handful early on as York constantly targeted the robust number nine, Jon Ashton picked up an injury battling against him, with a brave header in the 10th minute, eventually having to be replaced by Brad Gascoigne later in the half.
Nuneaton were denied a penalty in the 13th minute as Chambers was bundled over in the area by Jassem Sukar. Tom Elliott, making his first appearance of the season, found Chambers with a ball out to the left flank. The pacy forward turned inside Sukar and surged in to the box before the centre-half clumsily leaned into him and forced him over in the box. Billy Daniels saw his shot from outside the area blocked after he was found in space at the end of a good passing move.
Tyrell Belford, returning in goal, had to tip a Morgan-Smith header over the bar, and was in action again as he came through a crowd to punch away the ensuing corner. The ball fell kindly Heslop on the edge of the area and he unleashed a thunderous volley that Belford could do nothing about, to put York two ahead in the 23rd minute.
Louis Almond whipped a cross in from the left, just moments later, that Rankine almost reached but flashed harmlessly across the face of the Boro' goal. Morgan-Smith had a chance from another dangerous ball from the left wing, but he couldn't collect the ball and saw it bounce off his chest and behind for a goal kick.
After a long spell of pressure from the hosts it was Nuneaton's turn to create a few openings. Elliott's cross was just a little too tall for Chambers as he found space at the near post. Brady Hickey went close as he latched on to a risky back-pass, but Jon Worsnop was out quickly to deny him in a full-blooded 50-50 challenge. Although the Boro were starting to find a footing in the match York were still a threat and reminded Nuneaton as such when Almond's clever flick released Morgan-Smith, Niall Heaton got back well to block his effort and keep him off the scoresheet.
With half-time looming Nicholson had a couple of chances as he linked up well with Elliott, firstly he turned inside his man only to be denied by Worsnop, before seeing his next effort blocked by a despairing lunge. York, however, were good value for their lead and went in at the break 2-0 ahead.
Just six minutes in to the second half, there was a severe case of deja-vu for the Boro defence. Heslop was quickest to a loose ball, collecting a defensive header from a corner and smashing in off the left upright for his second and York's third. Belford could have done little about the three he had conceded and was well positioned to save from a Rankine header as York went in search of a fourth.
Once again Belford was forced in to action gathering a shot at his near post and distributing well to set Nicholson away. The Peterborough loanee took the ball around Worsnop in the Minstermen's goal, but was forced to wide for a shot and wisely pulled the ball back for Ryan Beswick, but his effort was narrowly wide of the right post. Elliott then fed Billy Daniels on the edge of the box and his driven effort flashed narrowly wide as Worsnop dived, hopefully, to his right.
Nuneaton scored their first away goal of the season as Chambers was foolishly nudged over in the area by Worsnop. It looked a soft penalty but Chambers picked himself up to coolly convert from the spot, putting the Boro back in the game with a little over 20 minutes to play.
York quickly restored their three-goal cushion as Referee Steven Copeland awarded another controversial spot-kick, Gascoinge and Rankine tangled just inside the Nuneaton penalty area, with both going to ground in a heap. The powerful forward blasted his penalty home and in the 70th minute York looked home and dry with a 4-1 advantage.
Tommy Wright's side showed great character and their best attacking display of the season was rewarded with two more goals. Nicholson sent in a wicked cross from the left that Worsnop couldn't gather and Chambers reacted well to poke home at the near post. Just minutes later and Chambers turned provider for Nicholson, collecting substitute Callum Ball's flick-on and pulling back for Nicholson to shoot in to the bottom right corner of the goal.
The fight back was impressive and provides much hope for things to come from the Boro but ultimately fell short of helping Wright's men pick up their first point away from home this season.