A season of downs and ups in a new ground and a glorious end to a season in which we just stumbled over the finishing line

2021/2 Season Preview


2021/2 sees City start a 5th successive season in National League North. In our entire history, the quickest we've been promoted after relegation is 5 seasons, so that must give us hope. The squad gives further hope. Despite a big summer clear out and talk of a reduced budget, we go into the new season with 24 professionals, just one less than we started last season. With Kurt Willougby, Clayton Donaldson, Jason Gilchrist and Mark Beck, we have an array of proven goalscorers, they provide different options up front will hopefully address last season's biggest bugbear, the lack of goals. If recent seasons are anything to go by, Steve Watson's biggest challenge might be how to fit all 4 into a side in which he previously favoured a lone central striker.

Behind them, if Olly Dyson and newcomer Mackenzie Heaney can show their pedigree, we could be in for exciting times.

At City's level, most (if not all) the team will be on one year contracts which greatly restricts our ability to sell them on for big fees. Many were surprised when Reon Potts was offered a pre season trial, he'd failed to impress in limited opportunities last season and with the newcomers it seems difficult to know where he’ll fit in. That conundrum was solved when he and Archie Whitfield joined Northern Premier League side Ossett United on loan until January, as did Ryan Whitley at Scarborough. Hopefully all 3 will get several months of "men's football" and return ready to fight for a first team place at City. Some felt Ryan Whitley's assured pre season performances put him ahead of Peter Jameson. Once again, it is a challenge for any youngster to make the grade with no reserve team football.

Defence looks fairly sorted, maybe slightly lacking in numbers whilst the true test of our midfield will be when the "real stuff" starts and the tackles are flying in.

Monks Cross, The LNER Community Stadium, to be more precise was still a big unknown. Despite an 1,100 open day attendance and 3 sold out 2,000 capacity friendlies, the season started with a capped (2,128) capacity. Those figures exceed the test events (both in terms of events and people) that CoYC had announced in early 2020 for the pre covid test events. Quite how York City Knight had been playing in front of fans since June 6th yet the Council couldn't grant a full certificate remained a mystery. Meanwhile, The Supporters Club arranged Huntington WMC as a pre match watering hole whilst City sold over 700 hospitality packages for the 3 pre season friendlies but given the CoYC / covid restrictions, there was no beer in the fanzone for the first game, surely an own goal.

Off The Pitch. Season ticket sales were robust. Announced at short notice (and with no early bird discount) on Monday June 28 City were delighted to confirm that over 850 season tickets had been sold in the first week (w/c June 21), it meant that 71% of the previous total (2019/20) had already been achieved. On July 29, City announced, "as of today, the club has sold over 1,200 season tickets for the upcoming season which is more than our previous total with over 2 weeks to go until the start of the season", although a caption accompanying article stated 1,180. On August 11, City announced over 1,300 season tickets sold (the August 14 programme (page 9)) noted "up from 1,150 in 2019/20" and the August 28 matchday programme (page 9) noted "over 1,350 season ticket sales".

The big hopes must be that the season is played to completion without disruption, Monks Cross is positively embraced and we finish the season promoted.

2021/2 Season Review

City won promotion via the play offs after a mixed season. It was a season of 2, if not 3 halves, split between 2 managers, with John Askey's spell being further split into 2 halves.

Once again, a strong Steve Watson squad failed to deliver. When John Askey came in, his side were slow to respond, but a 6 game winning run in February / March saw the play offs become a realistic prospect.

Finishing the season in 5th place, City overcame 6th placed Chorley by 2-1 at the LNER before travelling to play 2nd placed Brackley, who’d finished 21 points above City. A Lennell John–Lewis goal gave City a deserved win and an unexpected home final against Boston, they’d finished 7th but had won away games at Kidderminster (4th) and AFC Fylde (3rd) to reach the final. An early Lennell John-Lewis goal settled City’s nerves and a Maziar Kouhyar goal on 86 minutes put an end to any late nerves. In reality, City had had the better of all 3 play off games, controlling most of each game and rarely having to put in any sustained back to the walls defending.

City had started the season in good spirits with impressive pre season wins against Newcastle and Middlesbrough. In returnee Clayton Donaldson and fellow new signings Kurt Willoughby, Jason Gilchrist and loanee Mark Beck we had 4 proven strikers offering different options. Fears that a supposedly reduced budget would mean less quality (and quantity) appeared unfounded. Spirits were high. Despite reservations about the high ticket prices and out of town location, season ticket sales soared above 1,350, on par or better than most recent seasons. Reality soon hit home as the crisp pre season pass and go football didn't work nearly as well when the tackles started to fly. Gloucester was an abject display as City went down 4-0, even in August, Steve Watson was bemoaning the fact that his players seemed incapable of taking the week's training and tactics into games. After August's 2-1 home defeat to Brackley, according to Watson, the players didn't do what he asked in the second half, from being well on top, they sat back and let Brackley score 2 late goals. However, I don't recall the words,"he's lost the dressing room" being mentioned. It wasn't until, the next match, game 4 when City won 3-1 at Spennymoor to record their first points of the season. City weren't helped by an early season injury crisis which saw Scott Barrow (3 months), Sean Newton (2 months) and Michael Duckworth (2 months) all out, even Josh King who many tipped to be a starter missed games through injury, covid and then the betting scandal. Just like Liverpool's defensive crisis a season earlier, City resorted by moving midfielders into defence, often round pegs in square holes as the pack was shuffled game by game with 2 areas of the pitch being weakened. The betting scandal surfaced in October 2021 and saw 3 players and assistant manager Micky Cummins suspended for illegal betting activity.

Off the field, City were finally installed in at the LNER Community Stadium. Teething problems abounded but gradually they were overcome and fans took to the new stadium, in ground facilities a massive improvement on Bootham Crescent even if the food and drink were expensive. A 2,000 capacity became 4,000 in early September before a certificate for the full ground capacity was obtained in early November. News on the delays and timelines was scarce and comms hit a new low in October after City directors were invited onto a Radio York phone in (October 22, 2021) and the subsequent lack of movement on the proposed Supporter Advisory Group, that interview being a response to Supporters Trust EGM (16th September 2021, Burton Stone Lane WMC) when the motion, "We move that the Supporter's Trust board makes a public declaration of no confidence in the boards of York City Football Club Ltd and its subsidiary companies" was passed by a majority of 282 (91.3%) and against just 27 in a turnout of 29.42%. Reports put the attendance on the night at around 50. It easily passed the two-thirds majority required to give formal instruction to the Trust board. For the record, at the time, Trust membership was 1,050 which is roughly consistent with previous SGMs held in 2018 and 2006. A day earlier (TOOAB 15/Sep/2021) noted The Trust was currently made up of 1,045 members, 150 of whom joined since the announcement of the SGM on August 31. After July 1st 2021, 451 members had joined (or renewed) on an annual basis, adding to 594 life members. On June 7th, 2021, annual membership was cut to £1 (from £10). Read More.

Whilst performances rarely inspired, City remained tantalisingly close to the play off places, the mantra "if we win our next 2 games we're in the play off places" endured as those 2 consecutive wins remained elusive. Even as early as September, City were hit by coronavirus concerns. City had players missing with the virus whilst the game against Hereford (September 11) was postponed late on Friday night "due to a potential Covid 19 incident at Hereford FC". That didn't stop their Under 19 game going from going ahead. It transpired that one player had provided a positive lateral flow test and 3 more showed covid symptoms on the day before the game. By Monday, all 4 had provided negative PCR tests. By the time of the re-arranged game, 17 days later, Hereford's threadbare and injury ravaged squad that was devoid of centre backs was boosted by at least 3 new signings (centre backs Levi Andoh and Krystian Pearce plus striker Ollie Hulbert). It was another insipid City performance as The Bulls won 1-0. Come November, Steve Watson's reign came to an unexpected end, certainly, there was no clamour for his sacking that has been seen over recent years. An abject (note to self, how many abject defeats did we have?) midweek defeat at Leamington was followed by a 0-0 draw at Curzon 4 days later. After Leamington, Steve Watson felt compelled to come out and speak to some City fans that were still milling around, some thought Steve Watson sounded like a broken man. At Curzon Ashton, as Jason Gilchrist was warming up, he and Watson took some vitriolic verbal abuse from a few "City fans" (in quotes because they appeared not to be regulars). At the final whistle, there was scuffling between some fans of both clubs. In the wake of the earlier Radio York interview, the atmosphere was acrid. That evening, Watson stepped down by mutual consent, just 5 days after he'd been named NLN manager of the month for October. In a statement, City said "We can confirm that Steve Watson has left York City Football Club with immediate effect. After the game today there has been a conversation with Steve and we have mutually agreed that it hasn't worked out as anticipated and therefore, we need to part company. Assistant-manager Micky Cummins will also leave the football club with immediate effect. John Askey has been appointed interim manager until the end of the season. The Board feels that this outcome will give the club the best possible opportunity of achieving promotion this season. We would like to thank Steve and Micky for their contribution to the club and we wish them both well for the future". Read More. Watson became the fourth out of last five City managers to be dismissed after failing to beat Curzon. Fortunately for City, days earlier, Watson had brought John Askey into the club to cover for the suspended Cummins. Watson had been Askey's assistant manager at Macclesfield in 2017 when they played City in the FA Trophy Final.

The change of regime once again ignited talk of players being unfit. Surely it can't be a case that each incoming new manager complains about squad fitness and later leaves us with an unfit squad. To some extent, I'm always inclined to think its also down to morale in a failing side rather than physical fitness and other factors, possibly including outside pressure and expectations. However, there were insider reports that Watson tended to focus training sessions on tactics rather than fitness and that he relied on the players themselves to maintain their own physical condition. That said, in March 2022, John Askey expressed similar thoughts to YCS of a lack of fitness. Meanwhile, in December, Peter Jameson had noted that "gaffer (Askey) has brought in an analyst and we do more video work on a Friday". The subject of an extensive injury list in Watson's last season is another matter.

Askey's arrival saw City experience another "dead cat" (not sure we should use such terminology in the wake of Kurt Zouma) splat rather than a "new manager" bounce as results initially failed to improve, the defeat at Gateshead in early December being a first nadir. You have to go back to Colin Walker for the last time City enjoyed a proper "new manager" bounce. Does the root of the problem lie elsewhere? Discuss. The early weeks of the Askey era were littered with comments that the squad was lacking in depth and he had no one to bring off the bench to change the course of the game whilst the youngsters weren't ready for NLN football. Certainly, the younger players did themselves no favours when going out of the North Riding Senior Cup at the first attempt at Whitby in January. Shortly afterwards, 3 youngsters who'd shown glimpses of early season promise were allowed to leave. First, Mackenzie Heaney joined Buxton on a season long loan and a day later, Harrison Hopper and Sam Fielding joined Bradford PA on free transfers, all had had very little game time under Askey. A day after leaving, Fielding was selected for the NLN Team Of The Day. Quite how Askey's ongoing comments regarding squad quality and depth and his desire to bring in 3 or 4 new players affected squad morale is unknown. Meanwhile, despite promising a multitude of new signings, they were slow to come onboard. Askey seemed keen to trust his favoured starters and reluctant to use his squad players. Equally, the Josh King situation attracted attention. Having been deemed surplus to requirements, he was loaned out to Tadcaster on Thursday December 9, the loan was terminated a day later and he found himself on the bench the following day and on the pitch before half time after Matty Brown was sent off. He gave a composed performance and played well a week later before breaking his leg in training. One youngster, who when given game time, had more than held his own. Askey noted on King's loan move termination, "the journey was too far, he didn't fancy it", believed to be more around travelling to and from Tadcaster's evening training sessions by himself from the north east rather than the York to Tadcaster bit or travelling from the north east daily with his City teammates for City training.

The season’s second nadir occurred on January 25 when City crashed 3 -0 at home to lowly Bradford PA. After the game, Jason McGill issued an apology saying that the "loyal fanbase ... deserve better". Read More. 4 days later, there were green shoots of recovery as City held champions elect Gateshead to a 1-1 home draw. Then followed a 6 game winning run that saw the play offs come within sight. When he spoke to York City South, Askey emphasised increased fitness and better organisation as being behind City’s improvement, elsewhere, many suggested that the departure of Sean Newton had united the team. He’d been heavily abused on social media after the Bradford PA game (both for his performance and also for disappearing straight down the tunnel at the final whistle, unlike his teammates who acknowledged the crowd) and wasn’t in the right frame of mind to play in the next game. A City career ending loan move to Buxton was quickly arranged. Shortly afterwards, director Richard Adams (matchday programme on February 12th, 2022) noted "a young player who came on loan to City earlier in the season said he found it toxic playing for the club" and he went onto say "this does not help the manager when he is trying to strengthen the squad". Social media reports at the time of his loan attributed such comments to Adam Senior.

Along the way, there was the distraction of an FA Trophy run to the semi final, coach transport to the away games at Dagenham and Bromley being heavily subsidised by the chairman at £15 and some poor performances, notably when City were outmuscled at Alfreton (City seemed frightened of the long throws and physicality of the home team, especially Matt Rhead. Our defence resorted to bear hugs with Max Kouogun having both arms around his marker at times. Given the height and experience of our defence it was a very disappointing performance).

Askey admitted the side couldn’t always cope with the physicality’s of this division. At times, he blamed the quality of away pitches (including Kettering and Alfreton) when compared to the bowling green conditions at home. Unfortunately bowling green conditions didn’t always help at home as we often struggled to break down opponents who were content to sit back and defend in numbers.

City clinched a play off spot with a win over AFC Fylde in the penultimate game of the season and moved into fifth place (and a home game in the first play off game) with a draw at AFC Telford on the last day of the season.

The play offs brought unnecessary attention on City. The Chorley game, attended by a ground record of 6,394, witnessed chaotic scenes at the end of the play; fans invaded the pitch near the end when the referee blew for a free kick and shortly afterwards, the final whistle saw another pitch invasion when many City fans sought to antagonise the Chorley fans rather than celebrate victory. Flares were thrown by both sets of fans and a number of seats were damaged in the South Stand. Semi final success followed at Brackley.

For the final, the crowd was capped at 7,500 due to the trouble at the Chorley game. Ticketing chaos ensued. With season ticket holders being allowed 2 tickets per season ticket, inevitably many would be unable to sit in their usual seat. In total, they snapped up around 2,500 seats, so most must have bought 2 tickets. When sales opened to the general public a day later at 5pm, there were long queues at the ground and the online system was equally busy. All tickets were sold in under 80 minutes, some complained about the unfairness of the process, so not much has changed since the mid 1980s.

The final saw further celebratory pitch invasions before and at the final whistle. Both home play off games witnessed the throwing of flares. For the writer, it had been a pleasure to witness the scenes of mutual appreciation and admiration between City’s supporters and players after the games at Dagenham, Bromley and Brackley. Players making a beeline to the City end to celebrate with the jubiliant away support. Far better than some of the post-Chorley chaos when City’s supporters were unable to properly congratulate the team at the final whistle. Equally, the celebrations after the final lost their immediacy with the pitch invasion delaying proceedings followed by a long drawn out trophy presentation and lap of honour. Unlike recent events elsewhere, there were no reports of members of the opposing team being attacked, although in the case of Jake Wright and Paul Cox, some City fans might have been sorely tempted. That said, Boston were very gracious in defeat, firstly applauding their own fans and then staying on the pitch throughout the trophy presentation ceremony. Read More.

Shout outs to Peter Jameson (player of the season with 19 clean sheets), Clayton Donaldson, The Keith Walwyn Memorial Golden Boot winner 2021/2 (14 goals (and 9 assists)), Olly Dyson with most assists (9) and Akil Wright most man of the match (5) performances.

As City supporters and club came together, City’s performances improved. Whilst City might be massive in National League North, it’ll take another big step forward to be massive next season when up against the established former Football League sides, the likes of Wrexham, Notts County, Chesterfield and Halifax included.

As ever, City lost some notable supporters and ex players during the season including Neil Campbell, Ian Davidson, David Dunmore, Craig Farrell, Margo Fenton, Harry Gration MBE (24/June/2022) Barry Jackson, John Lacy (13/Feb/2022), Peter Lorimer, Billy McEwan (17/Feb/2022), Rob McGill, Don Nixon (27/Mar/2022), Alf Patrick (just weeks after his 100th birthday), Gary Pearson (30/Jun/2022), Sheila Quinn (07/Jan/2022), Tricia Westland, Tony "Twilfox" Wilcock and Alan Woods.

