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John-Lewis fires York into playoff final

By Bradley Saxton | 14th May 2022
Match Result
Brackley Town Logo
Brackley Town
York City Logo
York City
St James Park, Brackley
Saturday 14th May - 15:00

York City are one game away from promotion back to the Vanarama National League after they saw off Brackley Town 1-0 in the playoff semi-final at St. James Park.

A Lenell John-Lewis goal and a penalty save from Peter Jameson were the highlights of the afternoon for the Minstermen as they book themselves a place in next weekend's National League North playoff final. 

After finishing the National League North season in 2nd place, Brackley came into this fixture boasting the league’s best defence, having only conceded 23 goals in 42 league games. 

Since beating the Minstermen back in early April, Kevin Wilkin’s side had gone into a patchy run of form, which saw them record only one win from their last six games ahead of kick-off.

Some could have said that City were playing Brackley at a good time, as the Minstermen came into this fixture full of confidence after seeing off Chorley on Wednesday evening in the National League North playoff eliminator. 

John Askey made only one change from the side that secured the win over Chorley on Wednesday evening. Top-scorer Clayton Donaldson returned to the starting eleven to feature out wide in the place of Jack McKay, who dropped to the substitutes bench.

A minute had passed and the home side had already gone close as they looked to break the deadlock at St. James Park. A long-throw into the area was flicked across goal towards Shep Murombedzi, who fired narrowly over the bar from the edge of the area on the volley.

Lee Ndlovu went close again for the home side minutes later as he had an effort cleared away by defender Maxim Kouogun, before his rebounded effort was lifted over the head of goalkeeper Peter Jameson and went wide of his right-hand post.

City’s first chance of the afternoon fell to Maziar Kouhyar who had an effort from close-range cleared off the line by a Brackley player after a well worked short corner from the Minstermen, before striker John-Lewis rose highest to meet a cross into the area from Scott Barrow moments later and his header was kept out by a brilliant diving save by Brackley keeper Danny Lewis.

Barrow tried his luck from distance for City but he saw a fierce left-footed strike fly well over the bar, before Matt Lowe went close for the home side as he turned Kouogun on the edge of the area, but he fired well over the crossbar from close-range.

The deadlock was broken with a minute to go before half time as John-Lewis prodded the ball home from close-range. After good work down the right by Donaldson, he squared the ball inside to Mitch Hancox in the penalty area, he played through John-Lewis and his initial effort was kept out by Lewis, but the forward was on hand to fire the rebound into the back of the net to hand City the lead with his fifth goal in six games.

The home side went straight down the other end and they were given an immediate chance to find a way back into the game as they were given a penalty by referee Richie Watkins, after Kouogun had appeared to foul Lowe in the penalty area. Armson stepped up from twelve yards and went to his left, but Jameson guessed the correct way and saved the spot kick to ensure City lead at the break.  

Jordan Richards was unable to capitalise on a loose ball in the York penalty area five minutes into the second-half as he sent an effort towards goal well over the bar after good work down the left-hand side, before Hancox fired well wide of goal on the volley for City as he looked to double the Minstermen’s lead.

Brackley continued to threaten as they looked for a way back into the game and captain Gareth Dean rose highest to meet a free-kick into the area, but the home side again couldn’t capitalise as he guided his header well over the bar and out of the ground on the hour-mark.

York continued to look for a second goal that would double their lead and they went close through substitute Kurt Willoughby. The forward was played through on goal by a good pass from Kouhyar, he turned Dean on the edge of the area and broke inside, but he was denied by Lewis as the Brackley goalkeeper as he got down well to deny the City attacker.

Jameson made another brilliant diving save inside the penalty area as he denied Lowe from levelling the game, before Lowe was denied moments later again by the outside of Jameson’s left-hand post, after a loose ball fell to the Brackley forward inside of the penalty area.

The home side were unable to find a way back into the game as the Minstermen secured victory in Northamptonshire to ensure their progression into next weekend’s final.

City book their place in the National League North playoff final and they will take on Boston United, who beat AFC Fylde in the other semi-final tie. 

The final is due to be played at the LNER Community Stadium next Saturday afternoon (3pm kick-off).


Brackley Town: Lewis (GK), Myles (York 74’), Dean, Cullinane-Liburd, Franklin (Gordon 69’), Walker, Murombedzi, Armson (Yusuf 87'), Richards, Lowe, Ndlovu

Unused Subs: Lopes, Mitford

Goals: N/A


York City: Jameson (GK), Dyson, Kouogun, Sanders, Barrow, Wright, Hancox (Brown 63’), McLaughlin (C), Kouhyar, John-Lewis (Willoughby 46’), Donaldson

Unused Subs: Whitley, Woods, McKay

Goals: John-Lewis (44’)


Attendance: 1,745 (600 away)

Referee: Richie Watkins


Match Statistics

Shots on Target: Brackley Town:  3  | York City:  4

Shots off Target: Brackley Town:  8  | York City:  3

Corners: Brackley Town: 11  | York City:  2

Offsides: Brackley Town:  0  | York City:  2

Fouls: Brackley Town:  14  | York City:  12

Yellow Cards: Brackley Town:  1   | York City:  0

Red Cards: Brackley Town:  0  | York City:  0

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