YORK City jumped back into League Two’s top seven after a vital win at play-off rivals Oxford.
Michael Coulson’s 47th-minute penalty – his second converted spot-kick in as many games – settled matters in favour of the Minstermen, who now lie two points ahead of their eighth-placed hosts with three games left to play. Oxford will travel to Scunthorpe on Easter Monday, who need a win to secure automatic promotion.
York, meanwhile, will entertain a Bury team with only an outside mathematical chance of forcing their way into the play-off places.
Minstermen manager Nigel Worthington is taking nothing for granted, however, saying: “It’s a terrific win at the business end of the season, but all we are looking at now is trying to get as many points as we can from all our matches. The players are giving their all in each game and that is all I can ask for.”
In a nervy first half neither side really threatened a goal with Ben Davies and Coulson lifting York’s only chances over and Dave Kitson, David Hunt, James Constable and Callum O’Dowda all failing to trouble goalkeeper Nick Pope at the other end.
It was the visitors, though, who made the breakthrough on 47 minutes when Kitson handled after Russell Penn had helped on Will Hayhurst’s corner.
Coulson made no mistake from the spot, firing firmly to Oxford goalkeeper Ryan Clarke’s right.
Another corner from Hayhurst was then headed off the line by Hunt before the home side missed two late chances to preserve their place in the top seven.
They both fell to former Rotherham defender Michael Raynes, who was thrown forward to add weight to the U’s attack in the closing minutes. He scooped the first over the bar from eight yards and then headed inches wide in stoppage time.
Oxford United: Clarke; Hunt, Wright, Raynes, Newey; Williams (Potter, 69), Wroe, Ruffles, O’Dowda (Connolly, 74); Kitson, Constable. Unused substitutes: Crocombe, Whing, Rose, Davies, Long.
York City: Pope; Oyebanjo, Lowe, McCombe, Davies; Brobbel, Penn, Reed (Montrose, 88), Hayhurst (Puri, 84); Andrew (Bowman, 90), Coulson. Unused substitutes: Jarvis, Platt, Allan, Ingham.
Referee: Oliver Langford (West Midlands).