It was a glorious end to a season in which we just stumbled over the finishing line. Thanks to Andy Naylor, a few stats about City’s 8th promotion season (only the 3rd successful one via play-offs in eight attempts) when compared to our earlier promotion seasons:

  • 5th was the lowest league position ever in a promotion season (the others were all 3rd or 4th apart from Div. 4 Champions in 1983-4)
  • 52% of available league points taken was the lowest ever (previous lowest was 60% in 1992-3)
  • 58 league goals scored was the lowest ever (previous lowest was 67 in 1973-4)
  • +8 was lowest goal difference (previous lowest was +21 in 1958-9)
  • Lowest league top scorer ever, Clayton Donaldson and Mitch Hancox 8 a piece (previous lowest was Peter Wragg 14 in 1958/9)

In short:

  • Generally, City's away support was down on recent years, decide for yourself whether it was down to on or off field concerns. No doubt, Bradford PA will rue the late postponement of our Boxing Day game. "Adverse weather" saw the pitch covered in snow (no more than 2 inches) and although video footage appeared to show all parts of the ground to be visible, "heavy fog" was reported in the area. Apparently, given the plastic pellets on the 3/4G pitch, sweeping the snow off the pitch was not an option as the pellets would be swept away as well. Not sure what happened to orange balls and playing on snow? However, the expected bumper crowd became just 866 (even then, City supporters outnumbered BPA fans) on a cold February Wednesday night. Although making true comparisons is difficult, City's support at Guiseley (591) was around half of some recent years whilst the Spennymoor August Bank Holiday game saw a small City travelling support.
  • Weeks later (February 19), City's game at Kettering also fell victim to a late postponement, the heavily waterlogged being pitch given to the last minute in the hope of it being passed fit to welcome a large City supporter base, rather than the much reduced numbers who'd attend a re-arranged mid week fixture.

  • The play offs netted City extra unexpected revenue, but as it shared equally by the participants, City's share might be less than £100,000 (presumably at the least the 50+ policemen in attendance for the final will be classed as a match expense so their heavy cost is not directly bourne by City). In the FA Trophy, City netted £32,000 (£3,750 + £4,500 + £5,250 + £6,000 + £7,500 + £5,000) in prize money from their 6 games, it would have been an extra £10,000 with a win at Bromley with a further £60,000 or £30,000 from a Wembley appearance. City bowed out of the FA Cup with £18,375 (£3,375 + £5,625 + £9,375) in prize money but lost out on a further £22,629 when losing to Buxton.
  • For the record, City won 7-6 on penalties at Dagenham. Akil Wright scored the decisive 7th penalty. Mitch Hancox and Remy Longden missed their spot kicks and Michael Duckworth was the only outfield player not to take a kick. The shoot out came about after Yoan Zouma handled in the 96th minute. We were within a "whisker" of being knocked out but his cat-astrophic moment saved the day.

  • City started a trend for Interim Managers, quickly followed by Manchester United and Ralf Rangnick. Askey turned City’s fortunes around, something Rangnick couldn’t do. For me, that makes John Askey Interim Manager Of The Season.
  • John Askey was voted Vanarama National League North Manager Of The Month for February, Steve Watson won the award for October, the first time 2 different City managers had won the award in a season.
  • As City's poor early season form continued, there was renewed debate over the merits of full time v part time players. This writer feels full time is the way forward, the trend towards more full time teams continues elsewhere in non league football. Others noted that part time means limited amounts of time for training sessions, some players coming in late from a day's work and others leaving early to be home at a reasonable time for work the next day, allowing only enough time to keep the players ticking over, no chance for double sessions and little time for tactical work or analysis of upcoming opposition. In City's case, the player talent pool might be largely based over an hour away in West Yorkshire or the North East. Indeed after City had beaten AFC Telford in February, John Askey noted "(part time) AFC Telford not as well organised as City".
  • The date of the FA Trophy Final was originally provisionally announced for the weekend of May 21 / 22, the date was changed to 29th May before reverting to May 22nd, no doubt the changes reflected the possibility of City having both an FA Trophy Final and play off final on the weekend of May 21 / 22.
  • City celebrated their 100th birthday on May 6, 2022, celebrations seemed somewhat muted, but included Evensong at York Minster a day before the anniversary, the launch of a special anniversary kit with centenary badge and 2012 reunion evening at LNER. Read More. Shout out to Michael Miles' Y-Front and Sue Clayton for their excellent centenary art exhibition in Cliffe on May 28.
  • On the Radio York phone in (October 22, 2021), Dave Penney noted his role had change from “on the grass”, to general manager to oversee stadium move and general management of the club on a day to day basis. He went onto throw PR team under bus for not arranging team photo at first MX game. The phone in also acknowledged a GDPR breach where the club expected no follow up action and that the budget is set independently by 3rd party, an accountant, and underwritten by Jason McGill.
  • On January 27, 2022, City announced the extension of the club’s education with York College, effectively replacing i2i. It is understood that more opportunities will be available but that it will not include a new Under 23 (21) / reserve side, something that many club’s at City’s level run. Read More.
  • April 2022 saw confirmation of the sale of Bootham Crescent to Persimmon Homes and Jason McGill honouring his pledge not to claim the various accrued interest and other monies that were due to him leaving City with nett assets of over £4m. Read more on City's accounts. With the York City Supporters Trust having to give a formal acceptance to the sale there appeared to be a thawing of relations between Club and Trust and a renewed desire to work more closely, witness the reappearance of the flag displays at matches. Long may it continue By the end of the month, the bulldozers had moved into Bootham Crescent and within weeks the site was flattened just as City were winning the Play Off Final.
  • Anyone who saw Jason McGill celebrating at the final whistle of the final will realise his love for York City is undiminished.
  • Buxton's team which won promotion to National League North included Sean Newton, Jason Gilchrist and MacKenzie Heaney. Ryan Whitley was a regular in goal all season as Scarborough won the Northern Premier League play off final to earn promotion to NLN.
  • For 2021/2, Fanbanter puts City as the 8th best supported non league side with an average gate of 3,016. Outside National League, only Macclesfield (3,390) sit above City and Dulwich Hamlet (2,680) sit immediately beneath City and are the best supported NLS side. NLN champions Gateshead are ranked 50th with an average of 1,123. I assume gates refer to league games only, if so, I make City‘s average as 3,118.
  • For the 2022/3 season, City will receive more central funding than a regional club (remember the Covid funding split furore), that said, it is not a significant amount. City will have 4 extra league games with much more travelling and match expenses (with 12 opponents in the south east and 2 more in the south west). Conversely, City will enter the FA Cup 2 rounds later and later as well in the FA Trophy.
  • 2022/3 League Season: Start: August 6 2022, Finish: April 29 2023.


  • In the aftermath of the play off win over Boston, Jason McGill revealed that he spoke at length with City's playing squad and management staff before deciding to stay at the club for the 2022/3 campaign. He stated that he intends to remain in charge at York in their first season back in the National League. McGill told BBC Radio York: “(After) the euphoria of Saturday and (after) speaking to the players, who I invited to the director’s lounge in the (LNER Community) Stadium afterwards with the manager and the assistant, we all had a good chat. They said what they felt about the club and it was very humbling actually, from a lot of players and (about) what the manager has done and where they see him in the league of their managers and he’s at the top of their list of managers. From listening to them, it would be remiss of me not to stick with it for at least another season and see what happens. There needs to be some stability at the football club in terms of the finances. If we can get back to 4,000 (to) 4,500 people coming to the stadium, I think we could be a successful football club and be able to wash our face as a football club, if we’re getting crowds like that. That’s where I am, at the moment, unless someone with very, very deep pockets comes in and says ‘I think I can take this football club’ and they (can) use their financial resources to do that, then I’d listen. I don’t think that’s forthcoming at the moment, but we’ll see. I’m staying here for the moment.”
  • Sean Newton recalled the covid hit seasons with on the I Had Trials Once podcast in June 2024, especially his goal record, which never counted towards his career tally due to the null and voiding of the divisions. “The one where we came back from covid and it got cut short in November or December, I was on 14 goals. I don’t know what it was, maybe it was the pressure of having no fans and having the cardboard cutouts. I was scoring free-kicks and pens, I scored two free-kicks against Southport and two free-kicks against Kettering, a free-kick and a pen against someone else, a shot against Farsley. “In those two seasons, I think I scored 24 goals and we didn’t even finish two seasons. What’s horrible, because it was the covid year and the season ending in November, it didn’t count! I’d be on 100 career goals now, honestly it kills me. We played three at the back and at the time, it suited me to a tee.”

2022 Retained List

Writing before the retained list as announced, with most players on one year contracts, there is room for a much changed 2022/3 season squad. It can be expected that most players who have been with City for over a year will be out of contract, some players in their first season may have contracts whereby City have the option to invoke an extension. As it turned out, no contract extension clauses were invoked, meaning either no players had such a clause or the club thought that those that did have them were not worth invoking. I find it slightly strange that Peter Jameson and Akil Wright signed new one year contracts in summer 2021 and Maz Kouhyar a short term deal in March 2022, but none of those contracts appear to have any extension clauses that City could invoke.

If the retained list had been announced in January, it might have been much shorter than that announced in May.

With failings across most part of the outfield side (at times we were outmuscled in defence, outplayed in midfield and lacked a really prolific striker upfront), there is an argument that all areas need strengthening which might mean a big clear out.

With a proposed National League wage cap for the 2022/3 season, City’s promotion would allow an extra 50% to be added to budget compared to NLN levels, so it gives more hope of being able to retain some players who might otherwise have considered moving onwards and upwards. That said, with City needing at least 3,500 gates to breakeven, money will be tight.

Loanees Mitch Hancox, Lennell John-Lewis and Sam Sanders showed enough to warrant contract offers. In his brief spell, AJ Greaves added some presence and bite in midfield and if it can be channeled in the right way (and if he is fit after his broken leg), might also be worth consideration. The future of Askey’s first signings, Remy Longdon and Jack McKay failed to make the cut.

Given John Askey’s reluctance to use many of his squad players, it was unsurprising that nearly all of them were released. Once again, the younger players in the squad found very little game time.

Equally, given promotion and more (and tougher) games, City will need a strong and fit squad, that might have come into the manager’s mind when he considered the injury and fitness records of some players.

Its disappointing, so might even suggest negligent, that of all the players offered new contracts, it would appear that not one was on a contract whereby City could invoke an extension. Such invokation clauses cost City nothing but would allow the club to extend a contrart at their desire.

Final thought, last time we got promoted (2012), Gary Mills retained almost all his squad, within months we were struggling back in The Football League and there was a strong belief that the retained list had shown too much sentiment.

The Players

  1. Scott Barrow Started and ended the season with a long term injury. In between, a reliable performer at left wing back often linking up well with the attack. Offered a new contract as a duty of care (Apps: 36 Subs: 0 Goals: 0)
  2. Mark Beck Giant striker who weighed in with a few goals during his loan spell, but maybe wasn't what John Askey was wanting (Apps: 20 Subs: 5 Goals: 6)
  3. Matty Brown Steady defender but was a part of the woeful defence at Alfreton. Released, a decision that surprised a few (Apps: 37 Subs: 8 Goals: 3)
  4. Jaden Charles Early season loanee who filled in at left back during our defensive injury crisis (Apps: 4 Subs: 0 Goals: 0)
  5. Clayton Donaldson Top scorer who weighed in with some important goals. Even at 37 years, he was up for the fight and rarely missed a game. Very unlucky not to be offered a new contract, he spoke to John Askey at an event to celebrate City's centenary and was told he'd ring him the next day. The call came from Askey who felt Donaldson wouldn't cope with the step back up to National League. Understood to have picked up a £1,500 tab on behalf of the players on their Xmas night out in Newcastle (Apps: 31 Subs: 16 Goals: 14)
  6. Michael Duckworth Capable but injury prone, invited back for pre season training (Apps: 33 Subs: 0 Goals: 1)
  7. Olly Dyson Grew into the right wing back role, he was an asset and finished the season as top of the assets table. With a new contract offered, he should be a regular in National League (Apps: 45 Subs: 2 Goals: 2)
  8. Sam Fielding Fulfilled various defensive roles early season, but again not to John Askey's liking. Released to Bradford PA (Apps: 13 Subs: 1 Goals: 0)
  9. Jason Gilchrist Failed to score in 9 appearances, another striker who did better against City than for City. Joined Buxton after receiving woeful abuse from some City fans when warming up at Curzon Ashton in November (Apps: 3 Subs: 6 Goals: 0)
  10. AJ Greaves Combative central midfielder signed on loan from Doncaster. Broke his leg on his final City appearance. Some thought he was worthy of a contract offer (Apps: 4 Subs: 1 Goals: 0)
  11. Jonny Haase One brief early season appearance as a substitute. Maybe lucky to be offered a new contract (Apps: 0 Subs: 1 Goals: 0)
  12. Mitch Hancox Loan signing from Hereford, known to Watson and Hancock, he was a revelation on the left hand side of midfield. Offered a City contract (Apps: 35 Subs: 2 Goals: 11)
  13. Mackenzie Heaney Quickly struggled to maintain the pre season triallist form which earned him a contract and found himself loaned to Buxton after John Askey arrived. Released (Apps: 15 Subs: 5 Goals: 2)
  14. Harrison Hopper Triallist who earned a contract and displayed some midfield energy in early season games. Apparently not to John Askey's liking. Released to Bradford PA (Apps: 11 Subs: 5 Goals: 0)
  15. Peter Jameson Performed with distinction and was a worthy Player Of The Season winner. Turned down a new contract in favour of Harrogate, will be sorely missed. (Apps: 56 Subs: 0 Goals: 0)
  16. Will Jarvis Hull loanee who struggled in his month with City and went onto play for Scarborough Athletic (Apps: 1 Subs: 1 Goals: 0)
  17. Lennell John-Lewis Hard working loan signing from Grimsby who took time to find his goal scoring boots before showing his value in the play offs with 3 goals. Offered a City contract (Apps: 18 Subs: 4 Goals: 7)
  18. Josh King A mixed season which started by marking Alain St Maximim out of the Newcastle friendly in July followed by covid and then a suspension for betting offences, anecdotal evidence suggests our Sporting Director wanted to sack him on the spot. After a bizarre Tadcaster loan, 2 days later, a red card and injuries saw him back in the first team. Impressing, he kept his place for the next game before breaking his leg in training (a freak incident when Mitch Hancox fell on his leg). Further anecdotal evidence suggests the manager never spoke to him again. Never let City down on the pitch, many were disappointed that he was released (Apps: 4 Subs: 1 Goals: 0)
  19. Maz Kouhyar Signed from Hereford and showed excellent ball control. Offered a new contract (Apps: 13 Subs: 0 Goals: 2)
  20. Max Kouogun Signed from Ireland, a steady centre back. Offered a new contract (Apps: 29 Subs: 0 Goals: 1)
  21. Kyle Lancaster 2 early season substitute appearances as a scholar (Apps: 0 Subs: 2 Goals: 0)
  22. Remy Longdon John Askey 's first signing as he sought to add pace to the side. Flattered to deceive and was released (Apps: 6 Subs: 4 Goals: 0)
  23. Jack McKay Another early John Askey signing as he sought to add more pace to the side. Released (Apps: 16 Subs: 2 Goals: 3)
  24. Paddy McLaughlin Mr Reliable, brought calm and control to midfield. Worthy to be offered a new contract (Apps: 47 Subs: 2 Goals: 5)
  25. Sean Newton Never recovered from an early season injury. Joined Buxton on loan and released at the end of the season, a sad ending for a 3 time player of the season (Apps: 15 Subs: 2 Goals: 1)
  26. Sam Sanders Young centre back signed on loan from Nottingham Forest who grew into the back line, added pace to a slow defence. Offered a City contract (Apps: 10 Subs: 4 Goals: 0)
  27. Adam Senior Loanee right back who endured a month's loan. Showed some good skill but received a lot of social media abuse and was probably pleased to be recalled by Bolton (Apps: 4 Subs: 0 Goals: 0)
  28. Kieran Wallace Burton loanee who showed skill and presence whilst recovering from a long term injury. Ended the season at Wembley with Mansfield in the Division 2 play off final (Apps: 6 Subs: 0 Goals: 0)
  29. Kurt Willoughby Sometimes flattered to deceive, often showing his best form when called off the bench. Might be considered unlucky not to be offered a new contract (Apps: 34 Subs: 19 Goals: 11)
  30. Michael Woods Injury prone but when fit he showed class. Invited back for pre season training but has declined the offer (Apps: 16 Subs: 6 Goals: 5)
  31. Akil Wright Mr Reliable. Rarely missed a game winning 5 man of the match awards. Opinion was split as to whether he was at his best in his normal defensive midfield role or as an emergency centre back. Offered a new contract (Apps: 54 Subs: 0 Goals: 6)
  32. Maison Campbell Ever present bench warmer for City until the play offs. Released
  33. Lewis Cunningham Regular early season scorer for the Under 19s from left back. He enjoyed 2 lower league loan spells. Released
  34. Jack Degruchy Failed to push on from the Under 19s. Lightweight on the players Xmas bash in Newcastle and had to call his Dad to take him home before the Sunday lunchtime session. Released
  35. Luke Jones After being an unused substitute in the first 2 NLN games, he found himself sidelined but scored on 2 loan spells at a lower levels. First, a covid hit one month spell at Pickering Town where he scored within 7 minutes of being on the pitch and later in the same game had a stonewall penalty appeal turned down, his shot was handled round the post and a spell at Northallerton. The age old dilemma of such clubs not wanting to see their own players (on 7 day contracts) become disgruntled meant that his game time was limited. Released
  36. Reon Potts Many were surprised that he was offered a second season contract, like his first, he made no first team appearances. Had 3 spells on loan at lower league clubs (Ossett, Gainsborough and Belper). Released
  37. Archie Whitfield Second season pro, he had 2 loan spells at lower league clubs, including Ossett (4 months, where he had gained several good match reports) and Bridlington. Released
  38. Ryan Whitley Starred for Scarborough on a season long loan and helped them to clinch promotion to NLN via the play offs

2021/2 Agents' Fees

York City were the Vanarama National League North's second highest spenders in agents' fees according to annual FA accounts.

