York City 1 Mansfield Town 1
Geoghan OG (42); Dyer (26)
For the third time this season York City were forced to come from behind against ten-man Mansfield Town as the two sides shared a 1-1 draw in their play-off semi-final first-leg at Bootham Crescent.
The Stags went ahead midway through the opening half when Ross Dyer headed in a long throw from Exodus Geoghan, who then turned in a cross from former Mansfield midfielder Jon Challinor to equalise a couple of minutes ahead of the interval.
The visitors proceeded to suffer a major blow when leading goalscorer Matt Green was sent-off for a second bookable offence with 14 minutes remaining. The prolific 29-goal former Oxford United striker now misses the second leg.
York actually went close inside the first-minute when Martin Riley was forced into a hurried challenge on Ashley Chambers and Chris Doig drove over from Patrick McLaughlin’s resultant corner.
The visitors were as expected relying on the direct threat of a succession of long throws from Geoghan. But fellow defender Riley soon took a knock and had to be replaced by Danny Andrew before danger-man Green flicked a header over from Anthony Howell’s cross.
Matty Blair had the ball in the back of the net at the opposite end when skipper Chris Smith slid in on McLaughlin’s free-kick midway through the opening half but the effort was disallowed for offside. McLaughlin then jinked inside and had a shot charged down at the expense of a corner.
Luke O’Neill replied by firing over a free-kick after Chambers was penalised before the visitors went ahead moments later as Geoghan launched a long throw from the right and Dyer backheaded at the near post into the far corner.
The Stags were certainly showing a typically physical approach but without any early punishment, which was instead reserved for York’s Smith for following through on Green. Home keeper Michael Ingham then grabbed just in time from Gary Roberts before his opposite number Alan Marriott saved well following a sharp turn by Chambers.
The Minstermen were continuing to press for an equaliser as the opening half moved towards its conclusion and Marriott parried Blair’s chipped delivery while McLaughlin drilled over from 25-yards. It finally arrived just three minutes before the break when Challinor’s cross was poked into his own net by Geoghan.
The hosts were now really on top and leading scorer Jason Walker bounced a shot through to Marriott before escaping into the area from Chambers’ pass and dragging his attempted finish agonisingly wide of the post.
Blair drifted a 25-yard attempt through to Marriott following McLaughlin’s corner upon the restart before Howell’s shot was saved by Ingham after Jamal Fyfield lost possession at the opposite end.
York were continuing to look rather edgy at the back with a succession of deflections before the ball was properly cleared, until a great a pass from Walker witnessed Blair harshly taken out by the cautioned Andrew. Fyfield then avoided a second booking following a hefty challenge before Stags keeper Marriott caused a scare by missing McLaughhlin’s corner.
Mansfield suffered a real setback when top striker Green was sent-off for a second bookable offence while attempting to handle the ball into the net after challenging Ingham with sixteen minutes remaining.
Their opponents were now going for the winner and Marriott gathered Blair’s cross at his near post before a great Fyfield delivery found no available taker and Smith headed over James Meredith’s cross. Challinor then shot wide from 25-yards after a foul on Blair, who also sent a rising drive over the crossbar.
Substitute Adriano Moké headed over another great Challinor supply with just a couple of minutes remaining before also scuffing an injury-time effort through to Marriott as the stretched visitors were simply grateful to hold on.
York City: Ingham, Challinor, Smith, Doig, Fyfield, Parslow, Meredith, McLaughlin (Moké 82), Blair, Walker, Chambers
Subs (unused): Musselwhite, Potts, Brown, Reed
Goals: Geoghan OG (42)
Mansfield Town: Marriott, Riley (Andrew 17), O’Neill, Sutton, Geohaghan, Murray, Howell, Roberts, Green, Dyer (Rhead 90), Meikle (Briscoe 79)
Subs (unused): Redmond, Stevenson
Goals: Dyer (26)
Referee: R. Clark
Attendance: 6,057 (1,352 Mansfield)
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