Three points from York
By Liz Owen
Fleetwood Town gave a confident and assured performance to comfortably beat former Blue Square Bet Premier compatriots York City away from home.
Junior Brown and substitute Steven Gillespie scored in either half as Town excellently soaked up early pressure from the home side to respond well to claim back-to-back victories which sees them maintain third place in the npower League 2 table.
Gillespie, who had only been on the field for five minutes, coolly slotted past Minstermen ‘keeper Michael Ingham seven minutes from time following a Brown through ball to seal a well-earned third away win and sixth clean sheet of the season.
Town had taken the lead after 35 minutes, despite their opponents looking more dangerous on the offensive. Nevertheless, Brown netted his fourth of the campaign with a sublime effort from outside the area, Tom Barkhuizen cutting inside from the left to supply him after the foundations of the move were constructed by Dean Howell and Brown himself.
David Ball almost scored his second goal in consecutive games shortly after the hour mark after running onto Damien Johnson’s elegant through ball and edging around City ‘keeper Ingham, but his effort on goal bounced off the post.
This seemed to wake York up and encouraged the Bootham Crescent faithful to noisily spur on their side, but Brown flicked away Coulson’s free-kick after Shaun Beeley upended Jason Walker. It didn’t take long for Town to resume their attacking strength, however. Ball again found space down the left flank and managed to reach the byline to poke the ball towards the waiting Nicholson, but Jamal Fyfield scrambled the ball behind.
York made a double substitution as 70 minutes approached, bringing on home debutant Oli Johnson and Lee Bullock in place of Coulson and Daniel Parslow respectively. Johnson was inches away from making an almost instant impact after finding himself in plenty of space to shoot, but fortunately for Town, Youl Mawene just got a touch to guide the ball wide.
Fleetwood initially weren’t allowed sufficient space to play their natural passing, attacking game as York enjoyed the better of the first-half chances, while a light but wind-influenced downpour made for difficult conditions as the 108-strong travelling Cod Army contingent had to stand on uncovered terraces. Immediately after referee Gary Sutton signalled the beginning of play, York were on the offensive, looking to build on their weekend victory over Aldershot with a host of chances inside the first 10 minutes.
Matty Blair forced Scott Davies into a save off his line while Ashley Chambers fired wide from the left. Minutes later, Fyfield was left unmarked down the left flank and given the chance to roam forward into space and fire a shot at Davies, who was on hand once more to turn the ball away. From the resulting corner, possession fell to Michael Coulson, who sent a fierce strike crashing against the crossbar.
The home side demonstrated their swift counter-attacking threat with Jason Walker and Coulson exchanging passes as they ventured forward, with Alex Marrow and eventually David Ball left to clear the danger. Patrick McLaughlin also sent Town a warning sign as his strike from distance fell narrowly wide. Brown, as usual, was at the forefront of Town’s early forward play, as he twisted and turned his way to the edge of the penalty area but saw his attempted pass through to Ball cleared. Jamie McGuire supplied Brown minutes later but his efforts at the byline were cleared by Jon Challinor. Fleetwood’s leading goalscorer also earned his fourth booking of the season after a challenge on Challinor after 40 minutes, with Marrow powerfully heading clear the resulting free-kick, while two minutes later Fyfield was cautioned following a foul on Barkhuizen, but Howell, in a similar position to that of his goal against Burton, sent his set-piece crashing against the wall.
At the other end of the field, despite heavy pressure early on from York, Fleetwood’s back line dealt aptly with everything thrown at them; Mawene sending a low Blair cross out of play and heading clear the subsequent corner.
The beginning of the second half was much more subdued in comparison to the first, the Minstermen devoid of the attacking spark they showed so early on in the game.
Alan Goodall made his first league appearance of the season after replacing Howell shortly after half-time, the latter unable to shake off an injury sustained shortly after Town’s opener, while Barkhuizen made way for Barry Nicholson on the 53 minute mark. Ball found himself in plenty of time and space on several occasions, latching onto deep passes forward which caused York’s defence to panic, and made way for Gillespie with around 10 minutes to go after a performance in which he threatened.