City paid £8,319 in agents fees from February 2, 2021 to January 31, 2022 (broadly covering the 2021/2 season's transfer windows), with only fellow promotion challengers AFC Fylde spending more (£10,271). The new figures show a drop of around £5,000 from the £13,099 spent by City in 2020/21.

Excluding AFC Fylde, City spent more than the four other National League North clubs listed; Kidderminster Harriers (£4,636), Boston United (£3,250), Darlington (£2,170) and Hereford (£770). It can be assumed that the rest didn't pay any agents' fees. The Minstermen also ranked higher than three Vanarama National League clubs; Maidenhead United (£2,420), Woking (£2,200) and King’s Lynn Town (£1,200).

The breakdown reveals that City paid agents' fees for the services of Akil Wright, Olly Dyson, Peter Jameson, Kurt Willoughby, Maxim Kouogun and Jason Gilchrist so include some new signings and some contract extensions. Individual fees are not revealed. Clayton Donaldson might be considered to be one notable exception from the list.

See a full breakdown, including previous years.

2021/2 Under 19s

Once again, for the 2021/2 season, City competed in the National League Under 19 Alliance League North alongside other National League and National League North teams. 12 teams (AFC Fylde, Blyth Spartans, Boston United, Chester, Chesterfield FC, Darlington, FC Halifax Town, Guiseley AFC, Notts County, Solihull Moors and Stockport County alongside City) competed in the northern section. 12 teams (Aldershot Town, Boreham Wood, Bromley, Dartford, Dover Athletic, Eastleigh, Hampton & Richmond Borough, Maidenhead United, Oxford City, Welling United, Weston Super Mare and Woking) competed in the southern section.

City's main Under 19 squad consisted of around 14 scholars (say 5 second year scholars and say 9 first year (fresh out of school) scholars). It can be supplemented by the 6 youngest first team squad professionals (Maison Campbell, Lewis Cunningham, Jack Degruchy, Jonny Haase, Luke Jones and Henry Nash) for Under 19 league games, but being a year younger, of those, only Haase is eligible for the FA Youth Cup. Throughout the season, expect the match day squad to be topped up with some of City's Under 16 players, including the earlier FA Youth Cup games and late season (presumably ahead of earning a 2 year scholarship in the summer).

The side, with around 500 others, also competed in the FA Youth Cup, entering at the earliest possible stage.

Home league fixtures were played at City's Wiggington Road training ground (YO32 2RB) on a Wednesday afternoon with an early kick off (usually 2pm (or earlier if required)) to finish in daylight. Home FA Youth Cup and National League Alliance cup games are played at the LNER Community Stadium (or another designated home ground).

Further Reading: National League Under-19 Alliance website.

2021/2 National League Youth Alliance






Scorers (and notes)

Wed 08 September




D 1-1


Wed 15 September

Farsley Celtic



W 3-0

Knowles, Clayton, Sheperd

Wed 22 September

FC Halifax Town



W 3-0

Knowles (2), Lancaster

Wed 29 September

Bradford PA



W 1-0


Wed 06 October

Notts Co



W 4-0

Clayton (2), Jones, OG

Thur 14 October

South Shields



L 1-1 (4-5 penalties)


Wed 27 October




D 1-1

Knowles (p)

Wed 03 November




W 1-0


Wed 10 November




W 2-1

Cunningham (2)

Wed 17 November




L 1-2


Wed 24 November

South Shields



L 1-1 (3-4 penalties)


Fri 03 December

Blyth Spartans



W 3-2

Sheperd, McLoughlin, Owen

Wed 08 December

AFC Fylde



L 0-2

Fri 14 January




D 3-3

Knowles (2), Dale

Wed 19 January




D 1-1


Wed 09 February




D 1-1

Shepherd (p)

Wed 16 February




W 1-0


Wed 02 March




L 1-2


Wed 09 March




W 5-4

Ezard, Dale, Owen, Shepherd, McLoughlin

Wed 16 March




D 2-2

Shepherd (2)

Wed 23 March

Solihull Moors



D 0-0

Wed 30 March




W 2-1

Clayton, Shepherd

Wed 06 April




W 3-1

Lancaster, Haase, Shepherd

Wed 13 April




W 2-1

Ezard, Gordon

Fri 22 April




W 5-0

Lancaster (2), Dale, Shepherd, Jones

Wed 27 April




W 1-0


  1. STOCKPORT (A) (08/Sep/21) (National League Youth Alliance League (North)) D 1-1
    The Young Minstermen kicked off their National League U19 Alliance League North campaign this afternoon with a 1-1 draw away at Stockport County. Lewis Cunningham scored his first goal for the U19's, as City replied seven minutes after Stockport had broken the deadlock at the Stockport Sports Village. Tim Ryan selected a strong squad ahead of kick off, a team which featured first year pros Lewis Cunningham, Maison Campbell, Jonny Haase and Luke Jones.
    The home side dominated possession within the opening ten minutes, going close on a couple of occasions. Oliver McFadyen curled a free kick from the edge of the area inches wide of Campbell's left-hand post, before Toby Green fired over the bar after a promising break from midfield. After not taking chances in the opening ten, the home side finally went on to break the deadlock after 13 minutes through Scott Holding, who tapped home from six yards out, after a cross in from the left from a short corner.
    York didn't have to wait long to find their equaliser, as centre back Lewis Cunningham rose highest to head home from an in-swinging Jonny Haase free-kick from the right-hand side five minutes later. Just after the half-hour mark, City were awarded a penalty by the referee after a late tackle on Kyle Lancaster, after a brilliant break into the penalty area by the winger. After a late consultation with his linesman however, the referee overturned his decision, giving the home side a free kick.
    The Minstermen went close in the early exchanges of the second half, as they went in search of their second goal. Max Ezard had an effort fumbled away by Stockport goalkeeper Dan Harrison, before Lancaster headed narrowly over from a Haase corner. Jones had a chance on the hour mark to find that second goal the away side. He started a brilliant counter-attack picking out Lancaster on the right, but the cross in from the winger fizzled out of Jones' reach, as he attempted to tap home at the far post. Both sides kept battling in what was very warm conditions, as Stockport went close themselves after 68 minutes to re-take the lead. Substitute Jai Baisley found himself unmarked in the penalty area from a corner, but he headed just wide of Campbell's right-hand post. Baisley went close again for the home side in the final ten minutes of the game. He drove forward from midfield into the City penalty area, before firing narrowly wide of Campbell's left-hand post.
    Both sides battled out a tight encounter, as City got off to a start in the league with a point. They turn their attentions next Wednesday, when they travel to the Citadel to take on Farsley Celtic in the FA Youth Cup First Qualifying Round (7pm kick off).
    CITY: Campbell, McLaughlin, Owen, Cunningham, Haase ( c ), Lancaster, Gordan, Algar, Clayton, Jones, Ezard (Heaton 79'). Unused Subs: Dale, Pickles, Hogan
    OPPONENTS: Harrison, Jair Da Silva, Edwards (Baisley 63'), Tanswell, Sharples, Holding, Barugh, Al-Akkad, Walsh (Moruyi 46'), Green (Banda 72'), McFadyen. Unused Subs: Johnson, Johnstone
    Goals: Cunningham (20): Opponents: Holding (13)
    Bookings: City: Heaton. Opponents: -
    Sent Off: City: None. Opponents: -
    Referee: TBC
    Attendance: TBC
  2. FARSLEY CELTIC (A) (15/Sep/21) (FA Youth Cup - First Qualifying Round) W 3-0
    York City Under 18s are through to the FA Youth Cup second round qualifying after a comfortable 3-0 win over Farsley Celtic having had a bye in the Preliminary Round when opponents Rossington Main withdrew.
    Josh Knowles, Kieran Clayton and Jonny Sheperd all scored to secure the young Minstermen's safe passage past the Citadel.
    It was an impressive result for Tim Ryan's side, which included three U16 players as well as Jonny Haase, who is pushing for the first team.
    City had the better of the chances in a goalless first half before Knowles broke the deadlock in the 56th minute, slotting into an empty net at the back post following a good passing move down the left. Clayton added the second just seven minutes later after Billy Gordan beat his man on the edge of the area before delivering a pin-point cross onto the head of Clayton, who made no mistake. Sheperd rounded off the scoring five minutes on when he guided home Kyle Lancaster's ball to the near post after the latter's good work down the right.
    In the next round, City will travel to either Bradford (Park Avenue) or Emley during the week beginning Monday, September 27. The two West Yorkshire sides play on Friday September 17 (7.45pm) at Avenue to decide who has the honour.
    CITY: Hogan, McLoughlin, Haase, Algar, Owen, Dale, Lancaster, Gordan, Knowles, Ezard, Clayton. Subs: Sheperd, Heaton, Magwere, Pickles, Payne, Dawson, Burland (details on subs playing unknown).
    Goals: City: Knowles, Clayton, Sheperd. Opponents: -
    Bookings: City: -. Opponents: -
    Sent Off: City: -. Opponents: -
    Referee: TBC
    Attendance: TBC
  3. FC HALIFAX TOWN (A) (22/Sep/21) (National League Youth Alliance League (North)) W 3-0
    The Under 19's earned their first win of the National League U19 Alliance Academy North campaign with a 3-0 win over FC Halifax Town this afternoon. A brace from Josh Knowles and a goal from Kyle Lancaster earned the Young Minstermen all three points in West Yorkshire at Old Earth.
    Tim Ryan's side went into the game off the back of a successful start to the new campaign, after earning a 1-1 draw away at Stockport County a fortnight ago, before recording a 3-0 win over Farsley Celtic last week in the FA Youth Cup. The host's had also enjoyed a strong start to their new campaign, starting off the season with a 7-2 victory over Blyth Spartans in the National League U19 Alliance Academy North two weeks ago.
    It was the away side who got out of the blocks straight away, with Jack Degruchy going close inside the first minute for City. He found a gap in-behind the Halifax defence, before narrowly firing wide of the goalkeeper's right-hand post. Josh Knowles gave the visitors the lead after seven minutes when he did brilliantly to sweep the ball under the goalkeeper from a central position, after Degruchy picked out the winger with a pull back from the right flank. York doubled their lead five minutes later when Jonny Haase sent in a low cross on the left after a bursting run, where Kyle Lancaster was on-hand to tap home at the far post to extend City's lead in a matter of minutes. The home side struggled to threaten the York defence in the first half, but they nearly found a way back into the game when a sequence of headers in the penalty box nearly landed into the back of the net, but Maison Campbell was on hand to calmly punch away to safety.
    Two minutes into the second half, Halifax were reduced to ten men when the referee sent off their forward for violent conduct for an off-the-ball incident. It would prove to be a mountain to climb for the home side as York used their man advantage to claim their third of the afternoon after 78 minutes. Josh Knowles beat the offside trap to lob the goalkeeper from the edge of the area, earning his second goal of the afternoon. The referee awarded Halifax a penalty in the final ten minutes of the game, but Campbell was on hand to keep it out, diving to his left at full stretch. The Minstermen held out for all three points in West Yorkshire and remain unbeaten so far this campaign.
    Speaking after the game, Youth Team Manager Tim Ryan said: "I thought it was a scrappy game, the conditions were difficult at times for both teams, but credit to Halifax I thought they looked like the better side for an hour. We did hit them early and we did score two in the first twelve minutes which is obviously good for us and it gives us a front foot in the game, but I don't really think after that we took the game to them. We took our foot off the pedal and allowed them to try and get back into the game. Even at ten men, you couldn't really tell it because we let our foot off it and we didn't really take charge of the game. We're happy we've come away with three points and a 3-0 win but it was a fairly even game in my eyes. From the warm up, we like to get our mind's right and we always set up to come out the traps fast. Sometimes you can catch teams off guard but sometimes you can't. It was nice to get the early goals, but it was fairly even for a good hour".
    The Youth Team will now look forward to the FA Youth Cup next week, as an U18's side travel to West Yorkshire to take on Bradford (Park Avenue) in the Second Qualifying Round at the Horsfall Stadium next week.
    CITY: Campbell, McLoughlin (Pickles), Owen, Cunningham, Haase ( C ) (Dale), Lancaster, Gordan (Ezard), Algar (Heaton), Knowles, Degruchy, Jones (Magwere). Unused Subs: -
    Goals: Knowles (7, 78), Lancaster (12): Opponents: -
    Bookings: City: Haase (17), Degruchy (60). Opponents: -
    Sent Off: City: -. Opponents: One (name tbc)
    Referee: TBC
    Attendance: TBC
  4. BRADFORD PA (A) (29/Sep/21) (FA Youth Cup - Second Qualifying Round) W 1-0
    YORK City Academy continued their FA Youth Cup journey with a 1-0 second round qualifying win at Bradford (Park Avenue). City, featuring the threatening stand-out right winger Kyle Lancaster, had much the better of the chances. In the end, it was a thrilling couple of minutes that ensured it was the young Minstermen's night at the Horsfall Stadium, where first-team boss Steve Watson was in attendance.

