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City go nine unbeaten with Darlo win

By Toby Gray | 8th March 2022
Match Result
York City Logo
York City
Darlington Logo
LNER Community Stadium
Tuesday 8th Mar - 19:45

City showed their class as they blew Darlington away with three quick fire second half goals, handing Darlington their first defeat in six games, Askey’s men go eight unbeaten in all competitions, with a 3-1 win under the LNER lights.

The leagues form teams met at The LNER Community Stadium, looking to continue their respective unbeaten runs, with The Minstermen looking to make it eight unbeaten and get back to winning ways after a battling draw away at Hereford, whilst Darlington look to go above the hosts into the playoff places with a win.

Askey made two changes to the side that drew away at Hereford, with Hancox making his return into the starting XI, and Willoughby getting the nod over Jack McKay. Whilst the visitors had former Premier League player, David Wheater slotting straight into the Darlington defence.

A quick start from the visitors saw them dominate the early stages of the game, Dos Santos and Cassidy running the line well for Darlington. Dos Santos set his targets early on as he cut in from the left, firing a wild effort over the bar. Before teammate and former City man Cassidy used his strong frame well as he powered through City’s midfield, hitting a dipping effort from the edge of the box narrowly over the bar, Jameson may have been worried in the City goal, but a wakeup call for the home team.

On the quarter hour mark Greaves did well intercepting a Darlington break, giving the ball to Willoughby who cut in from the left hand side, and hit a curling effort which looked destined for the top corner, but found the top of the net instead. Fifteen minutes gone, both teams coming close from the edge of the area but the two sides have been solid at the back, making it difficult for any clear cut chances.

A wicked free-kick by the left foot of Barrow found John-Lewis at the back post, whose header back across goal was met by the on-rushing Olly Dyson, whose acrobatic effort went over the bar. He may be disappointed not to direct his effort on target but signs that York were growing into the game were clear.

A clever flick by John-Lewis sent Dyson through, the forward looked set to shoot, but instead opted to square the ball to Willboughy whose effort was blocked. York building.

Thirty minutes played and a few more half chances for both teams, notably from the lively Willoboughy, saw a relatively even game. A long ball forward from Wright would see the first clear cut chance of the half, as Wheater looked comfortable dealing with the areal threat, a mixture of persistent, pace and power, saw John-Lewis nudge the experienced defender to the  floor, as he raced through on goal, a half volley from an angle was repelled well by Taylor, which was Darlington’s keepers first bit of action in the game.

A swift break by the Minstermen saw Hancox and Willboughy exchange passes in the Darlington half, a clever cut back by Willoboughy saw him pick out Hancox inside the area, though Taylor quick of his line did well to block the City players left footed effort. On his current form you wouldn’t be blamed for thinking the net would ripple when Hancox picked up the ball in the away sides area.

That saw the end of the action in the first half, with Greaves making way for captain Matty Brown half way through the half, an injury he picked up with a tough challenge on Hatfield. An intriguing half which saw both teams dominate at certain stages, York grew as the half went on, creating the better chances, but a fair result at the half way point.

A slow start to the second half saw little quality from either team, but a freekick from the half way line looked a good opportunity for City to take advantage, and another knock down by John-Lewis fell just short of Hancox in the six yard box. A mix up at back from York saw Rivers pick the ball up in a dangerous position, he looked to set Cassidy away who would have been clear on goal, but Brown stood tall to block the attempted pass. A scrappy affair.

An efficient break away saw Thompson fly down the right hand side for the visitors, a precise ball across the goal which Dos Santos met at speed, looked like the opening goal for the visitors but Duckworth made a vital challenge to deny the forward inside the six yard box, and divert the shot out for a corner. From the resulting corner York broke away, with no end product but the pace of the game beginning to pick up and both sets off fans were growing in noise, thirty minutes remain.

At the hour mark Darlington began to look extremely dangerous when they got the ball into Yorks half, Rivers used his pace well to get beyond Kouogon on Yorks left hand side, before teeing up Cassidy whose shot hit the top of the bar from the edge of the area. The Visitors getting closer. The home side brought on Clayton Donaldson to change the direction of the game, replacing John-Lewis.

City took the lead with twenty minutes go when Willoughby tied the Darlington defenders in knots on the left hand side, before an excellent cross found its way past everyone and into the far corner, sending the fans behind the goal into raptures.

The LNER had barely stopped celebrating the first goal, when Hancox, who looked offside, bared through on goal, with the Darlington players awaiting a flag that would never come, the midfielder on his trusted left foot found himself one on one with Taylor, Hancox calmy placed the ball into the bottom corner. Hancox brewing with confidence, beat the offside trap expertly, and out of nowhere, York led 2-0.

A hopeful ball into the box found Donaldson and Wheater battling for the ball, with the former pulling down the City man, which the referee adjourned to be a penalty. Donaldson stepped up, with the chance to seal the points, which he did with a precision penalty into the bottom corner. Taylor went the right way but the penalty was to far in the corner for him to stop.

With the last kick of the game York lost their hard earned clean sheet as Thompson, who was a bright spark for the visitors, smashed in from close range, giving the visitors a consolation.

A battling performance from York, who for spells, found no way through the Darlington back line, but three quick fire goals blew the away side away. York showed their class, Darlington had no answer to City who make it nine unbeaten and further shows the improvement under Askey.

A night which the LNER Community Stadium was built for, a night that promised so much, delivered. City going along nicely, and a timely break from league action as they travel to the capital for a massive cup tie against Dagenham and Redbridge on Saturday.


York City: Jameson, Duckworth, Barrow, McLaughlin, Dyson, Willoughby, Greaves (Brown 30), Kouogun, Wright, Hancox, John-Lewis (Donaldson 66).

Subs not used: Woods, Campbell, McKay.


Darlington: Taylor, Hedley, Hatfield, Rivers, Cassidy, Dos Santos (O’Neill 81), Lawlor, Purver (Wheatley 83), Griffiths, Thompson, Wheater (Ellis 84).

Subs not used: Smith, Storey.


Referee: Dane McCarrick

Attendance: 3,579 (616 away)

Waitrose Man of the Match: Akil Wright

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