    BPA almost netted a headed own goal (12 minutes) before Ben Dale rattled the outside of the post (23 minutes) and captain Jonny Haase curled a free kick just over the bar (25 minutes). City kept up the pressure as Billy Gordan tested the goalkeeper with a curling effort from the edge of the area (31 minutes).
    The game continued in the same vein after the break. The best chance of the game fell to Josh Knowles whose shot drifted inches wide of the keeper's left post (47 minutes).
    Tom Algar, Knowles and Max Ezard all had shots saved by the keeper before Jonny Sheperd broke the deadlock on 66 minutes when the winger turned inside from the right onto his left foot and finished beyond the keeper (Liam Hall) into the bottom left corner to give City the lead.
    BPA had a chance to equalise a minute later but diminutive keeper Michael Hogan dived low to his right to keep out a tame penalty effort from the BPA Number 7 (shades of the night before - Ed).
    City held out for a deserved 1-0 win, the last 5 minutes saw BPA's centre half move into goal when their stopper had to leave the pitch following a collision with Knowles.
    Speaking on the progression in the competition, Manager Tim Ryan was pleased with his side's performances so far. He said, "The boys have given a really good account for themselves again and they are getting the rewards from the full time training. There was nine first years who came to play against Farsley (previous round) which is really pleasing for the future. In recent years, clubs at City's level have progressed in the U18s competition towards the ultimate goal of drawing a Football League side who enter in the First Round, notably AFC Fylde playing Chelsea after reaching the Fourth Round last season. We do not want to set targets for winning cups or winning leagues, what we want to do is be really competitive. I believe that if we have a successful side that is in and around and competing every game then it gives each individual player the best chance to progress at York City. You never know, the Youth Cup is regionalised up to the first round and over the past two or three years we have bumped into the likes of Chester and Guiseley who are really strong and are on a par with us. We will enjoy it as we go. We do not put a target on things and take each game as it comes. If we can go a bit further, like some of the clubs at our level have done previously, it would be great and some of our lads are thinking them sort of heights". Youth teamer Josh Knowles played for the first team in pre-season against Ossett United and made the bench last month against Hebburn Town in the Emirates FA Cup which was pleasing for his U19s Manager. Ryan added: "Our focal point is Josh Knowles up front, he has been in and around the first team training and played in pre-season against Ossett. His performances, desire and endeavour to really lead the line, on his own at times as well, was really stand out and he is a second year looking to get his first year pro [next season] so it's a great start to a new season for him and obviously he has to maintain those sort of standards now, along with the rest of the squad, if they do that then we can all be successful together. The gaffer has asked for one or two of the first years to go into training and the more you go up from under 16s to under 19s and then first team level the change in speed of the game is massive and what that does is it helps your vision, ball contact and first touch so speeding up player development like that is brilliant. Every time players go and train with the first team they come back and really set the standard and it improves our game." Steve Watson has offered three youngsters pro contracts this summer, and Ryan is looking to do something similar with promoting players to his U19s side, with three U16 players already utilised on the bench against Farsley in the previous round of the FA Youth Cup. Ryan explained: "Myself and Dan [Wilson, Head of Youth] do it each year, we carry a squad and this year have a lot of older lads for the league because it's an under 19s competition. With the FA Youth Cup, we did it last year and the year before, we bedded one or two of the under 16s in just to get into the environment of the changing room and really get a feel for it. Some of those lads in the under 16s are doing really well so we are hoping maybe in the next round they can get some game time."
    The young Minstermen will travel to either South Shields or Stockton Town in the next round of the FA Youth Cup which is due to be played the week commencing 11th October 2021.
    CITY: Hogan, McLoughlin, Haase, Algar, Owen, Dale, Lancaster, Gordan, Knowles, Ezard, Sheperd (Burland, 79). Unused Subs: Heaton, Magwere, Pickles, Bunkle.
    Goals: Sheperd: Opponents: -
    Bookings: City: -. Opponents: -
    Sent Off: -. Opponents: -
    Referee: TBC
    Attendance: TBC
  5. NOTTS CO (A) (06/Oct/21) (National League Youth Alliance League (North)) W 4-0
    York City Academy came away from Notts County with a 4-0 win in National League Under-19 Alliance north division. Kieran Clayton scored a second half double and first team hopeful Luke Jones sealed the win after an own goal had put City ahead. The win maintains City's unbeaten start to the season and lifts them to third in the three-game-old season. The game was played at Keyworth United Community Football Club's stadium.
    City set the pace with early chances for Lancaster, Ezard and Jones. City took the lead on 24 minutes with an own goal after County failed to clear a Haase free kick and Knowles drilled the ball towards goal only for a County defender to deflect the ball into his own net. As half time approached, at the other end, Campbell was quick to reach when a dangerous ball was played over the top whilst a County free kick in a dangerous position was allowed to roll out for a goal kick.
    As the second half started, City remained on the front foot. On 52 minutes, Kieran Clayton swept the ball home at the far post after being picked out by a low cross from Lancaster. 9 minutes later, Luke Jones flicked on a Billy Gordan cross into the bottom right corner after a good ball in from McLoughlin. On 72 minutes, Kieran Clayton rose highest to head home a Jonny Haase corner.
    Late on, City hit the woodwork twice with a long range Algar shot (66 minutes) which rattled the crossbar whilst a charging down the right run from Lancaster saw him strike the post from a tight angle (86 minutes) as City ran out comprehensive winners.
    Kyle Lancaster was nominated man of the match for a second successive game.
    Tim Ryan expressed his pleasure in side's second half performance after the full-time whistle in Nottinghamshire. He said, "The first half was just a bitty game, both teams didn't really get to grips with the game. We scored one which gave us a bit of a cushion, but we tweaked it a little bit at the break and the lads performed much better within the second half. We started doing some of the things that we do day in and day out at training and we ultimately got the rewards. Kyle (Lancaster) was absolutely fantastic, the stand out player on the pitch today by a country mile, especially in the second half. From a starting base as well, the back five involving Maison (Campbell) in goal gave us a really good foundation within that second half to help us get on the front foot and get them three extra goals". So far this season, Lancaster is one of three youth team scholars, alongside Josh Knowles and Elliot Owen, to appear for the first team within a matchday squad which was very pleasing for Ryan. He added, "Me and Steve (Watson) are both from the same era and you say you get what you deserve. People don't get on the bench if they don't deserve it, but they have done because they are willing to put in the work. Going back to Kyle (Lancaster), last year was a stop start season for him and the lads, but his attitude was fantastic and second to none. This year he has matured a lot more and been in and around first team training, giving him the opportunity to learn from people within the squad. I think his maturity into a footballer is slowly but surely getting there and it's starting to show that what we do with the lads every day is working. What we do on a day to day basis is work on an end product with him, so it’s starting to come together where he is showing us what he can do on the pitch". Ryan will take an Under 18's (the league is Under 19) squad up to the North East next Thursday in the FA Youth Cup 3rd Round Qualifying to take on South Shields, a game which he believes will be a brilliant opportunity in front of a decent crowd at the First Cloud Arena. Speaking on the game, Ryan said, We'll plan accordingly and go up there with confidence. We've played them a few times over the course of the last few years, we even had them in pre season and they were comfortably the better side that day (City lost 2-0 - Ed). We will build from today and take the confidence from the second half into next week's performance and use training to help us prepare to give people the best account of ourselves. They have had decent crowds of just under 400 in the previous couple of rounds, so if their locals turn out again and we take a couple from York, they may well end playing in front of anything up to 500 which will be a massive opportunity for the boys".
    CITY: Campbell, McLoughlin, Haase, Algar (Heaton, 76), Owen, Dale, Lancaster, Gordan, Jones, Ezard (Magwere, 67), Knowles (Clayton, 46). Unused Sub: Hogan (just 4 named subs).
    Goals: Clayton (2), Jones, OG: Opponents: -
    Bookings: City: -. Opponents: -
    Sent Off: -. Opponents: -
    Referee: TBC
    Attendance: TBC
  6. SOUTH SHIELDS (A) (14/Oct/21) (FA Youth Cup - Third Qualifying Round) L 1-1 (4-5 penalties)
    City went out of the FA Youth Cup going down 5-4 on sudden death penalties after the scores finished level at 1-1 after 90 minutes at the 1st Cloud Arena. Having trailed 1-0 at the break, Tim Ryan’s side equalised in the second half through a Jonny Shepherd spot-kick, but the Young Minstermen narrowly went done 5-4 on penalties as South Shields progressed to the First Round Proper of the competition. Teams enter the pitch at the 1st Cloud Arena.
    City had more of the early play as Haase, Lancaster, Haase again and Knowles spurned chances before Shields took the lead on 20 minutes through Oli Cresdee’s deflected strike. Ezard went close with a header and Knowles put the rebound into the side netting before another Knowles effort was deflected wide. Despite the pressure, City went into the break a goal down.
    The second half continued in a similar vein. City looked the side most likely to score as Max Ezard saw a close range header well saved before Tom Algar had a free kick palmed over. City continued to create chances, with Josh Knowles and Ben Dale both coming close.
    With 15 minutes remaining, the Minstermen were finally level as substitute Jonny Sheperd picked himself up after being fouled and dispatched the penalty. City pressed for a late winner with chances for Haase, Owen and Ezard.
    After 90 minutes, the game went into penalties, Tom Algar missed the first kick for City. 4-4 after 5 penalties for each side, Kyle Lancaster missed the first sudden death penalty before Shields’ Jack Watson struck the winner for the home side.
    Speaking after the game, Manager Tim Ryan said, "I thought we were absolutely fantastic, we lost the game and come away from it with a little bit of a bitter sweet taste, but we were the best team tonight by a mile. We created a numerous amount of chances and I think they went into our box only twice in the ninety minutes, but they've ultimately won the game on penalties. Despite the result, I'm really chuffed with the performance from the lads, I've been here three years now and this group of lads tonight have put on the best performance I have witnessed working with the club. I've told the lads just now that they should be proud and that we were the better team here this evening, we’ve had some good players come through the academy whilst I have been working here and that tonight was the proudest I have been. We had watched South Shields, we had analysed them and set up in training to combat what they had in attack. Credit to them, they are a very good side who are comfortable on the ball and try different formations. As I say it's a bitter sweet feeling knowing we worked hard to come from behind and get back into the game, but it sadly wasn't to be and I'm gutted. What I've just said to them is regardless of the result, I'm so proud of them and playing in front of a big crowd tonight is a learning curve for them. Whether you make a career for yourself for fifteen or twenty years, you'll have a lot more lows than real highs, so you take it on the chin and playing in front of a decent crowd will have given them a real lift this evening. I know that it gave me a real lift tonight and as I say, a lot of them will take tonight’s result on the chin and move on from it, which will help them improve in the long run."
    Read More: South Shields website match report
    CITY: Hogan, McLoughlin, Haase ( C ), Algar, Owen, Dale, Lancaster, Gordan, Knowles (Sheperd, 71), Ezard, Clayton (Heaton, 90+3). Unused Subs: Magwere, Pickles, Burland.
    OPPONENTS: Dobson, Watson, Taylor (Bell, 59), Marriott, Morgan, Smith, Walker, Fletcher (Duffy, 70), Waldon, McGeorge ( c ) (Kidd, 84), Cresdee. Unused Subs: Seymour, Johnstone, Scurfield, Thompson.
    Goals: Sheperd: Opponents: Cresdee.
    Bookings: City: -. Opponents: -
    Sent Off: -. Opponents: -
    Referee: TBC
    Attendance: 391
  7. SOLIHULL MOORS (H) (27/Oct/21) (National League Youth Alliance League (North)) D 1-1
    A late Josh Knowles penalty earned the Minstermen a point against Solihull Moors at Wigginton Road after trailing 1-0 at the break in a hard fought game played in windy conditions.
    City started strongly without troubling the Moors' keeper. It was the visitors who opened the scoring on 18 minutes when City failed to deal with a free kick into the area and a yellow shirt was on hand to steer the ball back across goal and into the bottom corner. Moors had a penalty appeal turned down on 37 minutes before Jack Degruchy clipped the top of the bar with a left footed effort from the edge of the area, the only time City really threatened a goal in the first half.
    City came out for the second half looking for an equaliser. On 49 minutes, Ezard unleashed Knowles down the left, he cut inside and shot on goal, his effort was blocked for a corner. Algar swung in the resulting corner and it fizzed across the face of goal and out for a goal kick. City continued to press. On 56 minutes, Cunningham was at full stretch at the far post to meet a Haase corner and his header hit the crossbar. 3 minutes later, Cunningham went close again, firing over from close range after being picked out by a Haase cross.
    City continued to press for an equaliser, Knowles being unable to tap home Jones' knock down whilst Ezard, Gordan and Jones all squandered chances. On 90 minutes, City got an equaliser when Josh Knowles sent the keeper the wrong way from the penalty spot.
    Speaking after the full-time whistle at Wigginton Road, City’s Academy Manager Tim Ryan expressed his frustrations from his side’s performance, which he described as an ‘off-day’ for the U19s. "We have gone from what I thought was our best performance I have witnessed as manager of the academy to something that wasn’t anywhere near it this afternoon. I think it was just a day off today for us, the weather played it’s part massively today. I know it was very windy out there but for the ones that were watching but you can’t blame the weather, there wasn’t any football played today from us. I feel like it is my fault because I have praised them too much, they’ve been excellent in training, but today I just feel that they didn’t provide the performance that I know they are capable of showing. They (Solihull) had a little more desire than us out there, it’s a shame that we didn’t apply ourselves to the same level that they did. We have had the guy here today analysing the game for us, so they’ll be at college tomorrow before we training again Friday. I’ll ask him to break it down and we’ll watch a good chunk of the game back, It’s not going to be a matter of a wholesale changes from being as good as we have been to as bad as we have been. It’s a matter of dusting ourselves down, watching back what we put out there today before addressing the wrongs to make sure we put them right. Whether today was just a bit of an application thing I don’t know, they’ve received lots of pats on the back so far this season with lots of praise, it’s time for them to put their feet back on the ground and build again. It’s our job now to dust them off and put a smile back on their faces. They’re all brilliant lads who enjoy what we do with them day in day out, but I’m annoyed today because their performance was very low key”.
    CITY: Campbell, McLoughlin, Haase ( c ) (Owen, 61), Algar (Shepherd), Cunningham, Dale, Lancaster, Degruchy (Jones, h/t), Knowles, Ezard, Clayton (Gordan, h/t). Unused Sub: Magwere.
    Goals: Knowles (p): Opponents: TBC
    Bookings: City: Algar (48). Opponents: TBC
    Sent Off: -. Opponents: -
    Referee: TBC
    Attendance: TBC
  8. DARLINGTON (H) (03/Nov/21) (National League Youth Alliance League (North)) W 1-0
    A second minute strike from Josh Knowles was enough to secure York City Academy all three points at home to Darlington on a sunny but cold afternoon.
    Knowles pounced on the rebound after the Darlo keeper failed to keep hold of a Lewis Cunningham flick on to give City the lead after less than 120 seconds.
    City had chances through a Gordan header, Cunningham had long range free kick tipped away, Ezard long range effort and Lancaster before spurned a great chance on 33 minutes, denied from the penalty spot as the keeper guessed correctly and went to his right. At the other end, Darlo’s chanced were few and far between as the teams ended the half with City a goal up.
    The second half saw chances for both sides. On 47 minutes, Cunningham narrowly missed with another long range effort whilst 3 minutes later, it took a brilliant save by Maison Campbell to tip away a Darlington effort from the edge of the area out for a corner. Keiran Clayton, coming on to replace Lancaster, headed just wide from a Tom Algar free kick. With 5 minutes to go, City’s second-half substitute Jack Degruchy picked up a red card after going in late on the Darlington keeper.
    The win lifts City to second place in the table, sandwiched between behind perfect-starters Guiseley (12 points) and AFC Fylde (10 points), who have each played four games, to York's 11 points from 5 games.
    Speaking after the full time whistle, manager Tim Ryan said he was pleased with his side’s response after rescuing a point late on against Solihull Moors in their previous game. "After last week I asked the boys for a little bit of a reaction in terms of effort, determination and grit and I thought in the first half they were really good. I thought the boys handed it to them and went for their throat, if we had come in at half-time two, three or maybe even four nil up, then it would have been justified in our performance. It's one of them games where we will learn from not taking our chances because in the second-half, It was a very even and gritty game, fair play to Darlington they probably looked the best side in that second period and they hung in there at times. But it's something from our missed chances that we need to learn to turn them into chances to put the game to bed". The Young Minstermen scored early on through Knowles, which Ryan believed gave his side a real emphasis to go out there and try to put the game to bed by half time. "It's something where an early goal, like Paddy's (McLaughlin) for the first team last weekend, gives us a real emphasis to go out there and get four goals early on, but sometimes it can go against you where you can take your foot off the pedal but fair play to the boys that they didn't. Take the first half they really did what we had asked them to do and we should have had at least two or three more goals and been out of sight by half time. To keep a clean sheet, I thought the back four played quite well. I've had Ben (Dale) in and out of the side, I've told him what he needs to work on and he's gone away to think about his game and certainly, over the past two or three weeks he has been outstanding, but it was his best performance by a mile today and I thought he was excellent all over the pitch this afternoon. Craig (Magwere) came in at left back, he did well on his debut and handled it very well after waiting for his chance. Day-in-day out Craig trains hard, so it gave Jonny (Haase) a chance to open his legs up a little further up the pitch and see what he could create. Jacob (McLoughlin) was excellent again today, he has been a standout performer for us every week and has become someone we can rely upon and Lewis (Cunningham) at centre half, he's got the experience which showed today and he's a year older, he brought a lot of calmness on the ball in defence".
    CITY: Campbell (Hogan, 65), McLoughlin, Magwere, Algar, Cunningham, Dale, Lancaster (Clayton, 72), Gordan, Knowles (Jones, 60), Ezard (Degruchy, 53), Haase ( c ) (Shepherd, 60). Unused Sub: -.
    Goals: Knowles: Opponents: -
    Bookings: City: -. Opponents: -
    Sent Off: Degruchy. Opponents: -
    Referee: Craig Aitken
    Attendance: TBC
  9. DARLINGTON (A) (10/Nov/21) (National League Youth Alliance League (North)) W 2-1
    The Minstermen sealed another three points with a 2-1 win over Darlington in the National League Alliance U19 Academy North in a game originally scheduled for April 20 at Billingham Town’s Bedford Terrace ground. Two goals from Lewis Cunningham saw York come from behind as they extended their unbeaten run in the league.
    Darlo had early chances with City’s keeper Michael Hogan being alert to gather up a free kick. At the other end, Cunningham controlled possession on the halfway line and tried to pick out Knowles with a ball over the top, but it was gathered up by the Darlington. As Darlo pressed, they took the lead on 10 minutes and 3 minutes later Hogan tipped a free kick over the bar.
    As City gained a foothold in the game, a brilliant run from Knowles drew a corner for City. From the resulting corner Lewis Cunningham headed home at the far post from a Jonny Haase corner to level the game on 17 minutes.
    On 22 minutes, a great save from Hogan kept the scores level after a City defensive mistake. As the gamer entered its second quarter, City took control. First Max Ezard shot from a tight angle on the right and the home keeper did well to tip his effort onto the crossbar. A Minute later, appeals for a City penalty were turned down. Billy Gordan and Kyle Lancaster went close before Josh Knowles beat the offside trap to keep the ball in play and squared the ball towards Kieran Clayton at the far post who was denied by the Darlington keeper with a header. Despite a shaky start, City went in level at 1-1 and could have been disappointed by not being in front.
    As the second half started, City continued to press. Gordan went close before Lewis Cunningham controlled the ball from a Haase free kick in the penalty area and slotted the ball home from close range on 52 minutes. On the hour, sub Luke Jones was quickly into action when he played in Jacob McLoughlin on the edge of the area, the right back went for goal with a left footed effort which flew well wide. Despite one narrow miss from Darlo, City continued to press. Good approach play from Clayton and Gordan was let down by the final pass and as the game entered its final 5 minutes, the impressive sub Luke Jones set up a chance for Max Ezard before being denied by the legs of the keeper. However, it took a great save from Hogan on 88 minutes to ensure the 3 points for City.
    After the game, Academy manager Tim Ryan said, ”I thought our performance was alright, it was very similar to last week. Once again they were a good and competitive side and it was an evenly matched game. “It was a difficult surface for both sides out there today, which kind of hindered how we wanted to play the game which was through the midfield. The conditions kind of enticed us to go longer at times, but today was one of them where you find ways to win games. You come to different surfaces and different environments every week and you need to find ways to win games and I thought we did that well today with the goals. Teams that I have managed at York in the past haven’t managed to master that, so the more the lads are developing and learning how to deal with these certain pitches and conditions in these different stadiums is really pleasing for me. It’s (set pieces) something that we do work on, but it’s not something that we overkill the lads with. We’ve got a few set-piece routines set in place, so the lads know how to execute them regardless of whatever formation we play or whatever personnel we choose to play. It was nice for Lewis (Cunningham) today because he worked hard and deserved his two goals to win us the game. It’s always brilliant to score from a set-piece, but it’s even more pleasing for Lewis to score both of them this afternoon. He was one of the young lads to travel with the first team last night to Leamington alongside Michael (Hogan) and Jonny (Haase), so it’s been a quick turnaround for these lads and I thought he was brilliant today”.
    CITY: Hogan, McLoughlin, Algar, Cunningham, Haase ( c ); Dale, Lancaster (Magwere, 73), Gordan, Ezard; Clayton, Knowles (Jones, 56). Unused Sub: - Heaton (only 3 named).
    Goals: Cunningham (2): Opponents: -
    Bookings: City: -. Opponents: One (name tbc, 83 minutes)
    Sent Off: -. Opponents: -
    Referee: TBC
    Attendance: TBC
  10. CHESTERFIELD (H) (17/Nov/21) (National League Youth Alliance League (North)) L 1-2
    City went down to a first league defeat of the season. An early goal by the visitors was cancelled out by a Lewis Cunningham equaliser just before half time, but Chesterfield won it late to take all three points.
    City started strongly and on 12 minutes, some fast flowing football saw Lancaster through on goal, but he fired wide of the keeper’s left-hand post. However, Chesterfield came back into the game, they had had 2 long range shots by minute 19, interspersed they took the lead. 20 minutes later they were down to 10 players after their number 7 received 2 yellow cards in quick succession. During this time, City‘s best effort was a Billy Gordan fierce shot from the edge of the area as Chesterfield cleared a Chesterfield free kick. City’s numerical advantage seemed to be swinging the game when on 43 minutes, a corner was only half cleared and Gordan played the ball towards Lewis Cunningham at the far post who fired home off the unlucky keeper.
    In the second half, City sought a winner, Lancaster went down in the penalty area under a late challenge, the referee said no for the second time during the game. 2 minutes later, Clayton delivered a low ball into the area from the left but Jones was unable to get on the end of it. Both sides had further chances, Chesterfield mainly from distance before on 70 minutes, following a brilliant turn on the left by Haase, Jones’ shot on target was blocked by a Chesterfield defender. Minutes later, Heaton set up Jones but he put too much on the ball and it went out for a goal kick. On 77 minutes, the Chesterfield sub (number 16) received the ball in a central position, turned his man and fired low into the bottom right corner beyond Campbell. City pressed for an equaliser with McLoughlin and Haase going close as City threw men forward in an unsuccessful search for an equaliser.
    Speaking after the full-time whistle, Tim Ryan described the performance as “poor” and “very average”. He went onto say, “I thought that we were very poor today, I think our expectations have been a lot better than our performance today” said Ryan. They (Chesterfield) came here and I thought that they outworked us and they never really gave us a chance to get settled on the ball. We have a lot of young lads, nine of them are first-year scholars and my expectations are probably weighing on them a little bit, so I’m hoping today’s result is just a blip. I say week-in-week-out that results are important, but it’s not just all about that. The performance and individual performances are more important to me, but today I felt we were very average throughout all around. “I’ve just been honest with them, you have to be honest with each other, but we all know that football is a really tough business” said Ryan. The new interim manager (John Askey) came in yesterday to have a word with the lads and he outlined where we are currently as a National League North club and he explained that where we are now gives young players a chance. As it was shown with the previous manager, there have been a few of them who have managed game time within the first-team, whilst a few more have been included on the bench. We need people to be brave on the ball and we ended up playing against the physical side of the game. We decided to play route-one and not play the way we know that we can which is through the midfield and with the ball on the floor”. Next week sees Ryan’s side travel to the North-East to take on South Shields in the First Round of the National League Academy Cup, where he will want his side to get one over them after getting knocked out of the FA Youth Cup by them last month. “Whether it’s the Academy Cup or the league, we will treat any game the same way. We will prepare the same way that we do for any game and we know that when we go up to South Shields next week, that it will be a very tough game again. When we played them a month ago in the FA Youth Cup - even though it was the U18’s, I felt that it was one of our best performances this season and on the day we should have won the game comfortably. We’ll go up there next week and hopefully we can get something from the game. We’ll make sure that we set up right and try to look for ways to combat which will help us hopefully get the win”.
    CITY: Campbell, McLoughlin, Algar (Heaton, 66), Cunningham, Haase ( c ); Dale, Gordan; Ezard (Magwere, 66); Lancaster, Jones, Clayton. Unused Subs: Pickles, Hogan (only 4 named).
    Goals: Cunningham: Opponents: TBC (2)
    Bookings: City: -. Opponents: -
    Sent Off: -. Opponents: TBC (number 7)
    Referee: TBC
    Attendance: TBC
  11. SOUTH SHIELDS (A) (24/Nov/21) (National League Alliance Cup - Round 1) L 1-1 (3-4 penalties)
    City went down to a penalty shoot out defeat for the second time this season at South Shields.
    The Young Minstermen fell behind to a South Shields opener after 17 minutes at the 1st Cloud Arena, but Josh Knowles levelled the game just minutes before half-time. Neither side could find a winner in the second half, before the home side defeated the Minstermen 4-3 on penalties to advance to the next round of the competition.
    A change of formation saw City start the game with three centre halves with Elliot Owen returning to the starting eleven following a spell out injured whilst the home side were able to field 2 first team squad members.
    Early exchanges were fairly even before a Haase free kick saw Knowles fire straight at the keeper from close range (14 minutes). Down the other end, Campbell made a stunning save from a South Shields free kick over the bar for a corner. On 17 minutes, the homes side took the lead when Blair Rossiter fired low past Campbell into the bottom-right corner. As City pressed for an equaliser, a Haase fire kick was saved and by the South Shields keeper and Lancaster couldn’t finish a chance made by Knowles. With 5 minutes to go before half time, Josh Knowles controlled the ball on the edge of the penalty area before firing home into the bottom-left corner to equalise.
    City started the second half strongly with Cunningham (twice) and Knowles having efforts before on the hour Knowles fired inches wide. Despite both sides having late efforts, no one could break the deadlock and at full time the game went to penalties.
    In the shoot out, City were soon 2 down with Cunningham (miss) and Ezard (save) failing. Shields scored their first 3 kicks as Haase, Knowles and Sheperd scored to give City hope. Despite missing their fourth kick, Shields kept their nerves to slot home their fifth penalty to win 4-3.
    After the game, Tim Ryan said, "The cup competitions are the ones that you want to do well in and we really wanted to get into the next round, get a home tie which could have allowed the lads to play a game at the LNER Community Stadium. Unfortunately, it won’t be this year, sadly it went to penalties where it becomes a bit of a lottery for both sides. On reflection of the game I thought that the boys were excellent, they competed and created lots of chances. We limited South Shields to very few chances and I couldn’t really have asked any more of the boys out there today, especially after making a couple of changes to personal and shape. The formation change was down to a few things, partially on how South Shields played which we wanted to keep them pressed high up the pitch and not allowing them to play through the centre, but also Elliot (Owen) coming back in today has also given us a really big headache. He’s fit again and it would have been really tough to take either Ben (Dale) or Lewis (Cunningham) out today as I think they have both been excellent over the past few weeks. It would have been really hard to leave Elliot out too as he has been excellent as well before he suffered his injury. It’s a shape we know and that we have played before, especially a shape that the second-year scholars and the first-year pro’s know so we didn’t see the formation change as a massive risk or a massive change. The goal that Josh (Knowles) took was excellent, he gets a lot of chances but what we were really pleased about today was his work rate. Off the ball as well he was great, he stopped South Shields playing out from the back and he won the ball back in the final third so many times. If he continues to add goals as well, then I’m sure that he is in for a good future."
    CITY: Campbell; Dale, Owen, Cunningham; McLoughlin, Heaton, Gordan, Haase ( c ); Lancaster (Sheperd, 71), Knowles, Clayton (Ezard, 75). Unused Subs: Pickles, Magwere, Algar
    Goals: Knowles: Opponents: Rossiter
    Bookings: City: Cunningham (64), Haase (74). Opponents: 2 (numbers 3 and 5)
    Sent Off: -. Opponents: -
    Referee: TBC
    Attendance: TBC
  12. BLYTH (A) (03/Dec/21) (National League Youth Alliance League (North)) W 3-2
    Goals from Jonny Shepherd, Jacob McLoughlin and Elliot Owen secured all three points for the Young Minstermen at Cochrane Park, Newcastle University as they moved up to 3rd in the National League Alliance U19 Academy North.
    Both sides had good early chances before Jonny Sheperd put City ahead on 11 minutes firing home the rebound from Cunningham’s shot following a Haase corner. Most of the rest of the half saw Blyth pressing unsuccessfully for an equaliser.
    Blyth’s efforts were immediately rewarded on the resumption with a goal. City went in search of a second goal. A Haase free-kick flew over everyone and out for a goal kick. On 55 minutes, Sheperd thought he had given City the lead again but his effort was ruled out for a foul on the Blyth keeper. 2 minutes later, Ezard fired inches wide of the keeper's right-hand post.
    As the game heated up Owen (58 minutes) and Algar (66 minutes) received yellow cards for City. In between, on 64 minutes had the ball in the back of the net but was penalised for offside. City continued to press, Shepherd was denied from close range by a smart save from the Blyth keeper before Jacob McLoughlin, scoring his first goal for City, smashed the ball home from close range from a tight angle to re-give City the lead on 72 minutes. The action was end to end and Blyth scored a second equaliser on 76 minutes. 2 minutes later, City made it 3-2 when another first time scorer, Elliot Owen fired home a bullet header from a Tom Algar corner. The action remained frenetic, a minute later, a double save by the Blyth keeper denied Sheperd and Clayton from making it 4-2 whilst it took a last ditch block by Owen to keep City in front. On 83 minutes, the ever combative Degruchy picked up his second yellow card and was been sent off, his second red card in 4 weeks. With a man advantage, Blyth pressed but were unable to secure a draw.
    City continued to press, Shepherd was denied from close range by a smart save from the Blyth keeper before Jacob McLoughlin, scoring his first goal for City, smashed the ball home from close range from a tight angle to give City the lead on 72 minutes. The action was end to end and Blyth scored a second equaliser on 76 minutes. 2 minutes later, City made it 3-2 when another first time scorer, Elliot Owen fired home a bullet header from a Tom Algar corner. The action remained frenetic, a minute later, a double save by the Blyth keeper denied Sheperd and Clayton from making it 4-2 whilst it took a last ditch block by Owen to keep City in front. On 83 minutes, the ever combative Degruchy picked up his second yellow card and was been sent off, his second red card in 4 weeks. With a man advantage, Blyth pressed but were unable to secure a draw.
    Speaking after the full time whistle at Cochrane Park, York City Youth Team Manager Tim Ryan spoke in delight about his side’s set-piece deliveries, two in which helped them secure the win up in the North East. “I’ve mentioned this before but the set-pieces worked well for us again today. The first came from Lewis (Cunningham) arriving at the far post with Jonny (Sheperd) getting on the rebound and scoring the opener, before Elliot (Owen) got the winner with a header. Again the set-pieces have been very important for us, they’re something which we work on in training and we got joy once again this afternoon through two of our three goals coming from them. Jacob (McLoughlin) deserves credit and his goal too today, it was from open play and he arrived late at the back post with a half-volleyed finish. All in all, our first half performance was way below the standards that I set for them, I let them know my thoughts at half-time and we made some changes in personnel and I thought that the substitutes who came on really brightened us up and had a real emphasis on the game. It was a matter of getting someone up front, we started with a 4-3-3 with Jonny (Sheperd) up front on his own but he was a bit isolated. We changed it around and went two up top in the second half with Kieran (Clayton) joining him and I thought that we got on the front foot a lot more in their half. For Jonny, it was his first full 90 minutes in a very long time. He’s had bits and bobs which has meant he hasn’t got a solid run within the team, but I thought especially in the second half that he was excellent, he held the ball up really well which gave us an emphasis to get our foot in the game higher up. I thought they (Blyth) made it a very tough game out there for us, they’ve played a lot of top sides at our level and today they’ve done the exact same within games recording close results,” added Ryan. Their league position maybe is a bit false because today they were a good side, they gave it a go and made it hard for us at times. Today we grafted and dug deep especially in the second half and we put in a very good performance as we got what I would call a shady victory.”
    CITY: Hogan; Dale, Owen, Cunningham (Lancaster, 43); McLoughlin, Algar, Heaton (Ezard, HT), Haase ( c ); Knowles, Clayton (Jones, 54), Degruchy. Unused Subs: Gordan, Pickles
    Goals: City: Sheperd, McLoughlin, Owen: Opponents: TBC (2)
    Bookings: City: Owen, Algar. Opponents: TBC
    Sent Off: City: -. Opponents: -
    Referee: TBC
    Attendance: TBC
  13. AFC FYLDE (A) (08/Dec/21) (National League Youth Alliance League (North)) L 0-2
    City went down to a 2-0 away defeat to AFC Fylde at Mill Farm. Two goals in the first half were enough to secure the hosts all three points in a scrappy game played in wet and windy conditions.
    After an early chance Kieren Clayton chance was ruled offside by the linesman, the home side had the better of the first half. After they had spurned a number of half chances, the home side took the lead on 33 minutes when Maison Campbell was beaten from close-range after City hadn’t dealt with a cross into the box. 6 minutes later, Lewis Cunningham had the ball in the back of the net but it was ruled out for a foul on the keeper. 3 minutes before half time, the home side double their lead when a cross into the area was turned into the back of the net by Elliot Owen. As the home side continued to press, it took a good diving save from Maison Campbell to prevent the home side scoring a third goal.
    The conditions got the better of the second half. Chances were few and far between. For City, Josh Knowles had 2 respectable chances whilst Maison Campbell made a couple of excellent saves. An awful miss from the home side as they shoot over the bar from point blank range with 5 minutes to go saw the game end 2-0.
    York City Youth Team Manager Tim Ryan was pleased with his side’s efforts against AFC Fylde despite crashing to a 2-0 defeat at Mill Farm. Speaking after the full-time, Ryan commented on his side’s performance, “It was a really tough day out there for us, the conditions dictated how the game went. They (AFC Fylde) had a few chances early on and then at the end there, but they managed to put two of them away. I thought they probably played the conditions better than we did at times, making more right decisions on the ball and we huffed and puffed at times without getting any real joy out of them. Without a shadow of a doubt, they (AFC Fylde) edged the game today, there is no doubting that. We can’t come away from the game thinking we could have won the game, they had enough chances and they took a couple of them. The conclusion to the game was they made better decisions in difficult conditions and they got the joy that they probably did deserve in the end. I said to the lads that it wasn’t down to a lack of effort at all today, we have a very young side and they have all given me effort. If I had to be critical, some of them could be better with some of their decision making, but overall I’m happy with their efforts today in these tough conditions. Decision-making comes with maturity and knowledge within the game, it does come with experience and I’ll keep hammering it into them to help them. “It was just silly things today which let us down, we tried over-playing it from the back in our defensive third and maybe we would have been better getting the ball forward quicker. “I have no qualms though about today’s result, Fylde did better than us and we just have to move onto the next game. We come away very disappointed with the result, but we will just dust ourselves down and prepare for Guiseley next week.”
    CITY: Campbell, McLoughlin, Dale, Cunningham (Lancaster 43’), Haase ( c ); Algar, Owen, Heaton (Ezard 46’), Degruchy, Knowles, Clayton (Jones 54’). Unused Subs: Gordan, Pickles.
    Goals: City: -: Opponents: TBC
    Bookings: City: Clayton (14’), Sheperd (31’), Algar (83’), Dale (90’). Opponents: None.
    Sent Off: City: -. Opponents: -
    Referee: TBC
    Attendance: TBC
  14. BOSTON (H) (14/Jan/22) (National League Youth Alliance League (North)) D 3-3
    YORK City's Under-19s claimed a determined point when they battled back from two goals down to draw 3-3 at home to Boston United on Friday. A second-half brace from Josh Knowles secured a draw for the young Minstermen after Boston had fought back from a goal down to lead 3-1. The result keeps York in fourth place in the National League U19 Alliance table, 10 points behind leaders Solihull Moors with two games in hand. Note, the game was originally scheduled for January 5.
    After early chances for both sides, Billy Gordan gave City the lead in the 17th minute with a curling strike from the edge of the area. The hosts' advantage lasted only nine minutes before the Pilgrims were awarded a penalty after City keeper Michael Hogan was penalised for a foul in the area. He went to his right as the strike went down the middle of the goal. Two minutes on, Boston took the lead with a low effort from the edge of the area. With 7 minutes to the break, Boston, who had been largely the better side took the lead. Hogan came out for a long ball over top and was lobbed from a tight angle. Both sides had chances to add to the scoreline before the half time whistle, with Knowles seeing a header saved and Kieran Clayton's effort cleared off the line, while a Boston effort went just wide of Hogan's right-hand post.
    City were back in it just after the hour mark. Striker Luke Jones flicked on a ball played into the area and Knowles tapped in from very close range. And the equaliser arrived two minutes from time (63 minutes). Both sides had further chances, plus a Boston penalty appeal rejected whilst a Jones goa for City was disallowed for hand ball. On 88 minutes, centre-back Ben Dale hit the post and with Boston failing to clear their lines, Knowles was there to capitalise.
    York City Head of Youth Dan Wilson was pleased with his side’s comeback, speaking after the full-time whistle, he was happy with the changes that were made in the second-half which helped earn them a point. “I think going in at the break 3-1 down was quite tough to take, I think all three goals came from their only three shots in the first half. It wasn’t a 3-1 game (half), and it could have been really easy for the boys to give up, but credit to them that they didn’t and they came out in the second half and gave it a real good go. We changed a few little things in the second half, and you saw the belief when that second goal went in that we were confident we could go out there and try and get another which we did. Overall, I’m happy with the comeback that we’ve pulled off this afternoon.” Top scorer Knowles added another two goals to his account for the season and Wilson was pleased with his forward, who returned to the squad after missing out the last few weeks. “Josh (Knowles) has got a really good record of scoring goals in important games, he’s our top-scorer this season. There’s still more that we want from him, we want him to be more clinical in front of goal. I’ve just had a conversation with him, I said well done with the two goals and he thought he could have had a hat-trick. The big thing for Josh is that he’s been out for the last few weeks and for him to return in his first game back and score twice is excellent from him.” Wilson also showed praise for fellow forward Luke Jones, who has recently returned to the club having spent the last month out on loan at Northern Premier League Division One East side Pickering Town. “I think that loans for young players are really important which can help with their development as a footballer, which gives them the chance to be able to come up against tough opposition in men’s football, whether that’s to prove you can play against the big boys and push for the first team or whether it’s to come back in and improve. I thought that Luke (Jones) had his best game for us so far this season today, he won the vast majority of headers, his hold-up play was excellent and his running off the ball was brilliant. I think that little loan spell away at Pickering has really sparked something for him which is brilliant.”
    CITY: Hogan; McLoughlin, Dale, Cunningham; Lancaster, Algar, Ezard (Heaton, 55), Gordan, Clayton; Sheperd (Knowles, 34'), Jones. Unused Subs (only 3 named): Pickles.
    Goals: City: Knowles (2), Dale. Opponents: TBC (3).
    Bookings: City: - Opponents: -
    Sent Off: City: - Opponents: -
    Referee: TBC
    Attendance: TBC
  15. GUISELEY (A) (19/Jan/22) (National League Youth Alliance League (North)) D 1-1
    The U19s came from behind to secure a 1-1 draw with Guiseley in the National League Alliance U19 Academy North at Nethermoor Park. Max Ezard’s second-half screamer cancelled out Guiseley’s opener, which came from the penalty spot after half an hour.
    The hosts had two decent opportunities to take the lead in West Yorkshire after many spells of dominating possession. A left-footed free-kick was curled over the bar from just outside the area, before the Guiseley forward also fired over from close-range. They were presented with another chance to break the deadlock after a mistake at the back by Lewis Cunningham, but Maison Campbell stood strong to deny the forward with a smart save with his legs after facing a one on one attack. Guiseley took the lead after 30 minutes when Ben Dale handled the ball in the penalty area, which allowed the host’s to score low under Campbell from twelve yards. The best chance for City in the first-half fell to Cunningham, who tested the keeper with a free kick from 30 yards, but his low effort was easily saved by the Guiseley goalkeeper whilst Knowles looked set before being flagged offside.
    Josh Knowles went close to equalising the game for York four minutes into the second half, but after racing clear through on goal, he missed the target from close-range with a left-footed effort. Two minutes later, went close again when Lancaster cut inside and teed up Luke Jones on the edge of the area, but the forward curled his shot high over the bar. City’ equaliser came with 24 minutes to play when Maz Ezard made a brilliant break through the midfield before firing a long-range effort from distance which fizzled into the bottom right corner below the Guiseley goalkeeper. City looked for a winner and they had a chances when a Lewis Cunningham penalty appeal was denied and when Kyle Lancaster fired narrowly wide of goal after a brilliant counter attack by the Minstermen as the sides settled for a draw
    Read Awayonsaturday's blog.
    CITY: Campbell; McLoughlin, Dale, Cunningham, Haase; Algar, Ezard (Heaton 87’), Lancaster, Clayton; Knowles, Jones (Gordan 53’). Unused Subs: (only 4 named): Hogan, Pickles
    Goals: City: Ezard. Opponents: TBC.
    Bookings: City: Dale. Opponents: 2 (#8, #10)
    Sent Off: City: -. Opponents: -
    Referee: TBC
    Attendance: TBC
  16. STOCKPORT (H) (09/Feb/22) (National League Youth Alliance League (North)) D 1-1
    The U19s conceded a late goal in a 1-1 draw at a windy Wigginton Road against Stockport County. Jonny Shepherd’s first-half penalty gave the Young Minstermen the lead at half-time, but they were made to pay and only take a point after conceding late on in the second-half.
    Both sides had an early chance before City took the lead from the penalty spot after a push in the area. Jonny Shepherd stepped up and smashed the spot kick down the middle. Fellow forward Josh Knowles came close to doubling City's lead ten minutes later, but his effort was blocked and cleared away by a County defender. City were well on top during a tough first half with County having 4 players booked in 10 minutes.
    Early into the second half, York spurned three brilliant chances to stretch their lead. Josh Knowles had an effort from close range tipped away by a fingertip save (48’), Jack Degruchy hit the crossbar from inside the penalty area after a good passing move (50’) and Ben Dale’s smart flick on from a corner was tipped away by the keeper (61’). At the other end, Michael Hogan saved comfortably before County hit the crossbar. With 16 minutes to go, Stockport found an equaliser which levelled the game. From a free kick deep out wide, keeper Michael Hogan was unable to hold the ball and it bounced over the line, bringing the visitors back into the game (74’). Late on Kieran Clayton failed with 2 chances to score a winner for City.
    CITY: Hogan; McLoughlin, Dale, Owen, Haase ( c ); Gordon, Degruchy, Ezard (Algar, 70); Knowles, Shepherd (Lancaster, 66), Clayton. Unused Subs: Magwere, Heaton, Pickles
    Goals: Shepherd (p). Opponents: TBC.
    Bookings: City 1 (Haase (73'). Opponents: 5 (#7 (30’), #2 (32’), #8 (35’),#9 (40’), #5 (73’))
    Sent Off: City: -. Opponents: -.
    Referee: TBC
    Attendance: TBC
  17. GUISELEY (H) (16/Feb/22) (National League Youth Alliance League (North)) W 1-0
    A late Luke Jones header secured a 1-0 victory for York City Under 19s against Guiseley in a game previously postponed on 15/12/21 and 02/02/22. York were in control for large periods against the West Yorkshire club and were well on top when second placed Guiseley were reduced to 10 men with just over 20 minutes remaining. Tim Ryan's side are now fourth in the table, eight points adrift of leaders Solihull Moors.
    Playing into a strong wind, City had the better of the first half with Lancaster to the fore. His early cross was missed by 2 City attackers, on 27 minutes his brilliant run was foiled by the legs of the Guiseley keeper and 7 minutes later he was denied by the keeper after being played in by Degruchy. The pair combined again as half time approached but Degruchy fired well over. At the other end, Campbell was forced to make 3 smart saves to keep City level.
    City started the second half strongly with heavy rain adding to the difficult conditions. City were on the front foot, Degruchy and Owen went close before City had a penalty appeal rejected when Knowles tangled with the Guiseley keeper. A few minutes later, a Guiseley defender was shown a straight red card when as last man, he brought down Shepherd (68’). City’s pressure eventually told on 84 minutes when Haase hit the bar with a cross into the area, the ball was played back into the area and Luke Jones powered a header home beyond the keeper to break the deadlock. As the game entered injury time, Campbell pulled off a brilliant save from a curling effort and Jones was denied by the keeper from doubling City’s lead.
    City's youngsters are now fourth in the table, eight points adrift of leaders Solihull Moors.
    Speaking after the game, manager Tim Ryan gave his thoughts on his side’s performance, “The conditions for both sides were really tough, very testing, but we knew yesterday when we all spoke that we knew what we would be coming up against in terms of weather. I thought we did well in the first half, we settled to obviously combat what they had as well as the wind that they had behind them. “Maison (Campbell) was excellent, he made three crucial saves during the game and I thought that he was outstanding for the whole ninety minutes. As were the two centre backs, I thought they both were really competitive and physical, they snubbed out any of their threats through their two forwards. What we try and do as a youth department is try and get them ready for first-team football, physicality is a big part of the men’s game and I thought that both Ben (Dale) and Elliot (Owen) showed that today in their performances”. Ryan was also pleased with the impact that Luke Jones had on the game, after coming off the bench on the hour mark to help his side secure all three points. ”Luke (Jones) had a little loan spell at Pickering before Christmas which will have been beneficial, he trains with us day in day out, he’s improving as a footballer and I feel he’s matured as a leader. We’ve been working on getting the forward’s into the golden zone as we call it, in and around the six yard box and I thought he did that brilliantly today. We’ve hammered this into all the strikers at the club, especially the youth-teamers and I thought Luke was in the right place at the right time today to give us the lead, then two minutes later he got in behind onto a through ball and he’s on the spot again which is brilliant to see”.
    CITY: Campbell; McLoughlin, Dale, Owen, Haase ( c ) (Magwere, 90’); Gordon, Degruchy (Algar, 66’), Ezard (Shepherd, 36); Knowles, Lancaster (Jones, 62’), Clayton. Unused Subs: Hogan.
    OPPONENTS: Hagie Damba; Oli Reape, Jayden John (Thierry Hendrickson), Harrison Leigh, Ellis Farrar, Ricardo Grey, Miguel Valsau (Alex Mather), Folefac Nkem, Brad Wood (Josh Stones), Jakub Hebda, Harry Glover. Sub not used: Dexter Ball.
    Goals: Shepherd (p). Opponents: TBC.
    Bookings: City 2 (Ezard (23’), Degruchy (35’)). Opponents: 1 (DL (80’))
    Sent Off: City: -. Opponents: 1.
    Referee: TBC
    Attendance: TBC
  18. CHESTER (A) (02/Mar/22) (National League Youth Alliance League (North)) L 1-2
    Kieran Clayton’s headed goal was not enough to save City’s Under-19s side from a narrow 2-1 defeat to Chester FC at their Helsby Community Sports Centre home ground.
    The first half saw good chances for Josh Knowles who hit the side netting from a tight angle (9’) and being foiled by a smart save from the Chester keeper from Haase’s cross (20’). Later, Shepherd raced clear and his attempt to the curl the ball into the top right corner flew over (36’)and 3 minutes later, Dale’s strike flew inches over after Chester struggled to clear a corner. At the other end, Chester’s best efforts were from a free kick and a cross but Campbell dealt with both with ease.
    City’s efforts dominated the early stages of the second half. On 57 minutes, after good play by Kyle Lancaster, Jack Degruchy flicked the ball wide of goal. A minute later, Chester’s keeper only received a yellow card after taking out Jonny Shepherd outside the area. The hosts took the lead through Harry Griffiths three minutes after the break in the National League U19 Alliance contest before Clayton headed City level from Haase’s free kick (69’). Parity lasted less than 10 minutes, though, as the young Seals re-took the lead in the 78th minute with a Reece Daley near post header from a set piece. City failed with 2 late chances to equalise.
    Speaking after the full time whistle, Youth Team Manager Tim Ryan felt his team were the better side, dominating possession and having the better chances and was pleased with his side’s performance overall despite crashing to only their third league defeat of the season. "I thought that their performance was excellent, we’re obviously disappointed with the result but we came up against a very strong Chester side today. They’ve always been good for the past two or three years, but I thought we came here today and absolutely dominated the game. We’ve had seven really good chances within the box all game, all really good goal-scoring opportunities with balls bouncing in and around the box, their keeper also made two class saves so credit to the boys today I thought they gave it a really good go. We say it week-in-week-out that we live and die by both boxes, but they’ve done us on a set-piece and one of the lads have said they didn’t follow their runner, before they score off another set-piece which was taken further by the wind and caught us off guard. They’ve had two chances all game which they’ve taken, but I’m pleased that we limited them to further efforts on goal. What we’ve done for the course of the last five to six weeks is focus on the emphasis of the attack in the final third. I haven’t really needed to focus on the defensive side of our game, we’ve been strong there so we wanted to really focus on getting the ball into the box and creating chances for the forwards. We want to score goals, I’ve told the forwards that their careers will determine on whether they score goals or not and I’m pleased that we’re now creating more chances to try and win as many games as possible".
    CITY: Campbell; McLoughlin, Dale, Owen, Haase ( c ), Gordon (Algar,46), Degruchy, Ezard, Knowles (Lancaster, 55’), Shepherd, Clayton. Unused Subs: Heaton, Pickles, Magwere.
    Goals: City: Kieran Clayton (69’): Opponents: Harry Griffiths (48’), Reece Daley (78’)
    Bookings: City: Ezard (62.), Haase (87'). Opponents: #1(Keeper, 58')
    Sent Off: City: -. Opponents: -
    Referee: TBC
    Attendance: TBC
  19. BOSTON (A) (09/Mar/22) (National League Youth Alliance League (North)) W 5-4
    City narrowly overcame Boston by 5-4 in a see saw game on the 3G pitch at Boston’s Jakemans Community Stadium. The U19’s led 3-0 after half-an-hour through goals from Max Ezard, Ben Dale and Elliott Owen, but they were penned back by their opponents, finding themselves 4-3 down on the hour mark. Two late goals though from Jonny Shepherd and Jacob McLoughlin sealed a dramatic late win for Ryan’s side, who return to winning ways after crashing to a narrow defeat at the hands of Chester FC last Wednesday.
    City had an earlier chance before Max Ezard’s long-range screamer caught the wind and flew into the roof of the net beyond the keeper after 2 minutes. Boston pressed for an equaliser and had a penalty appeal turned down before Campbell twice saved smartly. At the other end, Gordon drove forward from midfield and saw his effort fly over the bar from distance (16’). Then City scored twice in quick succession. Ben Dale headed home into the bottom left corner to meet a Tom Algar inswinging free kick from the left (23’) and Elliot Owen scored from close range from a corner (30’), in between, Gordon raced clear through on goal but he can’t execute and saw his effort go over (29’). The goals kept coming, but at the other end as Boston got one back from the penalty spot (32’) and a quick counter attack saw City’s lead reduced to just one goal (40’). Both sides had more chances before half time and only a good save from Campbell saw City end the half in front.
    There were more chances at both ends early in the second half before Boston struck twice in quick succession to take the lead. A wonderful free kick into the top left corner to bring the game level (57’) and Boston took the lead 6 minutes later after a parry by Campbell allowed Boston to take the lead from close range (63’). Now City pressed for an equaliser and Algar had 2 attempts saved (66’ and 74’) before Jonny Shepherd smashed the ball home after Haase’s header from McLoughlin’s cross was parried by the home keeper (78’). 3 minutes later, Jacob McLoughlin headed home the winner from an Algar free-kick to give City the lead. Late on, both sides had chances and Boston’s number picked up 2 yellow cards as City hold on for the 3 points.
    Speaking after the full-time whistle, City Youth Team Manager Tim Ryan spoke about his thoughts on his side’s performance, where he felt they didn’t dominate as much of the game as they should have done. "It was a very tough game today to sum up, we went three nil up inside the opening half-hour but I didn’t feel like the game was done at that point and we found that out after their comeback into the game. I felt throughout we didn’t really dominate, we didn’t get a grip of the game and we were very lucky to come out of today’s game with all three points. A lot of the younger lads played today, it’s really good experience for them and it was an opportunity for them to impress, but I was looking for more from the older lads when the game became a lot closer. I wanted a bit more dominance, communication and leadership from some of the second-years, if they want to progress within the game then these are some of the basics that need to be executed. You can’t go into games thinking you’ll get straight into a men’s side and just walk into the starting eleven, we can’t have that mentality in the squad. You look at the first team defenders, they put themselves on the line, they make sure that they win everything on the floor and in the air and they make sure that they do anything to shut out the opposition. That’s what I want from the lads, doing simple things like this is what will help them progress better and I know that they are all capable". After falling behind in the game Ryan changed the side’s shape, which he felt changed the game and help secure his side all three points. "We changed the shape which I think help inflicted the win, we lost Kieran (Clayton) very early on which didn’t help, but I thought that Jonny (Shepherd) worked his socks off upfront this afternoon and he looked good and worked well when we put Max (Ezard) up there with him in the last quarter. We went quite narrow in the midfield, but I thought that they both worked really well up top together and they took control of the game late on. We did score three goals off set pieces, which is always pleasing for us, but we felt that the change in shape really helped us out in the final third. It gave us more bodies high up on the pitch and we used it to our advantage".
    CITY: Campbell; McLoughlin, Owen, Dale, Haase ( c ), Algar, Gordon, Ezard, Lancaster (Pickles 73’), Shepherd, Clayton (Magwere 13’). Unused Subs (only 3 subs named): Hogan.
    Goals: City: Ezard, Dale, Owen, Shepherd and McLoughlin: Opponents: TBC
    Bookings: City: -. Opponents: -
    Sent Off: City: -. Opponents: #2 (2 yellow cards)
    Referee: TBC
    Attendance: TBC
  20. NOTTS CO (H) (16/Mar/22) (National League Youth Alliance League (North)) D 2-2
    After a goal in each half from Jonny Shepherd put City on top, 2 goals in the last 15 minutes saw Notts County fight back for a draw.
    CITY: Campbell; McLoughlin, Owen, Dale, Haase ( c ), Algar, Degruchy Lancaster, Shepherd, Clayton, Jones. Unused Subs (only 4 subs named, usage tbc ): Heaton, Pickles, Magwere, Hogan.
    Goals: City: shepherd (92): Opponents: -
    Bookings: City: TBC. Opponents: TBC
    Sent Off: City: TBC. Opponents: TBC
    Referee: TBC
    Attendance: TBC
  21. SOLIHULL MOORS (A) (23/Mar/22) (National League Youth Alliance League (North)) D 0-0
    City put in a good performance to hold league leaders Solihull Moors to a 0-0 draw in the West Midlands and remain on the fringes of a 6 team breakaway at the top of the league.
    City went close on 2 minutes when Degruchy’s low cross found Shepherd in the area whose goal bound effort was kept out by a smart save. At the other end, in the first 20 minutes, Campbell made 3 good saves to keep the scores level before City finished the half strongly with a fierce right footed effort by Lancaster and Shepherd forcing the home keeper to make good saves.
    After Shepherd got in behind the Solihull defence and made their keeper act quickly to come and gather the ball (48 minutes), Campbell made 2 more saves (60 and 66 minutes) to keep the game goalless. As in the first half, City became more dominant as the half progressed with a Pickles header (75 minutes) and Shepherd curler (78 minutes) failing to break the deadlock.
    Speaking after the full time whistle, manager Tim Ryan expressed his delight at his side’s performance after making it three games unbeaten in a row. "I was really pleased with that today, I said to them at the end there when we put in some below-par performances in, it gives me a chance to have a go at them and they're able to use our feedback to their advantage and use it to learn. Coming to a team here today who are top of the league was always going to be tough, they aren't top of the league by chance, they're a good side who deserve to be where they are. I thought that we have shown some consistency today, we looked really good on the ball and composed and I thought we was excellent throughout. The league we're in is a really competitive league, the lads have got themselves a good pathway to develop and we as a club want to bring through as many young players as we can. They need to make sure that after today's performance that they continue to deliver and aim to finish the season strong. I want them all to do well, both myself and Dan (Wilson) drive them all with passion to ensure we get consistent performances out of them. When we look at performances, we know we can perform against the teams near the top of the league, but sometimes we switch off against teams near the bottom and they just think that we can roll them over and it's not as simple as that. If they achieve what we want them to do, learn the game of football and learn to be consistent, then it will enhance their chances of making a proper career for themselves."
    CITY: Campbell; McLoughlin, Owen, Dale, Haase ( c ) (Pickles, 31’), Algar, Degruchy, Ezard (Heaton, 80’), Lancaster, Shepherd, Clayton. Unused Subs (only 3 named): Hogan.
    Goals: City: -: Opponents: -
    Bookings: City: Ezard (53'). Opponents: #3 (68')
    Sent Off: City: -. Opponents: -
    Referee: TBC
    Attendance: TBC
  22. AFC FYLDE (H) (30/Mar/22) (National League Youth Alliance League (North)) W 2-1
    City's Under 19s came from behind to secure a vital three points with a 2-1 win over AFC Fylde thanks to late goals from Kieran Clayton and Jonny Shepherd.
    AFC Fylde went ahead on 8 minutes after a good passing move. The visitors remained on the offensive and it wasn’t until the 36th minute when Ezard tried a through ball to Clayton which had too much pace on it and it rolled out for a goal kick. 5 minutes later, Ezard curled a free kick over from just outside the area.
    City pressed strongly early in the second half. After 47 minutes, Lancaster squared the ball to half time sub Degruchy whose fierce effort from the edge of the area was kept out by the keeper. 4 minutes later, the keeper comfortably save Haase’s curled free-kick. Another imaginative free kick saw Owen fire wide at the far post. On 65 minutes Kieran Clayton headed home from close range to level the scores. Sub Jones headed over before Degruchy played a lovely through ball to Jonny Shepherd who fired across the keeper to give City the winner on 82 minutes.
    CITY: Campbell; McLoughlin, Owen, Dale, Haase ( c ), Algar, Gordon (Degruchy, 46), Ezard, Lancaster (Jones, 66), Shepherd, Clayton. Unused Subs: Hogan, Heaton, Pickles.
    Goals: City: Clayton, Shepherd: Opponents: -
    Bookings: City: TBC. Opponents: TBC.
    Sent Off: City: -. Opponents: -
    Referee: TBC
    Attendance: TBC
  23. CHESTER (H) (06/Apr/22) (National League Youth Alliance League (North)) W 3-1
    10 men City beat Chester 3-1 with goals from Kyle Lancaster, Jonny Haase and Jonny Shepherd on a blustery afternoon to stay 3rd in the table just above their opponents in a game postponed from October 13 due to FA Youth Cup commitments.
    City had the better of the early chances with Lancaster, Ezard and Haase going close before Kyle Lancaster gave City the lead with a close range finish from a brilliant cross from Degruchy on 29 minutes. 2 minutes before half time, Ben Dale made a brilliant block to send City into the break with a one goal lead.
    City doubled their lead on 57 minutes courtesy of Jonny Haase. From 30 yards out, he curled a free kick into the area and with the assistance of the wind, the ball flew over the keeper into the top left corner. 3 minutes later, City were down to 10 men when keeper Maison Campbell was shown a straight red card after coming out of his area and taking down a Chester forward. With 11 minutes to go, Chester pulled a goal back when a free man at the far post volleyed home from a corner. A minute later, it was a number 9 dream as City introduced recenlty signed young debutant striker George Harrison (if only John Lennon hadn’t written that song, the pun might have made more sense – Ed). As Chester pushed for an equaliser, Degruchy drew a corner for City and on 89 minutes, a long ball forward was taken down by Jonny Shepherd who found the keeper well off his line and he finished into the bottom left from the edge of the area. There was still time for sub George Harrison to win the ball on halfway, drive forward, only to fire narrowly wide across the face of the goal from a tight angle.
    Speaking after the full-time whistle, Ryan spoke with delight after seeing his side secure yet another league win. ”“I’m really happy with not only the result this afternoon, but also the performance. I thought for 95% of the game that the boys showed some really good footballing knowledge, obviously we gifted them a bit of an advantage when Maison (Campbell) was sent off, but I thought that for the last half hour with ten men that we defended brilliantly as a whole unit. It showed that from the defence to the attack today, the lads have taken on the feedback myself and Dan (Wilson) have given them over the course of the season, which is only going to benefit them all in the long-run. I think a performance like this has been coming for weeks, most recently we have focused on getting the ball into the area from out wide within the final third and I thought that the boys executed that today. We had a blip in performances a couple of months ago now, but ever since the 5-4 win at Boston five weeks ago, I thought that we have really gelled as a footballing side and we have shown people on the pitch what we are about. To come out today and dominate the game was pleasing with eleven men, I think that even with ten men we frustrated them at times and sat well in defence, but to then steal a goal on the counter-attack to put the game to bed topped off a good afternoon for us”. He went on, “(Next week we play) Chesterfield (who) are another good side, they’re a squad full of strong lads who will want to make sure they make it hard for us as they look to do the double over us this season. They secured a lucky late winner against us here earlier in the season and we know that they’ll be competitive, but we will go into that game full of confidence. Day in, day out I speak with all of the lads and I’m sure it’s visible to see that the confidence is flowing amongst the players at the moment. All of the second year scholars are giving it their all currently as they look to secure a pro deal with the club and all of the first years have really progressed this year beyond expectations. They’ve taken advice on from not just me, but a handful of coaches this season and credit to the boys, they’ve really taken that advice on board and we’ve looked as a very good team for the previous six to eight weeks in games”.
    CITY: Campbell; McLoughlin, Owen, Dale, Haase ( c ), Algar, Degruchy, Ezard (Hogan (Gk), 61’), Lancaster (Harrison, 80’), Shepherd, Clayton. Unused Subs: Gordon, Heaton, Magwere.
    Goals: City: x: Opponents: -
    Bookings: City: Algar (74'). Opponents: -
    Sent Off: City: Campbell (60'). Opponents: -
    Referee: TBC
    Attendance: TBC
  24. CHESTERFIELD (A) (13/Apr/22) (National League Youth Alliance League (North)) W 2-1
    City’s Under 19 side came from behind to secure a third successive win with a 2-1 win at Chesterfield at Staveley Miners Welfare FC ground in a game re-arranged from January 26. Max Ezard and Billy Gordon came off the bench to secure the win for the Minstermen after a goalless first half. Young striker George Harrison made his first start for the side.
    CITY: Hogan; McLoughlin, Owen, Dale, Haase ( c ), Algar, Degruchy, Lancaster, Harrison, Shepherd, Clayton. Subs (used, introduction unknown): Gordon, Ezard Subs (usage unknown): Heaton, Magwere. (Just 4 named)
    Goals: City: Ezard, Gordon. Opponents: TBC
    Bookings: City: TBC. Opponents: TBC
    Sent Off: City: TBC. Opponents: TBC
    Referee: TBC
    Attendance: TBC
  25. BLYTH (H) (22/Apr/22) (National League Youth Alliance League (North)) W 5-0
    City secured a comfortable 5-0 win this afternoon over bottom of the league Blyth Spartans with goals from Kyle Lancaster (2), Ben Dale, Jonny Shepherd and Luke Jones in a re-arranged game postponed from February 23.
    City were generally on top and some good early play was rewarded saw Shepherd and Clayton go close before City’s pressure told on 45 minutes when Johnny Shepherd smashed ball into the bottom right corner from the penalty spot after he had been taken out by the keeper.
    City dominated the 2nd with goals from a Kyle Lancaster (52’) tap in from a George Harrison cross, Ben Dale (60’) header from Johnny Hasse’s cross, Kyle Lancaster (70’) who was played in by a superb Billy Gordon through ball and Luke Jones (83’) from another Haase cross.
    It was an impressive attacking display by City whilst at the other end, Campbell dealt competently with the few chances that Blyth created.
    Note, City's media department previewed the lineup via video and put Ben Dales's goal on social media.
    Speaking after the game, Ryan expressed his delight after witnessing his side record five league goals in a game for the second time this season. ”The first half performance I felt that we struggled a little bit, this was down to the wind and even though we played with it behind us in the first period, I just felt at times that we misjudged our passes and put a little on them too much. I said to the boys at half-time try not to get frustrated, keep at what you’re trying to do and I felt the ball was really held up well against the wind in the second-half. We were getting lots of joy in the final-third and it didn’t really start until around the 55th minute where we started to break them down, but the second-half performance from the boys was excellent and they’ve all performed well once again. I say it every week and we want to ensure the boys retain the standards that we set and I thought they really took them on board today and they put in a really professional performance in that second-half. Results are important and obviously the standards we set, but all of the second year scholars out there today ensured they played to their best standards. We also got to see a lot from the first year scholars, which was really pleasing to see as well ahead of next season. I felt that the boys have really taken on board what myself and Dan (Wilson) have said to them recently and worked on, it’s been about getting balls into the area in the final third and I think our performance really showed that they’ve taken it on board. It’s always up to the forward as your main man to ensure you stick the ball in the back of the net, but I thought all of our attackers played really well today. Kyle (Lancaster) was on his game today and I felt that he was excellent, he deserved his two goals and I’m really pleased with his performance. Kieran (Clayton) also did well, as did George (Harrison) after coming on at half-time and he played some really good balls across into the area. Overall, I’m really happy with the boys and we move on to our final league game of the season.”
    CITY: Campbell; McLoughlin, Owen (Heaton, 66), Dale, Haase ( c ); Algar, Gordon, Ezard (Harrison, 46); Lancaster, Shepherd (Jones, 66), Clayton (Magwere, 66). Subs (Unused): Hogan.
    Goals: City: Lancaster (2), Dale, Shepherd, Jones. Opponents: -
    Bookings: City: Ezard (42'), Shepherd (65'), Haase (74'). Opponents: -
    Sent Off: City: -. Opponents: #9 (84', 2 yellow cards)
    Referee: TBC
    Attendance: TBC
  26. FC HALIFAX (H) (27/Apr/22) (National League Youth Alliance League (North)) W 1-0
    City beat FC Halifax 1-0 in a tight game thanks to a Jonny Shepherd goal to finish their season with an unbeaten 8 game run and cement third place, 8 points behind champions Solihull Moors and 3 points behind runners up AFC Fylde.
    It was a fairly even first half with neither side taking a foothold in the game. City had early chances, but it took a brilliant tackle by Clayton, dropping back to left back to replace captain Haase on the day, to keep the scores level (17 minutes). City had more of the play, Degruchy had an effort turned around the post by the keeper (27 minutes) before Jonny Shepherd prodded the ball home from close range after Ben Dale had headed across goal from a corner.
    City had the better chances after the break through Shepherd (57 minutes), Owen (64 minutes) and a triple chance when Shepherd was denied by the keeper, the follow up from Jones hit the post before the second follow up by Shepherd was cleared off the line (72 minutes). However, it took a brilliant save by Maison Campbell (70 minutes) to keep City ahead.
    After the full-time whistle, Youth Team Manager Tim Ryan expressed his delight with how his side have performed over the second-half of the season, branding them as the ‘best team’ in the division since Christmas. "I think the boys have been excellent in the second-half of the season, our form has been outstanding and I think we’ve been the best team in the league since Christmas. We saw the game out today by basically getting over the line really, which is a good trait to have. Myself and Dan (Wilson) are really chuffed for the result, but the main positive to take out of today’s game is to look at how far the boys have come on throughout the course of the season. It seems like a long-time ago now since we started the season, but the boys have done incredibly well this second-half of the season to come together as a team and play some really good football out there. (Today) it was a typical end of the season performance from the boys this afternoon, they (Halifax) have got the league cup final next week and they’ve got a big game coming up, the players will want to do well in that and in preparation for that they came here and gave us a good battle in the middle of the park. I think every single player has played their part this season, but the connection between Maison (Campbell) and the two centre-halves (Elliot Owen and Ben Dale) has been crucial to us, especially in the second-half of the season. All three lads have brought leadership qualities to the side and they have helped set the standards which all of the boys have followed brilliantly."
    Note, City's media department previewed the team via a video lineup.
    CITY: Campbell; McLoughlin, Owen, Dale, Clayton; Algar, Gordon, Degruchy (Heaton, 59’); Harrison (Jones, 59’), Shepherd, Lancaster (Ezard, 59’). Subs (Unused): Magwere, Hogan.
    Goals: City: Shepherd: Opponents: -
    Bookings: City: McLoughlin (83'), Heaton (90'+1). Opponents: -
    Sent Off: City: -. Opponents: -
    Referee: TBC
    Attendance: TBC

Note, across the season, the names Billy Gordon / Gordan and Jonny / Johnny Shepherd / Sheperd have been used by City. Much of the information is taken from City's social media accounts and may not be fully complete or accurate.

Under 19s - The Final Whistle?

With 5 first season professionals eligible to play Under 19 league games, Jonny Haase captained the Under 19s and Jack Degruchy was often seen to the fore in midfield. Upfront, Luke Jones found his opportunities limited alongside loan spells with lower league sides. Lewis Cunningham made a favourable early season impression before loan spells elsewhere. Maison Campbell was a regular in goal for the Under 19s and first team bench warmer.

Of the scholars, Ben Dale, a centre back made the first team bench on a number of occasions during the second half of the season, alongside some praise from Under 19 manager Tim Ryan. Dale and his centre back partner Elliot Owen played 18 games together, in those games City had 7 clean sheets and conceded just 18 goals. Early season saw forwards Kyle Lancaster play for the first team as a substitute against Morpeth (FA Cup) and Josh Knowles make the first team bench at around the same time.

City finished the league in 3rd place, 8 points behind champions Solihull Moors and 3 points behind runners up AFC Fylde.

Scorers were: Johnny Shepherd (12), Knowles (8), Clayton (5), Cunningham (4), Lancaster (4), Ezard (3), Jones (3), Gordon (2), Owen (2), McLoughlin (2), Dale (2), Hasse (1), Own Goal (1). Total 49 goals.

In The FA Youth Cup, City won 2 ties before going out to South Shields. In the league, although always well placed, City were never realistically in the title race come the turn of the year and finished the season unbeaten in 8 games.

Meanwhile, the gap between youth and men’s football seems as wide as ever with no reserve team football to bridge the gap and managers seeking instant success with experienced professionals.

Given the lack of first team opportunities, it is hard to envisage that many of this season’s crop can expect first team football next season. That said, 4 (Dale, Elliott, Shepherd and Lancaster) of the 5 year 2 scholars were offered a pro contract, Josh Knowles being the exception.

North Riding Senior Cup

WHITBY TOWN (A) (11/Jan/22) (North Riding Senior Cup, Round 2) L 1-4

After a 2 season coronavirus hiatus, City returned to North Riding Senior Cup action. A City side, featuring squad and youth team players competed against North Yorkshire's finest hoping to add to City's 11 wins in the competition. City were due to enter the competition at the latter stages in November but the game was re-arranged due to first team commitments.

City entered and exited the North Riding Senior Cup Round 2 (last 16) when a young side went down 4-1 at Whitby in January. The starting line up featured 7 players who’ve played for the youth side this season with 5 more on the bench, in a side guided from the touchline by assistant manager Kingsley James and youth team coach Dan Wilson. Joint Manager and former City player Lee Bullock named himself in Whitby’s starting eleven, which also featured former York players Nathan Dyer, Jonny Burn, Jaseem Sukar, Bradley Fewster, Coleby Shepherd and Lewis Hawkins at the Towbar Express Stadium.

City gifted deserved winners Whitby 2 goals (and Whitby missed a penalty) before Mackenzie Heaney scored a lovely free kick. City had rattled the bar minutes earlier and later had 3 or 4 other good efforts to level before 2 goals in a minute near the end sealed City’s fate. Heaney was much better in a midfield role in last third of game whilst Hopper and Fielding were solid if not spectacular. DeGruchy was also to the fore. In goal. Maison Campbell will feel disappointed with his performance.

The home side took an early lead after only seven minutes, courtesy of an own goal. A corner was played into the area by Josh MacDonald, City goalkeeper Maison Campbell came to clear the ball, but he miscued his punch as the ball ended up in the back of the net. Fielding had a curling free-kick turned away for a corner by Whitby keeper Shane Bland, before the centre-back had a header cleared off the line by a blue shirt from the resulting corner. Marcus Giles nearly doubled the home side’s lead after 17 minutes but he was denied by the legs of Campbell from close-range, before MacDonald fired over the bar from a tight angle on the right after being allowed too much time on the ball. Jack Degruchy side footed an effort wide of Bland’s right-hand post just short of the half-hour mark, before Heaney curled a low effort into the hands from the edge of the area after cutting inside onto his left foot to shoot.

Second-half substitute Hazel couldn’t hit the target for the home side early into the second half as he met a cross in from the left-hand side at the back post, before Heaney drilled wide of goal from the edge of the area for City minutes later. Whitby doubled their lead in the 58th minute through Hazel, beating Campbell at his near post with a low curling effort from the edge of the area (2-0). Heaney was unlucky not to get the Minstermen back into the game just after the hour mark as he struck the crossbar with a fierce strike from the edge of the penalty area. The home side won a penalty in the 65th minute after Campbell brought down substitute Bradley Fewster. Hazel stepped up to take it as he searched for his second goal of the game, but he blasted his effort fiercely high over the bar. Mackenzie Heaney got the Minstermen back into the game with just under twenty minutes to play, curling a free kick low beyond Shane Bland into the bottom left corner to give the away side a lifeline (2-1). City looked for an equaliser through substitute Jonny Shepherd, who was denied by a smart save from Bland as he tried his luck from range, before fellow substitute Kieran Clayton fired a fierce effort inches wide of the Whitby keeper’s right-hand post. Shepherd scored the home side’s third goal of the evening with a fierce strike from the edge of the area after York failed to clear the ball away from their penalty area from a corner (3-1). It got better a minute later for Whitby as they made it 4-1 through Griffiths, who lobbed Campbell from the edge of the area to put the game to bed (4-1).
CITY: Campbell, McLoughlin, Dale, Fielding, Haase; Whitfield ( c ), Hopper, Degruchy; Lancaster (Clayton 66'), Jones (Sheperd 56'), Heaney. Unused Subs: Hogan, Gordan, Heaton.
OPPONENTS: Bland ( c ), Dyer, Hackett, Gell (Hazel 46'), Burn (Fewster 46'), Sukar, MacDonald, Hawkins, Bullock, Giles (Griffiths 46'), Shepherd. Unused Subs: Cranston.
Goals: City: Heaney (69): Opponents: Campbell (7', OG), Hazel (58'), Shepherd (86'), Bullock (87')
Bookings: -. Opponents: -
Sent Off: City: -. Opponents: -
Referee: David Holmes
Attendance: 362

Pre Season Friendlies - For The Record

  • WHITBY (A) (10/Jul/21) D 1-1
    Ex City loanee Bradley Fewster gave Whitby a first half lead before goals from MacKenzie Heaney (who played as Trialist G) and Clayton Donaldson (who was named as a player) gave City a 2-1 win. Always posing a threat, Heaney, an attacking left sided attacking midfield was brought down just outside area and scored direct from resulting free kick. Returning Sam Fielding (Defensive Midfield) also played as "Trialist B". A day later it was announced that Heaney had signed a contract with City.
    CITY (First Half): Jameson, Trialist A (right back), Newton (DC), Brown (DC), Haase (left back), Trialist B (good reviews as holding midfielder in front of back 4), Trialist C, Trialist D, Degruchy (left midfield), Dyson, Gilchrist
    CITY (First Half): Jameson, Duckworth, King, Trialist E, Barrow, Wright, Trialist F, McLaughlin, Trialist G, Jones, Donaldson
    Goals: CITY: Trialist 'G' (aka Heaney) (76), Donaldson (87): TBC. WHITBY: Fewster (44)
  • NEWCASTLE (H) (18/Jul/21) W 1-0
    With 87 minutes on the clock, after determined work from an attacking midfield trialist, Michael Duckworth looped a header over Langley from left back Scott Barrow's cross and watched it nestle in the back of the net to give City a well earned win.
    Footnote: The Newcastle friendly saw Clayton Donaldson named on the team sheet and over the tannoy as "Don Trialist" following an objection by his former club, Bradford City despite being prominently featured in the matchday programme. A standard contract clause is that when a player's contract expires, he is due one month's "redundancy" pay from the club he is leaving. Donaldson's signing for City was announced in June with the agreement of Bradford City but after Donaldson was named and played against Whitby (July 10), Bradford's CEO, Ryan Sparks wrongly argued that City should pay his June / July wages due from Bradford City, hence "Don Trialist". This situation of released players dropping down the leagues must occur many times every summer, Steve McNulty was in a similar situation a year earlier, but only Bradford City sought to try to pass the redundancy pay situation onto a player's next club.
    CITY: Whitley, Duckworth, King, Newton (Brown 45), Barrow, Dyson (Trialist A 74), Wright (Woods 59), McLaughlin, Heaney (Trialist D 59), Don Trialist (Trialist C 79), Willoughby (Gilchrist 59). Unused Subs: Trialist B (Keeper), Degruchy, Whitfield, Jones
    NEWCASTLE: Langley, Murphy, Fernandez (Dummett 69), Lascelles (Lewis 45), Watts, Ritchie, Hayden, Hendrick (S Longstaff 60), Fraser (M Longstaff 60), Joelinton (Gayle 18, Muto 79), Wilson (Saint-Maximin 45). Unused Subs: Thompson, Clark.
    Goals: CITY: Duckworth.

    Referee: Rebecca Welch (first female referee at LNER)
    Attendance: 2,000 (and 20,000+ peak virtual views on YouTube)
    Man of the Match (chosen by Reel Production Group): Patrick McLaughlin
  • SUNDERLAND (H) (21/Jul/21) D 1-1
    A young trialist, who played the first half at Whitby and the final stages of Sunday, started in holding midfield in place of Akil Wright while Michael Woods replaced Paddy McLaughlin in the centre of the park. Jason Gilchrist displaced Kurt Willoughby as the only change among the attackers. Sunderland had the better of the first half but City found themselves on a more even keel in the second half, with the addition of the deeper lying Willoughby giving more options to relieve the Sunderland pressure, and add some of their own. The visitors still posed a threat and, after York had shifted to a 3-5-2 (Paddy McLaughlin and Jack Degruchy out wide with Michael Duckworth and Scott Barrow flanking Matty Brown). Jameson was twice called on to make some fine saves. Midfield trialists were Hooper ('C') and Fielding ('A').
    Due to the easing of restrictions which allows for an increased capacity in hospitality, YCFC Hospitality & Events offered a bar only hospitality experience, which included match ticket, executive padded seat, matchday programme, and teamsheet for just 17 pounds.
    CITY: Whitley (Jameson 46), Duckworth, King (Degruchy 63), Newton (Wright 46), Barrow, Trialist A (young, holding midfield) (McLaughlin 46), Woods (Brown 46), Dyson (Trialist C 63), Heaney, Trialist B (Donaldson), Gilchrist (Willoughby 46). Subs not used: Jones.
    SUNDERLAND: Burge; Younger, Flanagan, Doyle (Richardson, 61), Dyce (Newall, 79); Evans (Hawkes, 61), Neil, Embleton; Gooch (Diamond, 26), McGeady (Kimpioka, 79), Stewart (O'Brien, 61).. Unused Subs: -.
    Goals: CITY: Willoughby (51); SUNDERLAND: Neil (29)

    Referee: Ross Joyce (Cleveland)
    Attendance: 2,000 (14,231 peak live viewers on YouTube)
    Man of the Match: Scott Barrow
  • SCARBOROUGH (H) (24/Jul/21) W 4-1
    City beat Scarborough 4-1 behind closed doors at our training ground according to social media reports.
    Goals: CITY: Willoughby, Heaney, Gilchrist, Dyson; SCARBOROUGH: tbc
  • MIDDLESBROUGH (H) (27/Jul/21) W 2-1
    After conceding an early goal, City had the better of play against, according to many, a poor Boro side.
    CITY: Jameson, Duckworth, Barrow (Degruchy 71), Trialist 'A' (CD, Fielding (#17)), Brown, McLaughlin, Dyson (Trialist 'B' 67), Wright, Heaney (Willoughby 61), Donaldson, Beck (Woods 61). Unused Subs: Trialist 'C', Whitley, Jones.
    MIDDLESBROUGH: Middlesbrough: Lumley (Stojanovic 64), Dijksteel (Wood 64), Hall (Peltier 64), Fry (Bamba 64), McNair (Robinson 64), Howson (Hackney 64), Crooks (Malley 64), Morsy (Coburn 64), Spence, Paterson (Jones HT), Ikpeazu (Akpom 61). Unused Subs: -.
    Goals: CITY: Heaney (25), Beck (40): MIDDLESBROUGH: Fry (6).

    Referee: Ross Joyce (Cleveland)
    Attendance: 2,014 (and 9,059 peak viewers on YouTube Livestream)
    Man of the Match: 'Trialist A' (Sam Fielding, played DC but had earlier played as a DM)
  • OSSETT UNITED (A) (03/Aug/21) W 1-0
    A Kurt Willoughby goal gave City a 1-0 win. City fielded a trialist right back (possibly Henry Nash) who is too old for youth team, but him and Paddy apart, Steve Watson noted that the finishing side was the Under 19 2021/2 youth side.
    Ossett fielded City loanees Archie Whitfield and Reon Potts plus former youth team players keeper Jake Teale and the impressive wide man Aaron Haswell.
    CITY: Whitley (Campbell 62), Woods (Dale 73), Fielding (Owen 73), Duckworth (Sheppard HT ((Sheppard noted twice, this one believed to be Haase)), Hopper (Lancaster 73), Heaney (Degruchy 62), Willoughby (Sheppard 62), Knowles (McLaughlin HT), Trialist 'A', Trialist 'B' (Trialist 'C' 73), Beck (Jones 62). Unused Subs: -.
    OSSETT U: Teale, Trialist 'A', Hardaker, Hogg, Killock, McGiven, Connelly, Whitfield, Potts, Haswell, Chipamaunga. Subs: Trialist 'F', Clark, Trialist 'D', Trialist 'E', Hussain, Levi-Lewis.
    Goals: CITY: Willoughby (53).

    Referee: Gareth Thomas
    Attendance: 502
    Man of the Match: Sam Fielding
  • NOTTS COUNTY (A) (07/Aug/21) D 1-1
    KURT WILLOUGHBY scored a brace as City rounded off their pre-season preparations in ideal style with a 3-2 win at National League outfit Notts County. It was a second season in a row that the Minstermen came away from Meadow Lane with a confidence boosting victory in thoroughly entertaining circumstances.
    Missing Scott Barrow, Josh King and Matty Brown, York were maybe two players shy of what might be considered their strongest side ahead of the big kick off. Consequently, the defence featured Sam Fielding (centre back) and Paddy McLaughlin (left back). County fielded former City loanee Kyle Cameron.
    Willoughby got the ball rolling with the opener for City, who went into the break 2-1 down, before Beck levelled following good work from Paddy McLaughlin. City tired towards the end but found the strength to dig out one more defining chance through Willoughby, while Pete Jameson pulled off some mighty saves.
    Willoughby put City ahead in the 18th minute. After his good work down the left, Beck had a close-range shot clawed away on the line before McLaughlin's effort was blocked. When keeper Sam Slocombe came out to claim, the determined Willoughby forced him to mishandle and nutmegged him from five yards out. Home fans were unhappy Willoughby had the chance to shoot, believing Slocombe had the ball in his hands.
    On 28 minutes, County equalised through Cal Roberts' curling left footer which bounced down off the cross bar and was adjudged to have crossed the line. There were chances for both sides before Joel Taylor put County ahead on 37 minutes when his cross took a significant deflection catching Jameson out and looping into the keeper’s bottom left corner.
    Roberts might have added a third before the break were it not for the intervention of one of his own players. Wright was pulled up for a heavy, albeit clumsy, tackle on the edge of the area and Roberts thundered the free kick towards goal and straight into a Magpies man.
    On 49 minutes, City were level through Beck. McLaughlin delivered a fantastic cross from the dead-ball line and Beck had the simplest chance from the far post to nod beyond the scrambling Slocombe.
    County's Taylor picked up the first yellow card seen in any York game of this pre-season after pursuing rather too doggedly Dyson before bringing him down when the tricky midfielder evaded his attentions. Roberts came alarmingly close to restoring County's lead. His effort trickled inches wide of Jameson’s right-hand post, but, more worryingly, he had set himself up by jinking his way through a packed York box without anyone getting a toe to the ball. Jameson did very well midway through the second period to stand up to substitute Connell Rawlinson, whose powerful effort from a tight angle the City stopper blocked confidently.
    Under increasing home pressure with just over a quarter of an hour remaining, City's only chance for 20 minutes, when substitute Woods found plenty of space but only curled into Slocombe's gloves was Beck lobbed feebly wide after spotting Slocombe off his line. With City fading, a draw looked to be the best outcome they could hope for, but Willoughby had other ideas. He perfectly killed Beck's headed flick-on at his feet and ran through on goal. His powerful low effort squirmed under Slocombe.
    CITY: Jameson, Duckworth (Hopper 72), Fielding, Newton, McLaughlin; Wright, Heaney, Dyson; Donaldson (Woods 56), Willoughby, Beck. Unused Subs: Campbell, Haase, Trialist 'A', Jones, Degruchy, Knowles.
    NOTTS COUNTY: Slocombe, Chicksen (Rawlinson HT), Cameron, Brindley, Taylor, Kelly-Evans (Nemane 61), Francis, Palmer, Roberts (O’Brien 75), Wootton, Mitchell (Sam 61). Unused Subs: Brooks, McGregor.
    Goals: CITY: Willoughby (18, 83), Beck (49). COUNTY: Roberts (28), Taylor (37).

    Referee: Martyn Fryer
    Attendance: 2,095 (167 York fans)
    Man of the Match: x
    Match Stats (County / City): Shots (on target): 17 (6) / 10 (8); Corners: 8 / 3; Offsides: 1 / 4; Fouls: 8 / 4; Yellow cards: 1 (Taylor) / 0; Red cards: 0 /0.
  • Footnote: The 3 home games were live streamed on youtube attracting over 44,000 viewers across over 50 countries (UK, Ireland, Australia, Indonesia, United States and Brazil included) raising £4,415 for City. As covid restrictions lifted, City’s matchday hospitality offerings expanded across the 3 games. Over 800 hospitality guests were welcomed to the new look matchday experiences. Ex City striker Iain Dunn hosted the Lounge Experience and the Jorvik Bar alongside special guest appearances from Andy Leaning and ex-Premier League referee Jeff Winter, while all six Executive Boxes and a number of Matchday Sponsorships were quickly snapped up within days of going on-sale in June.